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-   -   Driving licence exchange again. (https://britishexpats.com/forum/france-76/driving-licence-exchange-again-934418/)

scrubbedexpat056 Aug 19th 2020 1:12 pm

Driving licence exchange again.
 
I doubt if anyone can advise on this unless one of you is in a similar position and has more success than me. I have finished my entire online application to exchange my UK driving licence for a french one, sent in my old licence and received an attestation to continue driving my car before covid came along. However, I am now in a grey area where covid has now added to the already poor licence process caused by brexit.

My UK licence expired on 16/07/20.
My attestation expires on 04/08/20.
I can't renew UK licence because I am resident in France.
I emailed ANTS and was informed of the EU directive that automatically adds a 7 month extension from the day my UK licence expired.
I have failed with my level of french to negotiate the initial menus on the ANTS phone number let alone get as far as talking to anyone.
The UK driving licence office has stopped email replies and webchats. The phone number is constantly busy.

I seem to have entered a grey area of France accepting my extended UK driving licence even though my attestation runs out on 4th September, but UK possibly not accepting it since I am no longer eligible for a renewal. I can't find anything specific on their website that says whether or not the EU wide extension applies to driving licences that were perfectly legal until they expired, but not if the driver is no longer eligible.

Any ideas?

dmu Aug 19th 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Alianco (Post 12898935)
I doubt if anyone can advise on this unless one of you is in a similar position and has more success than me. I have finished my entire online application to exchange my UK driving licence for a french one, sent in my old licence and received an attestation to continue driving my car before covid came along. However, I am now in a grey area where covid has now added to the already poor licence process caused by brexit.

My UK licence expired on 16/07/20.
My attestation expires on 04/08/20.
I can't renew UK licence because I am resident in France.
I emailed ANTS and was informed of the EU directive that automatically adds a 7 month extension from the day my UK licence expired.
I have failed with my level of french to negotiate the initial menus on the ANTS phone number let alone get as far as talking to anyone.
The UK driving licence office has stopped email replies and webchats. The phone number is constantly busy.

I seem to have entered a grey area of France accepting my extended UK driving licence even though my attestation runs out on 4th September, but UK possibly not accepting it since I am no longer eligible for a renewal. I can't find anything specific on their website that says whether or not the EU wide extension applies to driving licences that were perfectly legal until they expired, but not if the driver is no longer eligible.

Any ideas?

No, but I commiserate with you, having problems with ANTS and my Carte Grise!! My born-in-France daughter tried ringing the ANTS phone number, but gave up. She then proceeded to make a new application on my behalf for a Change of Name on-line. So far, so good and I have an SMS to prove that it's all on-going (and a Certificate issued before the first application was rejected).
Meanwhile, keep the Attestation with your car papers in case there's a police check. They know that Covid has played havoc with all the French Administrations and, unless you've just broken a law, will probably be very comprehensive when you give a Gallic shrug and utter "ce sacré Covid".
Seriously though, I'm past worrying (just annoyed with ANTS)....
Good luck!:)

scrubbedexpat056 Aug 19th 2020 2:01 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Thanks dmu. In fact I can answer my own question for anyone with a similar problem having hung on (sod the expense) to talk to someone at DVLA. According to them, as far as the UK is concerned the EU extension to driving licences is a blanket one, irrespective of whether or not you are eligible to renew it. How other countries approach it is up to them, but as I said before, ANTS has already pointed me to the EU directive so I am happy that my ability to drive doesn't end on 4th September.

Helen1964 Aug 19th 2020 2:18 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Hi Alianco

If I were you, I would just print off a copy of the email from ANTS about the 7-month extension and keep that about your person, with the attestation.
Presumably they'll get their act together at some point soon and you will receive a shiny new French licence in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I wouldn't drive in the UK if I were you, if you can possibly avoid it.

I can't stand all this bureaucratic nonsense. I've been talking to various friends and colleagues this morning - they all have properties rented out in the UK. The avis d'imposition started arriving on people's mats yesterday - half of them have had not been charged any tax or social charges and the other half have been completely hammered. No doubt mine will be waiting for me when I get home tonight.

Good luck!

scrubbedexpat056 Aug 19th 2020 3:26 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Helen1964 (Post 12898972)
Hi Alianco

If I were you, I would just print off a copy of the email from ANTS about the 7-month extension and keep that about your person, with the attestation.
Presumably they'll get their act together at some point soon and you will receive a shiny new French licence in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I wouldn't drive in the UK if I were you, if you can possibly avoid it.

I can't stand all this bureaucratic nonsense. I've been talking to various friends and colleagues this morning - they all have properties rented out in the UK. The avis d'imposition started arriving on people's mats yesterday - half of them have had not been charged any tax or social charges and the other half have been completely hammered. No doubt mine will be waiting for me when I get home tonight.

Good luck!

On the strength of what DVLA said on the phone I'm confident I can drive in UK. We drove here a month ago and now we're stuck here with selling my father-in-law's house and buying him something smaller to free up capital for care fees for him and his wife who is in a home. Adding Covid and the ever pending Brexit to the mix and things are getting pretty stressful. Having said that, we are some of the lucky UK landlords who have had our french taxes assessed and found to owe nothing. That and the driving licence have been two bits of good news in an otherwise perfect storm.

Helen1964 Aug 19th 2020 6:15 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Alianco (Post 12898989)
On the strength of what DVLA said on the phone I'm confident I can drive in UK. We drove here a month ago and now we're stuck here with selling my father-in-law's house and buying him something smaller to free up capital for care fees for him and his wife who is in a home. Adding Covid and the ever pending Brexit to the mix and things are getting pretty stressful. Having said that, we are some of the lucky UK landlords who have had our french taxes assessed and found to owe nothing. That and the driving licence have been two bits of good news in an otherwise perfect storm.

If DVLA are happy, that should be fine.
I’m sure your French licence will be posted out soon. The difficult bit is getting the attestation so you’re almost there.

Just checked my Avis d’imposition and it’s correct. Hurray!

Tweedpipe Aug 19th 2020 10:37 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by dmu (Post 12898940)
No, but I commiserate with you, having problems with ANTS and my Carte Grise!! My born-in-France daughter tried ringing the ANTS phone number, but gave up. She then proceeded to make a new application on my behalf for a Change of Name on-line. So far, so good and I have an SMS to prove that it's all on-going (and a Certificate issued before the first application was rejected).
Meanwhile, keep the Attestation with your car papers in case there's a police check. They know that Covid has played havoc with all the French Administrations and, unless you've just broken a law, will probably be very comprehensive when you give a Gallic shrug and utter "ce sacré Covid".
Seriously though, I'm past worrying (just annoyed with ANTS)....
Good luck!:)

Cette sacré DMU! ;)

dmu Aug 20th 2020 7:46 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe (Post 12899182)
Cette sacré DMU! ;)

Sorry to split hairs/play at Grammar Police, but it should read "sacrée"...;)

Tweedpipe Aug 20th 2020 8:09 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by dmu (Post 12899297)
Sorry to split hairs/play at Grammar Police, but it should read "sacrée"...;)

Your right DMU! I've never met you and would never suggest anything ambiguous. I must try harder. Never did master the difference between French 'men' & 'women'.......:eek:

Annetje Aug 21st 2020 10:08 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe (Post 12899304)
. Never did master the difference between French 'men' & 'women'.......:eek:

And that never led you to a trickly if not embarrassing situation ? :ohmy:

cyrian Aug 21st 2020 11:59 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
@ TP I posted a video in "Bad Jokes" to help you understand. ;)

cator Sep 19th 2020 5:07 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
I called DVLA a week ago and all I got was a message asking me to leave my name, number and question. I've heard nothing since. My question was that when I exchanged my UK licence for a french one, it was thirty years ago and they didn't have photos etc. Would this be a problem driving with my french licence in the UK on a visit after year end?

cyrian Sep 19th 2020 8:33 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cator (Post 12911813)
I called DVLA a week ago and all I got was a message asking me to leave my name, number and question. I've heard nothing since. My question was that when I exchanged my UK licence for a french one, it was thirty years ago and they didn't have photos etc. Would this be a problem driving with my french licence in the UK on a visit after year end?

The answer is we just don't know.
France has different agreements with different countries or even with different US states.
This appears to be on a country basis rather than an EU basis.
The agreement between the UK and France will be reciprocal and whatever is agreed will apply to French licences in the UK and also UK licences in France.

Notdunroamin Sep 19th 2020 10:19 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
If you passed your test in UK then you remain entitled to drive there regardless or whether you have a physical licence in your possession or not or if you've exchanged it for one for another country.

The rule is that you must hold or have held, and are not disqualified from holding a licence.

At the roadside what you would need if stopped are your driver number and address which was on the last licence you had, with those the police can look you up on the DVLA database and confirm that you are entitled to drive.

You could also phone DVLA and ask them to send you a 'Letter of Entitlement' which will put in your hand a piece of paper with essentially the same information the police are able to access.

scrubbedexpat056 Sep 19th 2020 10:59 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cator (Post 12911813)
I called DVLA a week ago and all I got was a message asking me to leave my name, number and question. I've heard nothing since.

If you're that concerned you could call them again. I had to hang on for quite a time to actually speak to someone, but I didn't get the message you got. Maybe you inadvertently selected the wrong one of the many options you were offered.
In my own case I have discovered the main problem with my situation. No matter the EU directive that gives an extension to all expired driving licences, no car hire company in UK will rent you a car unless you can show them the actual plastic licence and mine is somewhere in a ministry filing cabinet in Nantes.

cator Sep 19th 2020 1:38 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Thanks for the reply to my post Alianco.

I called a couple of times the DVLA on 00448443069203 and after reading your post and the others I'll call them again next week.

cator Sep 19th 2020 1:42 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Thanks cyrian, we'll soon find out. That's why I want to establish my claim to my original UK licence.

cator Sep 19th 2020 1:49 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Your info is very encouraging Notdunroamin. I passed my licence a long time ago and being now over 75, the UK have changed the conditions for seniors which the French have not done so.

cyrian Sep 19th 2020 1:50 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cator (Post 12911901)
Thanks cyrian, we'll soon find out. That's why I want to establish my claim to my original UK licence.

You can't hold a UK licence if you don't have a UK address.
If you are living in France then you will have to use your French licence in the UK.
For short visits, I don't anticipate any problem.
For longer stays or a return to the UK then if you had a UK licence then you would still be entitled to a current version.

scrubbedexpat056 Sep 19th 2020 3:18 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cator (Post 12911900)
Thanks for the reply to my post Alianco.

I called a couple of times the DVLA on 00448443069203 and after reading your post and the others I'll call them again next week.

I don't know where you got that number, but for questions about driving licences their website shows 0044 790 6801. I'm pretty sure that's the number I used.

cyrian Sep 19th 2020 6:54 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Alianco (Post 12911928)
I don't know where you got that number, but for questions about driving licences their website shows 0044 790 6801. I'm pretty sure that's the number I used.

Not enough digits in your number.
It is 0044 300 790 6801
HTH

scrubbedexpat056 Sep 19th 2020 7:41 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cyrian (Post 12911972)
Not enough digits in your number.
It is 0044 300 790 6801
HTH

You're right of course.

Helen1964 Oct 8th 2020 5:39 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Any sign of your French licence yet Alianco?

I just submitted an application to exchange my UK one today.

scrubbedexpat056 Oct 8th 2020 6:31 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Helen1964 (Post 12920046)
Any sign of your French licence yet Alianco?

I just submitted an application to exchange my UK one today.

Not yet, When I emailed them about six weeks ago pointing out my attestation was going to run out on 3rd September I was sent a link to the EU directive saying that everyone with a recently expired licence automatically had a 6 month grace period. I would guess that your application won't be processed for quite some time. Good luck with it.

Helen1964 Oct 9th 2020 5:13 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath!

G-J-B Oct 9th 2020 3:54 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by cyrian (Post 12911904)
You can't hold a UK licence if you don't have a UK address.
If you are living in France then you will have to use your French licence in the UK.
For short visits, I don't anticipate any problem.
For longer stays or a return to the UK then if you had a UK licence then you would still be entitled to a current version.

Hi Cyrian. Unless I read the message out of context, you can actually have a UK license while living in France; the address does not need to be (actually it can't be) updated with the DVLA.

As an aside, it's my understanding that the UK license being European (even though the country is no longer in the EU) will remain valid in France until its expiration. Personally I would like to change mine, but ANTS seem so overwhelmed, that they're focusing on those who's licenses are expiring, or they have points and have been asked to exchange it by law, so I'm not sure I could exchange it even if I wanted to? I tried explaining this to a gendarme once during a random check (nothing amiss), as he wasn't at all happy I had a UK license, he was adamant that I change it, even though I was certain he was in the wrong.

scrubbedexpat056 Oct 9th 2020 4:22 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by G-J-B (Post 12920389)
Hi Cyrian. Unless I read the message out of context, you can actually have a UK license while living in France; the address does not need to be (actually it can't be) updated with the DVLA.

As an aside, it's my understanding that the UK license being European (even though the country is no longer in the EU) will remain valid in France until its expiration. Personally I would like to change mine, but ANTS seem so overwhelmed, that they're focusing on those who's licenses are expiring, or they have points and have been asked to exchange it by law, so I'm not sure I could exchange it even if I wanted to? I tried explaining this to a gendarme once during a random check (nothing amiss), as he wasn't at all happy I had a UK license, he was adamant that I change it, even though I was certain he was in the wrong.

The whole UK address question is interesting. As far as I can work out you can use your UK driving licence, with an old UK address, in the EU, but you can't renew it without a UK address. This means you're driving legally in the EU with the wrong address on the licence until it expires, but it's an offence in the UK.
I wouldn't suggest it as a ploy, but I have accrued 3 points on my licence since moving to France and wondered if it would move me up the queue for a French licence. I am now in the position that my UK licence ran out in July and my attestation ran out in Septemeber. I can legally drive on either with the EU wide exemption for unrenewable licences, but I can't hire a car in UK because they demand the actual plastic licence, which I sent to the French licencing authorities.

cyrian Oct 9th 2020 4:43 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by G-J-B (Post 12920389)
Hi Cyrian. Unless I read the message out of context, you can actually have a UK license while living in France; the address does not need to be (actually it can't be) updated with the DVLA.

As an aside, it's my understanding that the UK license being European (even though the country is no longer in the EU) will remain valid in France until its expiration. Personally I would like to change mine, but ANTS seem so overwhelmed, that they're focusing on those who's licenses are expiring, or they have points and have been asked to exchange it by law, so I'm not sure I could exchange it even if I wanted to? I tried explaining this to a gendarme once during a random check (nothing amiss), as he wasn't at all happy I had a UK license, he was adamant that I change it, even though I was certain he was in the wrong.

Yes I should have said apply for a UK licence unless you have a UK address.
However, the OP's licence has already expired and is therefore not valid in the UK.

G-J-B Oct 9th 2020 5:22 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Alianco (Post 12920399)
The whole UK address question is interesting. As far as I can work out you can use your UK driving licence, with an old UK address, in the EU, but you can't renew it without a UK address. This means you're driving legally in the EU with the wrong address on the licence until it expires, but it's an offence in the UK.
I wouldn't suggest it as a ploy, but I have accrued 3 points on my licence since moving to France and wondered if it would move me up the queue for a French licence. I am now in the position that my UK licence ran out in July and my attestation ran out in Septemeber. I can legally drive on either with the EU wide exemption for unrenewable licences, but I can't hire a car in UK because they demand the actual plastic licence, which I sent to the French licencing authorities.

Hi Alianco,
Yes, you can use your UK license with an old address, but you cannot renew it, however if you're a French resident it is not an offense to use it in the UK as far as I understand it.
It's funny you mentioned the points, because in my mind that was a good way to fast track to a French driver's license. :) Do the points disappear after a certain period of time? Sounds like it's a bit of nightmare when you're in the UK.

scrubbedexpat056 Oct 9th 2020 11:33 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by G-J-B (Post 12920425)
Do the points disappear after a certain period of time? Sounds like it's a bit of nightmare when you're in the UK.

Hmmm. Driving in the UK with an expired, clean UK licence and an expired attestation with 3 points not recorded on it. What could possibly go wrong? In fact, I had to drive the car home and fly back because my 90 day allowance was going to expire and we are still stuck un UK and will be for another month or more. Since I won't be able to hire a car at least that's one problem I don't have to deal with.

Known Aim Feb 28th 2021 3:49 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Hi, my wife has a similar problem to the OP, she is 70 mid-March. We applied mid-October having waited for the Nantes backlog to clear and ANTS to get over Covid difficulties.

We have contacted ANTS a couple of times, but they seem unsympathetic to the problem. A perfect French shrug, i guess.

As we have a second home in the UK, the license was valid.

All we have had was a one line email and a text, so not really an attestation, as such. Does that count for a 7-month extension, this is the first we have heard about that? ANTS did not mention it.

Has anyone received an exchange license recently? How long did it take?

is it worth visiting the local Gendarmerie to seek their opinion?

Thanks for any advice.

ETwenthome Feb 28th 2021 4:13 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 

Originally Posted by Known Aim (Post 12978330)
Hi, my wife has a similar problem to the OP, she is 70 mid-March. We applied mid-October having waited for the Nantes backlog to clear and ANTS to get over Covid difficulties.

We have contacted ANTS a couple of times, but they seem unsympathetic to the problem. A perfect French shrug, i guess.

As we have a second home in the UK, the license was valid.

All we have had was a one line email and a text, so not really an attestation, as such. Does that count for a 7-month extension, this is the first we have heard about that? ANTS did not mention it.

Has anyone received an exchange license recently? How long did it take?

is it worth visiting the local Gendarmerie to seek their opinion?

Thanks for any advice.

I'm not entirely sure what your situation is, but I think things have moved on, or maybe backwards, since this thread started.
As I understand it, France and the UK are in negotiations about driving licence exchange but they're not there yet.
I believe the current situation is that if you have a UK licence but live in France, and the licence expires, there is no way to renew it at present.
I know it seems wrong but that is what the British Embassy seems to be saying. The governments are aware of the issue and working to resolve it but as of right now there seems to be no solution.
(Sorry can't provide a link as I nicked this off another forum.)
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/british...a8f61f10e2.png

Known Aim Feb 28th 2021 4:48 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
My understanding is that issue related to applications submitted after 1st January. Given the quantity / quality of the information requested on the ANTS website last October, verifying and tickboxes are all the human input that seems required, once they have confirmation from the DVLA.

sorry, i seem. not to be allowed to use quotes for the time being.

ETwenthome Feb 28th 2021 5:00 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
As you say, you would think that applications submitted during transition could continue to be processed. I don't think ANTS has been accepting applications to exchange snce 1st Jan.
I wasn't even aware of this whole issue until the other day when I happened to see that FB conversation about it. Happily it doesn't affect me, not yet at any rate.
Best of luck with it.

Helen1964 Feb 28th 2021 5:21 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Hi
i submitted my application to exchange my UK licence for a French one last October. Apart from a text to confirm receipt, I’ve heard nothing.
My husband swapped his licence about 2 years ago. From start to finish, it took 1 year and 3 months. I kid you not.

Known Aim Feb 28th 2021 5:52 pm

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Thanks, presumably, that was under the Nantes system that collapsed under the pressure?

Helen1964 Mar 1st 2021 2:10 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Yes, it was done through Nantes.
I’m not optimistic that my swap will be any faster. Not a problem for me personally but I have a friend who also applied in October and his UK licence expired in February. Since he has no way to renew it, he’s now unable to drive legally.

Known Aim Mar 1st 2021 9:00 am

Re: Driving licence exchange again.
 
Thanks, i see your application was at the beginning of October. We can only keep our collective fingers crossed.


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