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Discussion Starter #1
We gave our Canadian drivers licences to our local mairie to exchange for a french drivers licence, one day before the expiration date on our French visa (expired Nov 01 2011) even through our new titre de sejour had not been recieved as yet. we wanted to make sure that we adhered to the one year exhange law. Consequently our titre de sejour arrived on November 3 2011.
Our mairie forwarded the paper work on November 9 2011 to the sub perfecture. Yesterday we recieved a letter from the sub perfecture stating that we had not submeitted our paper work on time and our request for a licence exchange had been denied as per article 4 January 12 2012.
Two issues...
Isn't the Marie considered part of the "system" and therefore we deposited and recieved a receipt and temporary french dirvers licence, on time???

Since the Mairie forwarded all the paper work prior to January 12 2012, shouldn't our request be protected under the law prior to that date???

It is impossible for me to write the drivers test in French and I understand that going to an auto ecole is very expensive. We are retired and have a strict budget. Therefore our only way out is to sell our beautiful home that we just finished renovating as it is located in the country and a car is necessary.

Can anyone offer us any advice
 

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I would give it a try!
Stating the facts that you dropped the paperwork on time at your mairie and the law being dated of Jan 2012 you assume it does not apply to your case.
Did the mairie give you a receipt showing the date when you dropped your drivers licences ?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
mairie has drivers licence

I would give it a try!
Stating the facts that you dropped the paperwork on time at your mairie and the law being dated of Jan 2012 you assume it does not apply to your case.
Did the mairie give you a receipt showing the date when you dropped your drivers licences ?
Yes, our receipt shows October 31 2012. However what the sous prefecture is implying is that it should have reached THEIR office by November 01 2011. As far as I am concerned, giving it to our local Mairie's office on October 31 2011 should mean it is in the French system on time. What think you..anyhow writing a letter to them with all dates and details...if that doesn't work, guess it will have to go to a lawyer
 

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The website reads their place
Échanger un permis de conduire non-européen - Service-public.fr
Lieu du dépôt de la demande

Pour échanger votre permis de conduire étranger contre un permis français, vous devez vous adresser suivant votre département :

à la préfecture de votre domicile,

ou à la sous-préfecture de votre domicile,
But I don't know if it read something different back in October.

It does not sound easy, but still worth a try compared to the cost of a drivers licence in France.
 

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It is definitely worth a try. I've heard of people receiving a license 2-3 years after they arrived, so it seems like you just got unlucky, meaning that your papers arrived on the wrong person's desk. I would write a letter of explanation and maybe make a phone call - do you have a french person who can help you with a letter? I find there are magic formulas that only French people seem to know. You could also just try to submit it again and see if you get lucky. Some French people have advised me to try this sort of thing in August because the staff tend to be seasonal replacements.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
drivers licence given to marie

It is definitely worth a try. I've heard of people receiving a license 2-3 years after they arrived, so it seems like you just got unlucky, meaning that your papers arrived on the wrong person's desk. I would write a letter of explanation and maybe make a phone call - do you have a french person who can help you with a letter? I find there are magic formulas that only French people seem to know. You could also just try to submit it again and see if you get lucky. Some French people have advised me to try this sort of thing in August because the staff tend to be seasonal replacements.
I have spend the whole day doing a time chart on events backed up by official papers when available. However, I have decided to skip going to see the sous prefecture, because we have had problems with the woman at the desk before; and go directly to the Prefecture in Agen. The secretrary at the mairies office, has agreed to translate everything for me. Both she and the mairie has bent over backwards to try to help; even writing a letter for us (as if we wrote it) on a rebuttle.

I am now getting angry that one little person has such power. So I will go to Agen and hopefully get help from the Prefecture there. thanks for everyones words of encouragement. I realize now that we are not targets, just part of the everyday process. Wish us luck as hopefully this will not have to go to a lawyer or even wore. Apprecaite everyones view and advise
 

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It's a good idea to get the people in the mairie on your side. Ask them if they can recommend who you should talk to at either the sous-prefecture or the prefecture. (It certainly can't hurt.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #8
mairie has drivers licenc

It's a good idea to get the people in the mairie on your side. Ask them if they can recommend who you should talk to at either the sous-prefecture or the prefecture. (It certainly can't hurt.)
Cheers,
Bev
will keep you posted on progress...thanks to all
 

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Keeping my fingers crossed!

I am now getting angry that one little person has such power. ... I realize now that we are not targets, just part of the everyday process.
Unfortunately it happens a lot over here :(
 

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I am now getting angry that one little person has such power...../QUOTE]

It's really terrible that you are dealing with this when you assumed you had done things correctly. But there is no point in being angry at the sous-prefecture. Do your best to appeal to his/her compassion/sensibilities, throw yourself at the mercy of the court (so to speak) because at the end of the day s/he is just going to say you had 12 months to get this done.

In the meantime, while you are working on a solution, don't sell the house just yet. Get yourself one of those "voiture sans permit". You can only go 45km and no highway driving. But it's perfect to get to the village, shops, visiting friends and to the train for longer travels. They are basically scooter engined but it's a closed car structure so seats and steering wheel. So you don't have to worry about the elements.

Aixam is one brand. I think they are called "micro" but you can google "voiture sans permit" for more information.

ETA: here is the wiki entry. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiture_sans_permis
 

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Discussion Starter #11
marie has drivers licence

I am now getting angry that one little person has such power...../QUOTE]

It's really terrible that you are dealing with this when you assumed you had done things correctly. But there is no point in being angry at the sous-prefecture. Do your best to appeal to his/her compassion/sensibilities, throw yourself at the mercy of the court (so to speak) because at the end of the day s/he is just going to say you had 12 months to get this done.

In the meantime, while you are working on a solution, don't sell the house just yet. Get yourself one of those "voiture sans permit". You can only go 45km and no highway driving. But it's perfect to get to the village, shops, visiting friends and to the train for longer travels. They are basically scooter engined but it's a closed car structure so seats and steering wheel. So you don't have to worry about the elements.

Aixam is one brand. I think they are called "micro" but you can google "voiture sans permit" for more information.

ETA: here is the wiki entry. Voiture sans permis - Wikipédia
Thank you for your info and encouragement. As for having 12 months to exchange my licence, I didn't want to hand in my licence before I was sure that my extension to stay in France was approved.
I have looked over the English version of the regulations concerning exchanging your licence, and as far as I'm concerned; our visa is considered a temporary residence visa and the date to submit our exchange should be the OFII stamp on our visa, which is January 2012. Theoretically, we should be fine. However we are going to the sub prefecture armed with this info (which is on the Govt site) in both English and French. Hopefully all will go well. Failing this, I will try the Prefecture in Agen.
However, if worse comes to worse (GFB) I am delighted to hear about micro cars. I never knew about them and they would be the perfect solution if necessary.
Thanks for your info and will keep all posted
 

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Thank you for your info and encouragement. As for having 12 months to exchange my licence, I didn't want to hand in my licence before I was sure that my extension to stay in France was approved.
I have looked over the English version of the regulations concerning exchanging your licence, and as far as I'm concerned; our visa is considered a temporary residence visa and the date to submit our exchange should be the OFII stamp on our visa, which is January 2012. Theoretically, we should be fine. However we are going to the sub prefecture armed with this info (which is on the Govt site) in both English and French. Hopefully all will go well. Failing this, I will try the Prefecture in Agen.
However, if worse comes to worse (GFB) I am delighted to hear about micro cars. I never knew about them and they would be the perfect solution if necessary.
Thanks for your info and will keep all posted
You should definitely keep your appeal going. It could well work better insisting on that January date.

I only found out about the micro cars because when we were car shopping I saw this really cute mini orange pick up truck and though "what is that!? I want it!". Then I found out it was a micro car.

It was an older Aixam car that is no longer on their site. We ended up buying a Citroen C1 which is small but not micro.
 
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