Living France - - The Essentials -

QI have lived in France for sev­eral years now but still have a Bri­tish driv­ing li­cence, which needs to be re­newed. In view of Brexit, would it be bet­ter to re­new my Bri­tish li­cence or ap­ply for a French one, as I be­lieve I can only have one or the other? KARIN MALONE

AThere are an in­creas­ing num­ber of ques­tions around ex­chang­ing drivers li­cences from a UK one to a French one. As things stand cur­rently it has not been a le­gal re­quire­ment to change your li­cence while the UK is part of the EU how­ever things will change in the fu­ture due to Brexit, al­though no-one knows ex­actly how far-reach­ing th­ese changes will be due to the deal/no deal sce­nar­ios yet to be de­cided.

What we do know for sure is that what­ever the out­come, there will be some changes af­ter the with­drawal.


If there is a rat­i­fied With­drawal Agree­ment and a tran­si­tion pe­riod, your UK driv­ing li­cence will re­main valid at least un­til 31 De­cem­ber 2020. Agree­ments on mu­tual recog­ni­tion of li­cences be­tween the UK and the EU will form part of the ne­go­ti­a­tions on the fu­ture re­la­tion­ship dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod and the Depart­ment for Trans­port fully ex­pects there to be an agree­ment on this.


How­ever, if there’s no deal af­ter March 2019, your driv­ing li­cence may no longer be valid by it­self when driv­ing in the EU, un­less it is ac­com­pa­nied by an In­ter­na­tional Driv­ing Per­mit. It is pos­si­ble that your res­i­dence in the EU means you need an EU recog­nised right to drive. IDPs are sent to a home ad­dress in the UK (the ad­dress on a li­cence) but may be pro­vided in­stantly at cer­tain UK Post Of­fices. The AA link for an IDP may not be valid af­ter 29 March 2019.


You can ex­change your UK driv­ing li­cence for one from the EU coun­try you live in be­fore 29 March 2019. UK li­cence hold­ers who do this will be able to re-ex­change for a UK li­cence if they re­turn to live in the UK.


Af­ter exit day, ar­range­ments for EU li­cence hold­ers who are vis­it­ing or liv­ing in the UK would not change. The UK does not re­quire vis­it­ing motorists, for ex­am­ple those com­ing to the UK on hol­i­day or who wish to drive on busi­ness, to hold a sep­a­rate IDP to guar­an­tee the recog­ni­tion of their driv­ing li­cence.

EU li­cence hold­ers can drive on their EU li­cence un­til it ex­pires, or un­til they reach the age of 70, or un­til three years af­ter com­ing to live in the UK. For EU li­cence hold­ers who passed their test in the EU or EEA, the UK would con­tinue to ex­change their li­cence as we do cur­rently. MADELINE AVESON-GRUBER

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