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Old 8th November 2010, 09:26 PM
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Hi everyone!

I wanted to know if I could exchange my Californian drivers license for an International Licence to drive in France. How long is the International license valid for? Is it free of charge? Can I renew it again after the 3 years expire?
I know already I cannot exchange and get a French license since CA is not one of the States who has an agreement with France, and I just met an American woman who told me she got an International license to drive in France.

I cannot find any info on this on my departments prefecture site.

Any info is appreciated!

Thanks

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Old 8th November 2010, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by whitelilac View Post
Hi everyone!

I wanted to know if I could exchange my Californian drivers license for an International Licence to drive in France. How long is the International license valid for? Is it free of charge? Can I renew it again after the 3 years expire?
I know already I cannot exchange and get a French license since CA is not one of the States who has an agreement with France, and I just met an American woman who told me she got an International license to drive in France.

I cannot find any info on this on my departments prefecture site.

Any info is appreciated!

Thanks
You can get an IDP from AAA in California but you should read this before doing it:

International Driver Permits (IDP) - Driving Abroad - DMV Guide

basically it isn't a license, more of a translation of your driving privileges for international use and forms part of your CA license.

You can drive in France for a year on your CA license with or without the IDP but to get a French license you have a couple of options:

a) pass a French driving test (in French) and you will have to take lessons
b) get a drivers license from a US state that will exchange - I think AZ is the closest.

I'm cheating because I have a valid UK license and I can get a French license with that - sorry.

David

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Old 8th November 2010, 11:12 PM
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The international drivers license thing is just a translation of your existing license into a few different languages and isn't really official at all (and in my opinion just a waste of money). As a foreigner living in France, your CA license is valid for one year, after that year is up you must get a French license if you want to drive legally in France, the international drivers license will not help.

Practically though, you probably will not have any problems renting a car with a foreign license. I have done it quite a few times with no problems (and I do not have an international license). If you wish to own a car and get insurance though, you will need to eventually get a French license.

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Old 9th November 2010, 06:55 AM
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What David and Michael have said. If you read the fine print on the "international license" it says that it isn't valid except when carried with your regular driving license.

IMO it's not such a bad idea to go to a driving school and get your French license "the hard way" rather than just exchanging a US license. Granted, it's kind of expensive, but there are enough differences in the rules of the road here that it's worthwhile. Don't put it off too long, either - it's no big disgrace to have to re-take the exam. Lots of folks do.

If for no other reason, you really need to have some practice with this whole "prioritÚ Ó droite" thing. It's a crazy rule and is guided by subtle things like whether or not there is a curb on the side of the road. There are also some strange customs you may get some understanding of simply by taking the classes or getting a bit of road time in with an instructor. The test is actually quite a bit more rigorous than the driving tests in the US. (Not that the French drive any better once they pass the test - but it is nice to have some understanding of the basic assumptions they are driving under.)
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 9th November 2010, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelilac View Post
Hi everyone!

I wanted to know if I could exchange my Californian drivers license for an International Licence to drive in France. How long is the International license valid for? Is it free of charge? Can I renew it again after the 3 years expire?
I know already I cannot exchange and get a French license since CA is not one of the States who has an agreement with France, and I just met an American woman who told me she got an International license to drive in France.

I cannot find any info on this on my departments prefecture site.

Any info is appreciated!

Thanks
The closest state to you having reciprocity with France is Texas:Driving in France - France in the United States/ Embassy of France in Washington.

If you haven't driven in Europe before its a good idea to get some training. Please ensure you understand European road signs before you get behind the wheel.

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Old 9th November 2010, 06:15 PM
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The closest state to you having reciprocity with France is Texas:Driving in France - France in the United States/ Embassy of France in Washington.

If you haven't driven in Europe before its a good idea to get some training. Please ensure you understand European road signs before you get behind the wheel.
You may also find this website useful:

Online Driving School - Americans in France

Cheers

David

P.S. I thought there were 14 states with reciprocal agreements - I must do more research

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Old 9th November 2010, 06:49 PM
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You may also find this website useful:

Online Driving School - Americans in France

Cheers

David

P.S. I thought there were 14 states with reciprocal agreements - I must do more research
Hi David,

If you want to do more research, here you go:AAMVA : Foreign Reciprocity

According to the AARO site, a drivers license must be valid for at least one year:Driver's License. I can't substantiate this.

Cheers

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Old 9th November 2010, 07:48 PM
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Hi David,

If you want to do more research, here you go:AAMVA : Foreign Reciprocity

According to the AARO site, a drivers license must be valid for at least one year:Driver's License. I can't substantiate this.

Cheers
OK, that link didn't provide the data - this one (in French) does:

Permis de conduire franšais - Echange Ó l'Útranger

and the relevant paragraph is:

United States of America (exchange limited to certain states: Arkansas (limited to exchange Class B license), South Carolina, Colorado (exchange limited to Class B license), Connecticut (limited exchange permits Class A and B ), Delaware (limited to exchange Class B license), Florida (limited exchange permits Class A and B), Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio (exchange limited to Class B license), Pennsylvania ( limited exchange permits Class A and B), Texas (limited to exchange Class B license), Virginia (limited to exchange Class B license)


Glad I have UK license

David

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Old 9th November 2010, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rynd2it View Post
OK, that link didn't provide the data - this one (in French) does:

Permis de conduire franšais - Echange Ó l'Útranger

and the relevant paragraph is:

United States of America (exchange limited to certain states: Arkansas (limited to exchange Class B license), South Carolina, Colorado (exchange limited to Class B license), Connecticut (limited exchange permits Class A and B ), Delaware (limited to exchange Class B license), Florida (limited exchange permits Class A and B), Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio (exchange limited to Class B license), Pennsylvania ( limited exchange permits Class A and B), Texas (limited to exchange Class B license), Virginia (limited to exchange Class B license)


Glad I have UK license

David
The first link has a PDF to download which provides the information; the publication with the globe on the right. At any rate, It's good you have a UK license.

Cheers

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Old 9th November 2010, 08:22 PM
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The first link has a PDF to download which provides the information; the publication with the globe on the right. At any rate, It's good you have a UK license.

Cheers
The pdf link was broken "document not found", anyway we have the required data

Thanks

David

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