British drivers face fines as UK & France fail to reach reciprocal agreement on licences

The issue of British driving licences and Brexit has been complicated and frustrating for many UK citizens living in France. The ongoing impasse over a post-Brexit agreement between the France and the UK has left many British citizens living in France confused, and in some cases without a valid driving licence, The Local reports.

Non-EU citizens living in France must exchange their driving license for a French one in order to legally drive in France. The French government announced at the end of last year that this rule would apply to Britons living in France, who would have to swap their licence for a French one before the end of December 2021 – except that no applications for exchanges are currently being accepted because the UK and France have failed to reach a reciprocal agreement.

The French authorities had set up an online portal that replaced paper applications, to make the process easier. But those applying to exchange their licences since January have had their requests systematically rejected by the new French online system.

This has left thousands of British citizens living in France, many of whom are elderly and live in rural areas, without a valid permit because their UK licence has expired. Driving without a valid permit in France can result in a fine of up to €15,000.

Some people’s licences have already expired and have no way of renewing or exchanging them, while others are worried about the increasingly short timeframe for exchange even after an agreement is reached. Others have been waiting for months and years only to have their applications sent back.

Image: By Rama - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr,

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