3D rendition of the flag of France on silky fabric.

Thousands of British citizens in France have been left without a valid driving licence, or losing theirs within months, because of bureaucratic overload and the failure of the two countries’ governments to sign a post-Brexit reciprocal agreement.

British photocard licences must be renewed every 10 years, while drivers turning 70 must also renew their driving licences. People with “notifiable” conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy, must renew their licences more often, every one to five years.

The French government announced late last year that, as a consequence of Brexit, British residents of France would need to exchange their UK licences for French ones, and would have until 31 December 2021 to apply to do so.

Short-term visitors and tourists in France can continue to use British licences.

However, those applying to exchange their licences since January have had their requests systematically rejected by a new French online system, known as ANTS, on the grounds that no reciprocal licence agreement is yet in place between the UK and France.

Driving in France without a valid licence can result in a fine of up to €15,000 (£12,808), while taking the French driving test instead of swapping licences involves a daunting French-language theory exam and can cost up to €1,800.

Government sources suggest a UK-France reciprocity agreement is “close to being sealed”, but not there yet.

The problem has been compounded by administrative overloads at the centres in Nantes and Paris that processed earlier paper exchanges, but became swamped by more than 100,000 applications during 2018 as a possible no-deal Brexit loomed.

That prompted France to drastically limit applications by decreeing, in April 2019, that UK driving licences were valid for as long as Britain was an EU member, and requesting holders not to try to exchange their licences unless they were expiring or lost.

By Laura Mmosi

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Radio
WP Radio