EXCHANGING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE
UPDATED 19 october 2012
France only allows licenses exchanges from certain States and Provinces in the US and Canada and within those States and Provinces only certain categories of licenses. Pourquoi? I have no idea. Best not to ask these types of questions; there’s never a rational answer.
Don’t forget, only people with carte de résidence (you are residing in France long term) need to exchange their licenses. Students can drive in France with their student carte de séjour and their home license.
So, first off, see if your license fits into the exchangeable category:
USA: Arkansas catégorie B, Caroline du Sud, Colorado catégorie B, Connecticut A et B, Delaware catégorie B, Floride catégories A et B, Illinois, Iowa catégorie B, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio catégorie B, Pennsylvanie catégories A et B, Texas catégorie B, Virginie catégorie B.
Canada: Alberta catégorie B, Colombie britannique catégorie B, Ile du Prince Edouard catégorie B, Manitoba catégorie B, Nouveau-Brunswick, Ontario catégorie B, comtés du nord et du sud du Québec catégorie B, Terre-Neuve – Labrador catégorie B.
If you fit into one of these categories, you MUST exchange your license within the first year of your carte de résidence. If you do not, you will have to take the French test, and you will lose your opportunity to exchange. There’s a catch: if you have a carte vie privée, you have to wait six months after the issuance of your carte de residence to make the demand. This means 6 months after the date on your carte de résidence, you should go do the exchange. As always, the paper work is rather cumbersome, so get your documents ready well in advance of the date when your carte de résidence turns 6 months old.
If you have a carte vie privée, once your carte de residence is 6 months old and you’ve collected all the documents that you will need, go to the Prefecture at 92 boulevard Ney 75018 Paris (yes, same place as the student carte de séjour) only on the 2nd floor.
If you have a work carte de sejour, you do NOT have to wait the six months. Go as soon as you can.
You do not need a rdv.
Wait in line at the Accueil to get a ticket, you’ll have to show the clerk all your documentation for verification, and then wait some more in the waiting area until your number is called. This procedure can take several hours. Plan to use the whole day to get this done.
The documents you will need to supply include:
- Carte de residence (more than 6 months old, less than 1 year old for carte vie privée) and 2 copies front and back
- If your license is from a country of which you are NOT a citizen, you will need proof that you lived there during the period when your license was issued (e.g. school report cards, report from Department of Transport showing when you received your license and your address). And an official translation of these documents if not already in French.
- In the latter case, you will also need an Attestation from the country that issued your license stating your status in that country. Plus an official translation of these documents if not already in French.
- Form Certa No 11247*02, you can download it here: Date this form on the day you will be going to the Prefecture.
- The original driver’s license
- 2 COLOR copies of the license front and back (Note there is not a color copier at the Prefecture).
- The official translation of your driver’s license. (Canadians don’t have to worry about this).
- 4 ID photos.
- 1 justification of residence plus a copy (gas bill, electricity bill, rental contract); I’d bring all three.
For more information, read here.