How To Change Your UK/Foreign Driving Licence for a French Permis de Conduire: Part 2/3


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How To Change Your UK/Foreign Driving Licence for a French Permis de Conduire: Part 2/3

FrenchEntrée digital editor Zoë Smith takes you through the process of exchanging your UK or foreign driving licence for a French Permis de Conduire – step by step.

Back in August, I started the process of exchanging my British driving licence for a French one and, as promised, I’m taking you through the process with me in real-time. Here’s the latest.

First things first: I applied for my French licence on August 22nd, 2022, and you can read all about the application process and my experience here.

How To Change Your UK/Foreign Driving Licence for a French Permis de Conduire: STEP BY STEP Part 1

What happened next?

On October 10th, 2022 (seven weeks later), I received a text message (I had selected to receive both options, just in case!) stating:

«  Votre demande en ligne doit etre completée. Connectez-vous à votre compte ANTS. »

(Your application needs to be completed)

I was told to log-in to my ANTS account for more information. It turns out that I was missing my birth certificate, so I added this to my application (note: I made sure that this was the long-form birth certificate issued from the UK, not the smaller official certificate that is most often used in the UK – read our article on Birth Certificates in France: What You Need to Know).

The next step: sending in your old licence

About two weeks later, on October 26th, 2022, I received another text message and email, this time saying:

« Pour finaliser votre demande en ligne vous devez envoyer votre permis original. Connectez-vous à votre compte ANTS. »

(To finalise your application, you need to send in your original driving licence).

Logging on, I found the details for sending in my original licence. I had to print out the accompanying form and send this and my licence (note: I only have a photocard licence but as the instructions say to send in ALL licences in your possession, I would assume that anyone who still has a paper licence in addition to a photocard licence should submit both) by recorded delivery – lettre recommandé avec accusé de reception.

Prior to doing this, I also took a photocopy of my driving licence and printed out the “Attestation de depôt de permis de conduire” – I will keep both of these with me whenever I drive.

My thoughts so far…

Having heard several reports of long wait times and requests for documents to be translated, I was slightly worried about running into issues during my application. However, I have been pleasantly surprised. I feel like my application has been dealt with very swiftly – the total time from submission to sending in my original licence has been seven weeks and, in my experience, anything under two months for any application of this kind in France is good! I’m also pleased I haven’t been asked for translations of any official documents – of course, there is still a chance that I may be, but generally speaking, if I’ve got to this stage, it should mean that my dossier has been deemed complete.

Now begins the waiting game! Let’s see how long it takes before I (hopefully!) receive my new French permis de conduire. I’ll keep you updated once I hear more.

Disclaimer: Please remember that I am taking you through the process with me in real-time! This means there is the possibility that I have made errors during the application process or may be requested to submit extra documents as I continue in the process. The idea is to give you all a real, first-hand account of the process, so I will keep you updated as I move through the different steps.

Also, remember that this application is specific to me and may not be the same for you. Depending on your age, nationality, licence type, and other factors, you may need additional documents to those that I have submitted.

UPDATE: I have now successfully received my new French driving licence!

Read PART 3: How To Change Your UK/Foreign Driving Licence for a French Permis de Conduire: Part 3/3

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Alex
    2022-11-12 12:45:04
    Hi Zoe, I've just completed my application for a French DL (my UK one also runs out Jan 23) following your very useful instructions. ANTS site 'accepted' my application, so now we'll see what happens next. I had to seek help from the IT people laid on by Vienne departement to get an ANTS account up and running initially, and then I was told that I 'should' have applied to change my DL within 1 year of moving to France (the person helping me didn't seem to know about Article 50 etc etc), and that the application could not be completed on line, and I would have to sit a French driving test! I thought '*** that for a game of soldiers, I'll try again on my laptop at home, and it seemed to go as described by you then.


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-11-22 03:57:16
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Alex, Glad to hear your application was successful and that my article was helpful. Let’s hope we both receive our new French licences soon! Do keep us updated! Zoe


  •  Mike Bassett
    2022-11-11 08:50:03
    Mike Bassett
    Thank you for this write-up - it was very helpful. Far and away the most difficult part of the process was 1.Getting a digital photo from a functioning booth, in the end I went to a photographic shop and 2. Getting registered with ants which seems to have nothing to do with the tax sites and only nodding acquaintance with ameli. For 2 I found that underneath both the username and the password there is a link that enables you to get a reminder of both user name and password by email but it is a two step process. In doing this I found that ants had taken my chosen username and modified it. Very frustrating. Based on your experience I ordered a British birth certificate and afterwards realized it was probably unnecessary because I am a male and did not change my family name on marriage. Looking at your photo it is clear that you are female and French administration probably assumed that you changed your name. I would have imagined a marriage certificate was more appropriate than a birth certificate - anyway they asked and you provided! I think French birth certificates get updated as you travel through life whereas UK birth certificates are unchanging.


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-11-22 04:03:32
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Mike, Thanks for your comments, I’m sure they will be of use to others going through similar issues. That’s interesting about the birth certificate too - I wasn’t asked for it in the initial application, and I wonder if other female applicants have also been asked. It will be interesting to hear from others about their experiences! Fingers crossed we’ll both receive our new French licences soon. Best regards, Zoe


  • Nick
    2022-11-08 07:37:30
    Hi the link Birhcertificates in France doesn’t work!


  • Heather
    2022-11-07 09:37:42
    Hi Zoe, Not sure if you can help me with this, but thought I would ask. I have a form to complete namely Demande de Complementaire sante solidaire majority of the form is self explanatory but just wondered if you know of a site or can help with form filling as some areas a little difficult to translate. If not I will complete what I can and send a letter with the form back to CPAM Thanks Heather


    • Zoë Smith
      2022-11-07 10:13:10
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Heather, I haven't filled this one in myself, but there is a facebook group Strictly Sante, which can be a great resource for anything health-related in France - I bet someone on there has filled it in and can help with translations. Of course, do keep in mind it's a Facebook group and not an official source - if you need more specific advice I would suggest contacting your mutuelle health insurer or local CPAM office - they are often very helpful with filling in these kinds of forms. Best regards, Zoe