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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

For those of you who are not aware of this crazy anomaly:

1) You can drive in France on your UK license providing it is valid
2) Your UK license is not valid unless it has your current UK address on it
3) You cannot (legally) get or renew a UK license unless you are currently resident in the UK with a valid UK address.

I see no (legal) way around this - anyone care to comment?

Cheers
 

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Check with your local prefecture for their procedures to exchange an EU license for a French one. My prefecture only says that you have to show proof that you've been living in France for at least six months, and they ask nothing about "proving" the address on the license you're exchanging.

Oddly enough, the French don't consider the address on your driving license to be your "real" address. I once tried to give my driving license (my French one) as proof of my address. The mairie said they couldn't take that, but could take my carte grise as "proving" my residence address. Go figure.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check with your local prefecture for their procedures to exchange an EU license for a French one. My prefecture only says that you have to show proof that you've been living in France for at least six months, and they ask nothing about "proving" the address on the license you're exchanging.

Oddly enough, the French don't consider the address on your driving license to be your "real" address. I once tried to give my driving license (my French one) as proof of my address. The mairie said they couldn't take that, but could take my carte grise as "proving" my residence address. Go figure.
Cheers,
Bev
Yes, probably OK to echange an old license - but if I want a new UK photo license (or it's been lost) there does not appear to be a legal way to get one.

Crazy situation
 

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Yes, probably OK to echange an old license - but if I want a new UK photo license (or it's been lost) there does not appear to be a legal way to get one.

Crazy situation
you're right, there isn't


this question comes up regularly on the Spain forum - it's completely legal to drive with your UK licence (even with the wrong address) until such time as it expires - at which time you have to exchange it for a local licence
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
- it's completely legal to drive with your UK licence (even with the wrong address)
I don't see that - the rules in France say your UK license has to be valid and it isn't unless it has a valid and current UK address. Like I said, its a real anomaly

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I don't see that - the rules in France say your UK license has to be valid and it isn't unless it has a valid and current UK address. Like I said, its a real anomaly

Cheers
the DVLA is totally aware of the anomoly & accept that the address will be wrong in your licence



have a look in the Spain forum at the 'useful links' sticky - you'll find links there to lots of discussions about this & govt. websites
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the DVLA is totally aware of the anomoly & accept that the address will be wrong in your licence
And if I'm driving in the UK and get stopped - my license is invalid and I could get fined and penalty points. The DVLA might be aware of the anomaly but they can't correct the illegality.

The only way around this is to exchange my old UK license (assuming I still have it) for a French license which will then be legal in France and the UK. If I don't have the old license I'm screwed.

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You just haven't been living here long enough. It actually makes perfect sense.

Technically, you can't renew your US driving license unless you are resident in the state that issues you the license, either. The basic premise is that you should have a driving license from the country/state in which you are currently resident.

France (and French law in general) usually assumes that every other country in the world does things the way France does. (The validity of this assumption is the real mind boggler, but I digress...) This is why when asked for a birth certificate, you often need one dated within the last 90 days. AFAIK France is one of only a few countries that updates birth certificates for marriage, divorce and death - but no matter where you were born, for certain transactions (used to be for all but that has changed) the 90 day rules applies in France. And no amount of arguing that there have been no changes to your birth certificate since it was issued is going to convince a fonctionnaire to the contrary.

In France, a driving license is no proof of your residence address - only your carte grise (or whatever it's called these days) is. Whether or not you're more likely to register a change of address on your carte grise or on your driving license is anyone's guess. The French seriously don't care what address is listed on your UK license - it doesn't prove anything here in France.

You do have the option to simply register your UK license at the prefecture (which is basically so that they know where to send your traffic tickets and fine notices), but it's probably just as easy to turn in your UK license for a French one, since it's a no cost option (well, other than the cost of the photos you have to provide, and the return envelope). The first time you get stopped for an offense that costs you points, you'll have to convert to a French license anyhow.

It takes running up against a few of these situations before you realize how they work. (And once you realize that resistance is futile, you are assimilated enough to consider taking Borg, er, I mean French nationality!)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You just haven't been living here long enough. It actually makes perfect sense.

Cheers,
Bev
Actually it isn't a French issue at all so has nothing to do with how long I've been here. This is a DVLA issue which means you cannot legally apply for a renewal or replacement of a UK license if you are resident outside the UK. It also means that your UK license is invalid no matter where you drive because the address is incorrect. If your UK license is invalid then technically your right to drive using that license in France is compromised.

As I said the answer is to switch the UK license for a French one but if you don't have it (lost or whatever) you are screwed because you can't replace it.

And that was the point I was making....

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Actually it isn't a French issue at all so has nothing to do with how long I've been here. This is a DVLA issue which means you cannot legally apply for a renewal or replacement of a UK license if you are resident outside the UK. It also means that your UK license is invalid no matter where you drive because the address is incorrect. If your UK license is invalid then technically your right to drive using that license in France is compromised.

As I said the answer is to switch the UK license for a French one but if you don't have it (lost or whatever) you are screwed because you can't replace it.

And that was the point I was making....

Cheers
a few years ago my husband had his UK driving licence stolen here in Spain - less than a week before he was due to fly to the US where he was obviously going to need it to hire a car

he reported it stolen etc etc., & phoned the DVLA to explain his predicament

they told him to come to Cardiff, get a hotel room & use that address to apply for a replacement in person................. - which is what he did



now if he had only changed to a Spanish licence in the first place that would all have been avoided
 

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now if he had only changed to a Spanish licence in the first place that would all have been avoided
I know, for sure, that is the French attitude. If you didn't exchange your license when you had the chance, well then, tant pis as they do like to say here!
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If you have lost your UK license you can apply to the DVLA for a certificate of entitlement, you can then use this to get a French license.
 

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As I said the answer is to switch the UK license for a French one but if you don't have it (lost or whatever) you are screwed because you can't replace it.

And that was the point I was making....

Cheers
Ah-hem - it seems a rather basic tenant of the whole "having a driving license" thing that you actually have the license in your possession. In other words, you don't have a UK driving license, and your California license isn't exchangeable.

Fehrenbach has a quickie 3-day cram class for the written test. Maybe you can collect some of the other folks who have to go the whole route together and split the costs: Fast training
Cheers,
Bev

PS Just a thought - by any chance might the reason for your no longer having your UK license be that you turned it in when you got your first US license lo, those many years ago? In principle, you aren't supposed to hold two driving licenses at the same time. Most states and countries expect you to submit your old license if they are granting you any sort of "credit" for already knowing how to drive when you get a new license for your current place of residence.
 

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Ah-hem - it seems a rather basic tenant of the whole "having a driving license" thing that you actually have the license in your possession. In other words, you don't have a UK driving license, and your California license isn't exchangeable.

Fehrenbach has a quickie 3-day cram class for the written test. Maybe you can collect some of the other folks who have to go the whole route together and split the costs: Fast training
Cheers,
Bev

PS Just a thought - by any chance might the reason for your no longer having your UK license be that you turned it in when you got your first US license lo, those many years ago? In principle, you aren't supposed to hold two driving licenses at the same time. Most states and countries expect you to submit your old license if they are granting you any sort of "credit" for already knowing how to drive when you get a new license for your current place of residence.
I wondered what your reference to a California licence was .............

so the OP hasn't lived in the UK for 'many years' but has a US licence??

in that case he stands no chance of getting a replacement UK licence & is probably not even entitled to one any more if he has a US licence

he'll just have to take the test like anyone else who has a US licence
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
PS Just a thought - by any chance might the reason for your no longer having your UK license be that you turned it in when you got your first US license lo, those many years ago?
I actually do have my old UK license, I was simply posting the anomaly so that others don't get caught out. I had a CA license years before I moved there, I got it on a two-week vacation trip in the days before you had to prove legal residency.

:focus: The point is that technically if you are not "normally resident" in the UK you cannot replace or renew your license so make sure you prepare accordingly

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My wife and I changed our UK licences for French ones after about a year. We were more worried about insurance issues driving friends' or hired cars in the UK where our old address was obviously not valid. It is a painless process really.
 

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Hi,
If you are finding this stressful why not just exchange your licence for a French one , you will anyway need to do that before you reach age 70, because to continue using the UK one after that age you will have to renew it with health certification (and as you point out , you can't do that from a french address). In France the normal car licence has no age limit (for the time being--there is talk of one, but it would apply to new licences only from the date of introduction)--so best to change licence now and be done with it?
 

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In France, a driving license is no proof of your residence address - only your carte grise (or whatever it's called these days) is. Whether or not you're more likely to register a change of address on your carte grise or on your driving license is anyone's guess.
Interesting - especially if one doesn't have a car, and thus not a carte grise! I dropped by the Mairie the other day to ask if they did "Attestation de Residences", which the Prefecture wants for my driving licence exchange. Oh, no, they said, just use your EDF bill. Maybe that will eventually become the all-purpose ID and proof of just about anything :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi,
If you are finding this stressful why not just exchange your licence for a French one
There's no stress involved - I just posted this as information for others who might find themselves caught out.
 

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Hi,
If you are finding this stressful why not just exchange your licence for a French one , you will anyway need to do that before you reach age 70, because to continue using the UK one after that age you will have to renew it with health certification (and as you point out , you can't do that from a french address). In France the normal car licence has no age limit (for the time being--there is talk of one, but it would apply to new licences only from the date of introduction)--so best to change licence now and be done with it?
Service Public is saying that the new drivers licenses are supposed to start being introduced in 2013: Obtention du permis de conduire - Service-public.fr but doesn't have much in the way of details yet. This one sentence, however, is intriguing:

Il prévoit également un accès progressif des conducteurs à certains véhicules du fait de leur puissance en modifiant les conditions d'âge et en prenant en compte l'expérience de ces conducteurs.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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