Exchanging an Australian driver licence for a French licence

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A driver licence issued by a country outside France is only recognised for one year once the person acquires “normal residence” in France, normal residence being defined as the place in which you live for at least six months (185 days) a year due to professional or personal attachments. If you are a foreign student in France, however, you can drive with your non-European licence during your studies.

Who qualifies?

To qualify, your licence must be valid and issued by the country in which you had normal residence at the time.

If you have an existing driver’s licence that is less than three years old then your newly issued French licence will also be a probationary one until a three-year period has elapsed.

When to apply?

You can apply to exchange your licence between the 6th month of your stay in France and before the 18th month depending on when you acquire “normal residence”. The application has to be made less than one year after your Carte de Séjour is issued.

It’s best to start the process a couple of months ahead of time as some documents may require a little time to acquire.

What do I need?

An Australian driving record or traffic history and a driver licence

First you will need an Australian driving record or traffic history, which is normally only available to the driver themselves. It can be ordered on-line but must be sent to an Australian address usually the last one on record. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to officially change your address to an address in Australia where the record can be sent. The system is different for each state. All the relevant links are given at the end of this post.

Translation into French

You will then need to have your licence and driving record/history translated by a court-certified translator. The official list can be found on the Court de Cassation website https://www.courdecassation.fr/informations_services_6/experts_judiciaires_8700.html#experts.

This is the official list of certified translators in France. All other lists are usually agencies in disguise. Translation agencies cannot be certified themselves, only the individual translators who carry out the work which is usually outsourced.

You can have the translation carried out by a translator living anywhere in France. There are no fixed prices for certified translations in France so they can vary considerably. You will need to take your licence and history to the translator in person or send them a good quality scan by email or a colour photocopy by post. A good quality scan means that it must be done with a scanner/photocopier and not a phone unless you have a special app.

Translators usually ask to be paid in advance by bank transfer, PayPal, etc. The translation is sent back by post. I personally prefer the “lettre suivie” solution. A sticker costs about 40 centimes and means you can track the letter which will be deposited in your mail box and not have to be collected at the post office if you’re not home, like a registered letter (lettre recommandée) does.

Two application forms are to be filled in

1)  Licence exchange application form (purple form – cerfa 14879*01)

Cerfa form 14879*01 available on https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/R31381. See below on how to fill out the form.

How to fill out cerfa 14879*01

Tick box n° 2 : échange d’un permis délivré par un état n’appartenant ni l’UE ni à l’EEE

NOM DE NAISSANCE [BIRTH NAME (i.e. surname, family name, maiden name, NOT MARRIED NAME)]

PRENOMS [Given names, in the order on your birth certificate, don’t use initials]

NOM D’USAGE [family name you usually use i.e. an alias or a married name if that is what you usually use. N.B. Women in France NEVER lose their maiden name. The use of their married name is a custom only.]

DATE DE NAISSANCE [Date of birth: day, month, year]

COMMUNE DE NAISSANCE [Place of birth – commune is just another name for municipality ;    Département (irrelevant)]

PAYS [country if you weren’t born in France]

COMPLEMENT D’ADRESSE [extra information, such as floor, stairs, appartment no etc.]

CODE POSTAL [Post Code]                                      COMMUNE [Town]

COURRIEL [Email address]

______________________________________________________________

Nationality(ies) when licence granted:  o  French  o other  Current nationality(ies):  o French o Other

Country in which licence to be exchanged was issued  ……… Issue date ………  Licence n° ……..

Next comes a table listing the European licence classes you have obtained:

AM, A1, A2, A, B, BE, B1, C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D and DE

This means that most Australian licences are either French Class A (motorcycle) or Class B (ordinary motor vehicle).

MAIN DRIVING CLASS EQUIVALENTS : AUS C = FR A and AUS R = FR B

For more information and other classes, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_driving_licence

You then need to fill out the date on which the licence was granted (date d’obtention), the département code (which does not concern you) and the date of expiration (date de validité).

On the right, there are two boxes to tick

o Je m’oppose à la réutilisation de mes données personnelles à des fins autres que celles pour lesquelles, elles sont collectées [I do not wish to have my personal information reused for purposes other than those for which they are collected].

o Je soussigné(e), le (la) déclarant(e), atteste sur l’honneur que les renseignements de la présente demande sont exacts, et ne pas faire l’objet sur le territoire de l’État, de la collectivité d’Outre-mer ou de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, qui a délivré le permis de conduire, d’une mesure de restriction, de suspension, de retrait ou d’annulation du droit de conduire.

[I, the undersigned, the informant, declare on my honour that the information contained in this application is correct that my driver licence has not been restricted, suspended, withdrawn or cancelled in the territory of the State, Overseas Authority or New Caledonian authority that issued the driving licence. (The bits about Overseas and New Caledonia do not apply to Australians).]

Fait à [enter town in which you signed] le (enter date of signature)

Then sign inside the box below using black ink and keeping your signature within the box.

You then need to stick your photo inside the box using double-sided adhesive tape NOT STAPLES.

The second table is used FOR THE ADMINISTRATION to fill in any endorsements.

Applicant’s copy

Now fill in the second page in the same way or photocopy or scan the first page as it is the applicant’s copy.

2) Application for a European format licence (apricot form – cerfa 14848*01 Réf 06)

Cerfa 14848*01 Réf 06  available on https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/R32666. See below on how to fill out the form.

How to fill out Cerfa 14848*01

Numéro NEPH – Administration only

MOTIFS (REASON FOR APPLICATION)

Tick box : o demande de permis de conduire par échange

NOM DE NAISSANCE [BIRTH NAME (i.e. surname, family name, maiden name, NOT MARRIED NAME)]

PRENOMS [Given names, in the order on your birth certificate, don’t use initials]

NOM D’USAGE [family name you usually use i.e. an alias or a married name if that is what you usually use. N.B. Women in France NEVER lose their maiden name. The use of their married name is a custom only.]

DATE DE NAISSANCE [Date of birth: day, month, year]

COMMUNE DE NAISSANCE [Place of birth – commune is just another name for municipality ;    Département (irrelevant)]

PAYS [country if you weren’t born in France]

COMPLEMENT D’ADRESSE [extra information, such as floor, stairs, appartment no etc.]

CODE POSTAL [Post Code]                                      COMMUNE [Town]

COURRIEL [Email address]

Je soussigné(e), le (la) déclarant(e), atteste sur l’honneur que les renseignements de la présente demande sont exacts [I, the undersigned, the informant, declare on my honour that the information contained in this application is correct]

FAIT À [enter town in which you signed] Le (enter date of signature)

Then sign inside the box below using black ink and keeping your signature within the box.

Représentant legal: This section is used if you are a guardian applying for a ward.

You then need to stick your photo within the box using double-sided adhesive tape NOT STAPLES.

You then need to stick your photo inside the box using double-sided adhesive tape NOT STAPLES.

At the end there is a box to tick:

Je m’oppose à la réutilisation de mes données personnelles à des fins autres que celles pour lesquelles, elles sont collectées (I do not wish to have my personal information reused for purposes other than those for which they are collected).

Followed by information on the French law concerning Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties

Other documents required for the application:

  • Colour photocopy of the back and front of your driver licence
  • Photocopy of your ID other than a driver licence (both biometric and non-biometric passports are accepted)
  • Photocopy of proof of domicile (electricity, gas or phone bill) with your name on it. If your name isn’t on the account, apply to do so.
  • If you have more than one passport, photocopy of proof of residence in Australia at the time the licence was issued (e.g. registration with consulate, payslips and work contract, school/university reports, etc.)
  • Driving history (ORIGINAL not a copy) less than 3 months old from the country that issued the licence
  • Photocopies of proof of normal residence in France on the date on which the application is submitted (carte de séjour, for example)
  • Photocopy of proof of the date of arrival in France (e.g. airline ticket, French social security membership, etc.)
  • Official translation (original) of your driver licence (you have to send the official translation which will be stapled to a photocopy of your licence, not the actual licence)
  • 3 photos (two of which are stuck to the forms). Write your family name, given names and date of birth on the back of the photos.
  • For truck licences or if your licence has been suspended, a medical check-up must be carried out with a local approved medical practitioner (list on prefecture website)
  • If you live in Corsica or certain French overseas territories, a regional tax must be paid by check
  • 1 post-paid envelope lettre suivie (enveloppe pré-affranchie tarif lettre) 50 g « prêt à poster »), with your name and address.

All incomplete applications will be sent back to the applicant.

Where do I send the documents?

If you live in Paris, send BY POST ONLY to:

Préfecture de Police de Paris

DPG / SDCLP

Centre de ressources des échanges de permis de conduire étrangers et des permis internationaux de conduite (Crepic)

1 bis rue de Lutèce

75 195 Paris Cedex 04

If you don’t live in Paris, send BY POST ONLY to:

CERT EPE

TSA 83529

44035 NANTES CEDEX 01

What happens next?

After your application is examined, you will be systematically asked to provide your original licence.

You will be contacted by the authority concerned and issued a certificate of secure deposit (ADS) for your Australian driver licence.

You can use the ADS to drive while waiting for your French licence to issued, within the limit of the date of expiration of your Australian licence.

How long will it take?

The processing time will vary according to the complexity of your application and mainly depends on how long it takes to check your right to drive (driving history).

How can you track your application?

You can write an email or phone CERT de Nantes – Suivi de l’échange du permis de conduire

By email : cert-pc-epe-44-usagersEPE@interieur.gouv.fr

By phone : 02 55 58 49 00

If you move during the process

Email the above address, together with a pdf version of proof of domicile and the ADS (i.e. interim licence) or, if you haven’t received the ADS, your birth name, given names, date of birth and nationality of the licence.

The French licence is then posted to your home address.

What sort of licence will I get?

The licence is not probationary unless the original licence is less than 3 years old.

The issue date indicated on the licence is the issue date of the French licence. The licence is valid for 15 years from the issue date (except when a medical check-up is needed, for drives of HGVs for example).

If you would like me to translate your documents, you can phone 06 76 41 99 43 or write to kneipp@kneipp-traduction.com. To know more about me professionally, you can check out my website www.kneipp-traduction.com.

Good luck!

All information taken from the official government site https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1460, verified in July 2019.

LINKS TO OBTAIN AN AUSTRALIAN DRIVING HISTORY/TRAFFIC RECORD

NSW https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/request-driving-record

QLD https://www.service.transport.qld.gov.au/applyformytraffichistory/public/Welcome.xhtml?dswid=-9714

VIC https://billing.vicroads.vic.gov.au/driverhistory

SA https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/driving-and-transport/licences/drivers-licence/check-your-driving-history

WA http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/rsd_help/index_2073.aspx

TAS https://www.transport.tas.gov.au/registration/information/search_applications

ACT https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1581/~/act-driver-licence-information#!tabs-7

NT https://nt.gov.au/driving/driverlicence/renew,-change-or-update-your-licence/apply-for-your-driver-licence-history

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3 Responses to Exchanging an Australian driver licence for a French licence

  1. As it is, I think I would only visit.

  2. Janine says:

    Wow – you were thorough!!

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