Updated on 20 November 2017 22:50
Getting a driver’s license is quite stressful and for sure you wouldn’t wish to go through all of those stuff again when you move here in France. Luckily, France’s reciprocal agreement with several Non-EU states including the Philippines allow the exchange of driver’s licenses to its permis de conduire.
So if you already have one from your state, bravo!!! You’re saved from 3/4 of the legwork. But don’t sleep on it. You must do it within one (1) year from the validation of your visa by OFII***. Otherwise you’d be saying hello to Mr. Inspector. To be clear, it is not the date of your visa. The countdown starts from the date indicated on the vignette or stamp from OFII. So here yeah…
· You have a period of one (1) year from the date that you obtained your normal residence in France to file your application at the Prefecture of Police of your domicile.*
· Your driver’s license must be valid and obtained before your entry in France.
· The state which issued your license must have a reciprocal agreement with France. Click here for the list.
· You must have the minimum age requirement to drive in France.
·Your right to drive is not subjected to suspension, restriction or cancellation by the issuing state.
· If your driver’s license indicates a condition which requires medical examination here in France, you must undergo medical control here.
*One year from: the validation of your first “titre de séjour” or your “visa long séjour valant titre de séjour”.
**If you are a holder of a student or a short stay visa for less than 185 days, you do not have to exchange your driver’s license. You can drive with your non-EU license.
***My visa was “vie privée et familiale”. For reference. =)
3. One copy of your residence permit or visa valid as residence.
4. A copy of your passport, the page indicating your civil status and the one with the OFII sticker would suffice.
5.Two (2) passport size ID pictures in white background. Say hello to Photomaton =). Do not attach them to the form.
6. Proof of residence not older than three (3) months from the date of application. Click here for the list of accepted documents.
7. Your valid driver’s license in good condition and two (2) back to back colored copies thereof.
8. A certificate from the state which issued your license attesting the scope and validity of your right to drive.
** It must indicate the year that you obtained your driver’s license. If your license is less than 3 years, you will get a probationary license.
** This can be obtained at the Central Office Licensing Section, East Avenue, Quezon City. Click here for more information.
9. The official translation in French of your driver’s license, certificate and the Red Ribbon. In Paris the translator must be accredited by the Cour d’Appel de Paris.
**I had mine translated by ISM Interprétariat located at 22-24 rue d’Aubervilliers, 75019, Paris. Each page cost me €40. So if you are still in Philippines, it would be better to have all of your documents translated at the Alliance Française in Manila or in Cebu. It is less costly there.
The requirements didn’t say that the documents must be authenticated by the issuing State. But I had my documents “Red Ribboned” by the Department of Foreign Affairs to make the verification process faster. In case of reasonable doubt about your license, the process can take more than six (6) months. And you don’t want that.
Take a Rendezvous at the Prefecture of Police
If you are residing in Paris, the bureau of “Permis de Conduire” is at 92 Boulevard Ney, 75018, Paris. It’s metro line 4, Porte de Clignancourt. Appointments can only be made online at the website of the Prefecture de Police.
This is the tricky part actually. When I checked the site last February 2017, I thought that it was down. It was fullybooked until March so we called the contact number indicated on their site but it wasn’t working. Not understanding what’s going on, I decided to make a visit at the Prefecture. I was then told that appointments can only be done on their website and was advised to check regularly the calendar of appointments. And we did everyday but it was always full. It was already May and still nothing happened.
I was about to storm back to the Prefecture when the staff of the agency where I had my license translated told us that some people check the site at dawn or so early in the morning. So we were very vigilant on checking the website. Then suddenly, one afternoon in May, a number of vacant slots appeared. Just remember that song “don’t give up on us baby nanana…..”.
I had my appointment on 04 July 2017. They will send you a text that your license is ready for pick up. And finally, I got my “Permis de Conduire”, first week of August. And we hope to live happily ever after.
***Thanks to Desebel Mesnager and Belinda Lombard for providing me initial information.