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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was led to believe this could be a protracted, overly-bureaucratic process.

I was warned the prefecture would want to see lots of documents ... i.e. proof of when I got my driver's licence (44 years ago) and where I was living (south-east Queensland) at that time. I was told I would also need an attestation from my home state of South Australia from the Motor Registry Office documenting how long I'd had an SA licence, my driving history there and some kind of proof that I was living in South Australia at that time. I would need lots of photocopies. I was also told I'd need court-certified translations of my licence history and the various "proof" documents.

When I went to the sous-prefecture at Marmande, armed with a manilla-folder of documents, the woman behind the counter asked me to hand over ...

1. my SA driver's licence
2. Two "Demand De Permis De Conduire" forms, filled out, signed and a passport photo attached.
3. EDF bill (proof of residency).
4. Photocopy of my Titre de Sejours (proof of identity).

That was it! She didn't want to see anything else!

She gave me a photocopy of my "Demand De Permis De Conduire" to show a gendarme if ever I were stopped. She told me my application would be processed in due course.

I resigned myself to a long wait. I needn't have bothered.

Today, just over three weeks later, my French driver's licence arrived by registered mail. No charge.

France is full of surprises.
 

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Well done! Just goes to show you that every prefecture (and sometimes each clerk you encounter at the prefecture) has their own way of doing things. Go in there over prepared and usually it goes far more smoothly than you would have thought.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes indeed Bev.

After nine months here, I now have the trifecta ... titre de sejour, attestation de droits, and permit de conduire!

My Irish-born wife is still waiting for her attestation de droits originally applied for in March ... most frustrating.
 

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I was led to believe this could be a protracted, overly-bureaucratic process.

I was warned the prefecture would want to see lots of documents ... i.e. proof of when I got my driver's licence (44 years ago) and where I was living (south-east Queensland) at that time. I was told I would also need an attestation from my home state of South Australia from the Motor Registry Office documenting how long I'd had an SA licence, my driving history there and some kind of proof that I was living in South Australia at that time. I would need lots of photocopies. I was also told I'd need court-certified translations of my licence history and the various "proof" documents.

When I went to the sous-prefecture at Marmande, armed with a manilla-folder of documents, the woman behind the counter asked me to hand over ...

1. my SA driver's licence
2. Two "Demand De Permis De Conduire" forms, filled out, signed and a passport photo attached.
3. EDF bill (proof of residency).
4. Photocopy of my Titre de Sejours (proof of identity).

That was it! She didn't want to see anything else!

She gave me a photocopy of my "Demand De Permis De Conduire" to show a gendarme if ever I were stopped. She told me my application would be processed in due course.

I resigned myself to a long wait. I needn't have bothered.

Today, just over three weeks later, my French driver's licence arrived by registered mail. No charge.

France is full of surprises.
The residence stuff that others have experienced relates I think to people with dual nationality, which can bring with it some qualifications - although TBH I didn't have to prove all my years of residence in Oz and when I went back armed with a number of years of tax notices they didn't want most of them, and possibly didn't need any. Great if they didn't require a copy of your driving record from SA - things could be looking up in that regard :) Even better that you didn't have to present in person to collect your licence.
 

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Yes indeed Bev.

After nine months here, I now have the trifecta ... titre de sejour, attestation de droits, and permit de conduire!

My Irish-born wife is still waiting for her attestation de droits originally applied for in March ... most frustrating.
Well done you. I assume you mean attestations de droits for the Assurance Maladie. I'm pleased to say I had no issue at all with that - hope your wife gets it soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, assurance maladie. On this one, we rolled the chocolate wheel of French bureaucracy and it landed on a dud number.
 

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Well done! I'm going through the echange de permit process in IDF and I'm having a much more complicated time of it. Two weeks ago I sent literally a half a ream of documents to the sous-prefecture. Who knows what the outcome will be....
 

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It's still the vacation period so don't get too worried about delays. Figure it will be September before anything really gets moving in the world of officialdom.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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You are very lucky.

I went in to the Prefecture de Police in Paris in February to change over my Victorian licence. I had all the paperwork and forms, including official certified translations of all the Aussie docs. The "fonctionaire" got snotty because she did not believe that the letter we had from VicRoads attesting to the validity of our licences was genuine ("paper to thin", "logo not in colour"). Requested that we wait until they contact VicRoads directly, by post, to they can verify independently.

It is now 6 months later, we have since been back to Melbourne for a visit and obtained new letters (one good quality paper with colour logo), got another official translation (another 300Euro). This was sent in to the prefecture 2 months ago. We are still waiting for a response. The last information we received was that our file was "accessed" about 2 weeks ago so we may hear something soon.

Coming up to 12 months in Paris and still no driving licence, had the Titre de Sejour for almost 10 months now.
 

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You are very lucky.

I went in to the Prefecture de Police in Paris in February to change over my Victorian licence. I had all the paperwork and forms, including official certified translations of all the Aussie docs. The "fonctionaire" got snotty because she did not believe that the letter we had from VicRoads attesting to the validity of our licences was genuine ("paper to thin", "logo not in colour"). Requested that we wait until they contact VicRoads directly, by post, to they can verify independently.

It is now 6 months later, we have since been back to Melbourne for a visit and obtained new letters (one good quality paper with colour logo), got another official translation (another 300Euro). This was sent in to the prefecture 2 months ago. We are still waiting for a response. The last information we received was that our file was "accessed" about 2 weeks ago so we may hear something soon.

Coming up to 12 months in Paris and still no driving licence, had the Titre de Sejour for almost 10 months now.
What a nightmare. At least you still have some time left. If it starts to get towards the 12 month mark, you should go in and ask them for a temp licence.
 

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Yes, it has been a bit of a nightmare. Last contact said to give their call centre a call to check on progress. Thought I might wait a week or two. My French is still not too good, highlighted when I tried a few times over the past few days to speak to an Engie rep to make some enquiries about my gas bill (they took a €577 deduction from my bank account without notification as part of an account adjustment). :(
 

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Yes, it has been a bit of a nightmare. Last contact said to give their call centre a call to check on progress. Thought I might wait a week or two. My French is still not too good, highlighted when I tried a few times over the past few days to speak to an Engie rep to make some enquiries about my gas bill (they took a €577 deduction from my bank account without notification as part of an account adjustment). :(
Engie always does that when they do the annual meter check (as do most, if not all, other utility providers). I suspect it's somewhere in the contract, given I knew this would happen the first time I had this experience. The thing is, you opt for monthly instalments, which are estimated, but you are actually still liable for what you use.

Edit: OTOH I get an annual pressie from EDF when they promptly refund my overpayment direct into my bank account.
 

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Engie always does that when they do the annual meter check (as do most, if not all, other utility providers). I suspect it's somewhere in the contract, given I knew this would happen the first time I had this experience. The thing is, you opt for monthly instalments, which are estimated, but you are actually still liable for what you use.

Edit: OTOH I get an annual pressie from EDF when they promptly refund my overpayment direct into my bank account.
This was a bit of a shock to me even though I knew to expect it. In the states, they read the meter each month but here they estimate and then you have your day of reckoning in April. April has never been a good month for me in a new place because they always underestimate and then you get a monster bill in April. Next year will be better, because they have adjusted my bill according to last year's usage.
 

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Engie always does that when they do the annual meter check (as do most, if not all, other utility providers). I suspect it's somewhere in the contract, given I knew this would happen the first time I had this experience. The thing is, you opt for monthly instalments, which are estimated, but you are actually still liable for what you use.

Edit: OTOH I get an annual pressie from EDF when they promptly refund my overpayment direct into my bank account.
I worked why there was such a big deduction. Our relocation agent set up the Engie account for us prior to our arrival in Paris last September. Unfortunately he told Engie that the apartment had gas for cooking only and used the building community heating and hot water. In reality it is the opposite, electric stove and oven but our own hot water and heating. Hence the shortfall of almost €50 per month for a full year. :eek:
 

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You may want to check online to see if you can submit your own electric meter readings, either each month, or at least on a periodic basis. They compare what you've reported with what they have been estimating, and it can help adjust your monthly billings to eliminate big surprises.

We did this with Direct Energie for quite some time because they used to vastly overestimate our usage for the winter months, and underestimate it for the summer months, so we'd get a big whopping bill at one point in the year, and a big old refund (applied against the next months' bills) six months later. (We were on a meter read every six months.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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You may want to check online to see if you can submit your own electric meter readings, either each month, or at least on a periodic basis. They compare what you've reported with what they have been estimating, and it can help adjust your monthly billings to eliminate big surprises.
I should be able to do this now. Turns out that Engie was given an incorrect email address when the account was set up and I never received the introductory and activation emails so I was unaware that there was an online service until last week. After about 8 phone calls over the past few days to correct my account details I am now able to access Engie Direct. :)
 

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Back on topic... :)

I called the Prefecture de Police call centre yesterday to get an update on my driving license exchange application. It seems that my and my wife's new French driving licences are ready for collection from the prefecure :D. Apparently they has been there for a while but they just had not bothered to tell us, assuming instead that we would eventually contact them.

Anyway, good news! After six and half months since initial application interview at the prefecture and over €250 each in translation fees I am taking the afternoon off work tomorrow to go in and pick it up.
 
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