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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just going to put this up to let anyone look through who wishes to know my progress with the drivers license exchange.

I will say first that I made a grave mistake. For all my careful organization, I forgot to put the specific department of echanges etrangers when I addressed the envelope with my dossier to the prefecture. We'll see if it gets to the right department or not ...eventually.

As Bev mentioned previously, each prefecture is different in how they handle this process. Mine, fortunately, allows people to initiate this process via poste, eliminating the necessity of dealing with actual people. All the better.

I was able to furnish everything in their list of requirements except the OFII timbre because I am not here with a carte de sejour, long-stay visa etc. In lieu of this, I gave a copy of my work contract commencing in September of 2016 and an etats des lieux for my apartment.

Since I am a dual citizen, I gave them copies of both passports, which I fear will confuse them. I also have no proof (hard) that I have not overstayed the time limit to exchange. These two factors may be potential problems.

My hope is that they will see that I have a lot of documentation and not grow suspicious. I used a certified translator for my Florida DL who is very kind, quick and inexpensive. Should anyone need a translator, I'm more than happy to share her. Again, I've never laid eyes on her, she works entirely through e-mail and poste...the best way to deal with people.

Finally, I was not asked for a driving record. This is a cause for concern because I feel that I am missing some fine print somewhere. Surely they would want/need that to verify that I'm not hell on wheels?

I'll update throughout this process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I re-sent my dossier to the Sous-Prefecture of Rambouillet. I got a Letter of Clearance from Florida Highway control and I included the original, plus the translation. I also included electric bills from Florida and receipts from my child support payments that put me in Florida until April 2016. I included full contrat de travail dated Sept. 2016, full lease of Sept 2016.
For Livret de Famille I included my birth certificate, my marriage certificate, son's birth certificate, then divorce. Of course they will most likely ask for translations of these. So that will probably be next.
Finally, I included every quittance de loyer I have going back to January as well as my bulletin de paie going back to January.
I squeezed all it into the envelope and sent it off today...so, we'll see what happens next.
Laura S., if you're reading this, I'd love to know if anything has happened with your DL exchange.
 

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Laura S., if you're reading this, I'd love to know if anything has happened with your DL exchange.
Hi softouch! Silence on my end because there was silence from the Rambouillet sous-prefecture's end until now- Friday Nov 21 (so about 3-4 months after sending the dossier) I received a recepisse by lettre verte acknowledging that my dossier has been opened and is being treated. The letter says that when my dossier is complete I will receive a response by mail, in a maximum of 6 months.

The one thing I'm not too sure about is going to present my original license. The letter says I need to come during the (limited) open hours to show them my original license and the recepisse. What is unclear in the wording is whether I am to do that now, or after receiving the letter that my dossier is complete. It says I should come 'afin de completer votre dossier', which would imply now, but I'm not positive. I will keep you in the loop- most Mondays (one of the only open days) I work but today is an exception, so I will go later this morning just in case, to hopefully avoid needing to take a vacation day later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi softouch! Silence on my end because there was silence from the Rambouillet sous-prefecture's end until now- Friday Nov 21 (so about 3-4 months after sending the dossier) I received a recepisse by lettre verte acknowledging that my dossier has been opened and is being treated. The letter says that when my dossier is complete I will receive a response by mail, in a maximum of 6 months.

The one thing I'm not too sure about is going to present my original license. The letter says I need to come during the (limited) open hours to show them my original license and the recepisse. What is unclear in the wording is whether I am to do that now, or after receiving the letter that my dossier is complete. It says I should come 'afin de completer votre dossier', which would imply now, but I'm not positive. I will keep you in the loop- most Mondays (one of the only open days) I work but today is an exception, so I will go later this morning just in case, to hopefully avoid needing to take a vacation day later.
YES YES YES, they're giving it to you!!!! I got one of those letters 3 weeks ago and went right in. They looked at my original DL under a magnifying glass, shined a light through it and gave it back. Then she looked at her computer and told me my dossier was complete and they would sent me an SMS in about a month or month and a half to pick up my French license.
Just verify on the letter that only the one requirement is highlighted on the list (present your original DL). If that's the only thing they checked off on the list, then you're gonna drive girl!!
Also that other fiche has your picture pasted on it I assume. That big long number at the top is your new DL number!! I'm sorry, I'm so excited for us. I just stopped posting about it because I figured not too many people were interested.
FYI, get to the sous-prefecture as early as possible and bring a book to read. I waited for about an hour and then it was over in less than five minutes.
:car:
 

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Hi softouch! Silence on my end because there was silence from the Rambouillet sous-prefecture's end until now- Friday Nov 21 (so about 3-4 months after sending the dossier) I received a recepisse by lettre verte acknowledging that my dossier has been opened and is being treated. The letter says that when my dossier is complete I will receive a response by mail, in a maximum of 6 months.

The one thing I'm not too sure about is going to present my original license. The letter says I need to come during the (limited) open hours to show them my original license and the recepisse. What is unclear in the wording is whether I am to do that now, or after receiving the letter that my dossier is complete. It says I should come 'afin de completer votre dossier', which would imply now, but I'm not positive. I will keep you in the loop- most Mondays (one of the only open days) I work but today is an exception, so I will go later this morning just in case, to hopefully avoid needing to take a vacation day later.
Yes, they need to sight your licence before they can finalise your dossier, so you are doing the right thing by going in today (the sooner you do so, the sooner they will finalise your application).
 

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YES YES YES, they're giving it to you!!!! I got one of those letters 3 weeks ago and went right in. They looked at my original DL under a magnifying glass, shined a light through it and gave it back. Then she looked at her computer and told me my dossier was complete and they would sent me an SMS in about a month or month and a half to pick up my French license.
Just verify on the letter that only the one requirement is highlighted on the list (present your original DL). If that's the only thing they checked off on the list, then you're gonna drive girl!!
Also that other fiche has your picture pasted on it I assume. That big long number at the top is your new DL number!! I'm sorry, I'm so excited for us. I just stopped posting about it because I figured not too many people were interested.
FYI, get to the sous-prefecture as early as possible and bring a book to read. I waited for about an hour and then it was over in less than five minutes.
:car:
You were right!! She looked at the original, took the fiche with my picture on it, and said they will send me the new drivers license in the mail, oddly enough- I guess they're in a transition to doing everything by post? But yes it seems that I'm good! :) I'm glad I got that done today, and thank you both for following up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Its just weird they said they would mail yours and they told me they would notify me to come pick it up. Oddness.
 

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Anyhow, a big congratulations is in order here! It does seem that the Administration is actually starting to streamline some of the most complicated of their processes and, like everything here in France, it sometimes just takes a while for the procedures to become established out in the various prefectures throughout France.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Congradulations to Softouch115 and laura.s.

Hello! I'm new here. We will be moving to France from the U.S. in a couple of years as retirees (not working). Though we are living in CA now, we plan to establich residency in Ohio by renting out my daughter's lake house. We want to get an Ohio DL to exchange for a French DL.

How soon before we get to France should we plan on getting the Ohio DL? How soon after arriving should we start the exchange process? Finally, can we find out what is needed in the dossier so we can be prepared?

Thanks so much for replying to a newbie here.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Congradulations to Softouch115 and laura.s.

Hello! I'm new here. We will be moving to France from the U.S. in a couple of years as retirees (not working). Though we are living in CA now, we plan to establich residency in Ohio by renting out my daughter's lake house. We want to get an Ohio DL to exchange for a French DL.

How soon before we get to France should we plan on getting the Ohio DL? How soon after arriving should we start the exchange process? Finally, can we find out what is needed in the dossier so we can be prepared?

Thanks so much for replying to a newbie here.
Ron
Hi Ron,
Welcome! One thing to bear in mind if you're getting the Ohio license just for its exchange-ability...I have heard tales from other expats that the sous-prefectures are getting wise to that. The one Laura and I used required proof that I lived there for 6 months (bills, lease, etc.) and others have been asked if the license is their first issued or if they had licenses in other states.
The tricky thing is that there are no hard and fast guidelines for what they will ask from one sous-prefecture to the next.
Anyone else feel free to chime in here.
 

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I'll second Softouch's comments. The prefectures have been wise to the idea of popping across the (state) border to get an exchangeable license for quite some time now. At one point they required you to get a statement from the consulate that you had lived in the exchangeable state for at least a year or so prior to your move to France. The consulate really couldn't handle that one, so now they have a variety of ways of doing this - usually involving some sort of confirmation of the original issue date of your license in the state plus some verification of your actual residence in said state from the time you got the license to the present.

It's not easy even if you are legitimately living where you say you are. And, you open yourself up to suspicion if the initial date of your license is just a year or so before your arrival in France.

OTOH, let me say that I wound up having to go the driving school route (though in Germany, not France - where it is admittedly somewhat less onerous, though just as expensive). Though everyone says that they have been driving for years and don't need driving lessons as an adult, let me just say that I actually learned quite a bit from my driving teacher. The rules of the road here are just that little bit different that it pays to actually understand what some of the signs and signals mean (not to mention some of the "curious" customs of the driving public here in France!).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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My husband and I will be starting our drivers license exchange "adventure" soon. We are going to do one at a time because we don't have a car and rent one from time to time, and one of us needs a valid license. We lived in Texas for 8 years before coming here, so we should be good.

I would like the name/email of your translator, Softouch, please. Thank you.

Karen
 

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softouch115,
Yes, I am aware that the French sous-préfectures are getting wise to that. However, if I begin renting out my daughter's lake house now, we can fly out to Ohio next spring to apply for Ohio DLs. This would be almost two years in advance of moving to France. Plus, if need be, I can show that I, my parents, and my other two siblings all were born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Now, my daughter lives there. In addition, my military records also show my home of record is Ohio. I only left when I joined the AirForce. I think I can convince them we live in Ohio.
 

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But can you show that you are resident in Ohio from the date of the license you obtain to the date you move to France? That's the key thing. Military records, your parents residence, etc. do not fulfill the requirement. Oh well, do what you think you have to and if it flies, it flies, and if it doesn't, you can enroll in a local driving school. Proof of residence is a Big Deal here in France and may be more difficult than you think.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for the reminder!

Bev,
Yes, you are right. I would need to consider ensuring I have utility recepts etc. up until departure time which I think I can do - just need to plan it well. After we sell the house in CA we will be out there visting family anyway. If it doesn't work - it doesn't work. If it does - it does!
Thanks for the info.
Ron
 
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