Have you decided to rent a car when you travel abroad? You are probably wondering whether you can drive with your French driving licence. This information may answer your questions.
Driving in Europe with your driving licence
The French driving licence allows you to drive without difficulty in one of the countries belonging to the European Economic Area or EEA in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. However, you will only be able to use it if it is valid. A driver’s licence examination certificate, even with proof of theft or loss of licence, is not sufficient to enable you to drive safely in these countries. The French licence is valid for 10 to 15 years if you intend to reside in one of the EEA countries.
Driving in a country outside the EEA and Europe
If your French licence has an official translation, you can use it temporarily to drive in a foreign country. However, you will still need to bring an international licence to avoid disputes with the authorities. Indeed, in some countries such as Australia and India, the French licence is not valid. It is a translated version of your driver’s license, allowing authorities around the world to better understand your driving profile. Without the international license, you will not be able to rent a car, even with a driver abroad. Take the time to check with the car rental agency to find out what requirements you need in terms of your driving licence to be able to rent a car without any problems. For destinations such as China or Japan, in addition to the international driving license, you must have a driving license that will be issued by the local authorities.
How do I get an International Driving Permit?
You must apply at the prefecture or sub-prefecture of your region. The town hall is also authorised to receive applications. Find out more as procedures may vary from one department to another. In Paris, for example, all procedures are carried out by post. In other departments, you must do so only at the counter. To apply for an International Driving Permit, you must enclose the cerfa form nº 14881*01 duly completed and signed with a colour photocopy of your current driving licence, two passport photos, a photocopy of your identity card or your residence permit or visa. No fee will be asked and you will receive your international driving license by mail. You can use it to drive in a foreign country regardless of your destination country.