What you need to know about driving in France

Guest post by Tracy Leonetti, Language & Business Service

Your Driving License: If you are non-European, you have one year to transfer your license over to a French one. After that you will need to take the French driving license. Note: For non-Europeans, before you leave your home country, ask your local driving office to give you a letter stating that your rights to drive are not suspended or cancelled. You will need this for your driving license application at the Prefecture.

Since 1st July 1996, it is not an obligation for Europeans to change their driving license and you may continue to drive in France with your driving license. However France works on a points system and if you commit a driving offense where points would be taken from your license, it then becomes an obligation to change your driving license to a French one. Driving license changes are done at the prefecture.

Car Registrations & Insurance: If you are bringing a car over to France, you normally have one month to make the change to a French registration ‘certificat d’immatriculation’ but this can be pushed out to 6 months as this is when one is considered as resident. This process is taken care of the Prefecture and the cost can be a little expensive as there is an import tax plus a pollution tax. Before leaving your home country, ask the garage where you bought the car or the manufacturer for a ‘Certificate of Conformity’, this is a document stating that your vehicle conforms to French standards. You will need this document to change your car registration. More information on the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés.

Also check your car insurance policy as most only cover up to 3 months abroad and if you have an accident in France you may find yourself without cover.