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Driving licence exchange again.

Driving licence exchange again.

Old Aug 19th 2020, 1:12 pm
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Default 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?
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by Alianco View Post
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!
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 2:01 pm
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Default 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.
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 2:18 pm
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Default 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!
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 3:26 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by Helen1964 View Post
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.
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by Alianco View Post
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!
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Old Aug 19th 2020, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
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!
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Old Aug 20th 2020, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe View Post
Cette sacré DMU!
Sorry to split hairs/play at Grammar Police, but it should read "sacrée"...
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Old Aug 20th 2020, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by dmu View Post
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'.......

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Aug 20th 2020 at 8:34 am.
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Old Aug 21st 2020, 10:08 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe View Post
. Never did master the difference between French 'men' & 'women'.......
And that never led you to a trickly if not embarrassing situation ?
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Old Aug 21st 2020, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

@ TP I posted a video in "Bad Jokes" to help you understand.

Last edited by cyrian; Aug 21st 2020 at 1:42 pm.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 5:07 am
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Default 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?
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 8:33 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by cator View Post
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.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 10:19 am
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Default 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.
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Old Sep 19th 2020, 10:59 am
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Default Re: Driving licence exchange again.

Originally Posted by cator View Post
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.
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