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On 19 January 2013, a single model of driving licences was implemented throughout the EU, with harmonised categories. Licences issued before this date remain valid until they expire, but must be replaced by 2033.
A driver with an EU-member state driver's licence who takes up residence in France is not required to exchange the licence for a French one.
Note: French licence regulations apply to the non-French EU licence regarding:
Note: An EU-issued licence has the characteristics of a person's EU country of residence.
For example: if a driver resident in France exchanges a licence issued in another EU country for a French one, and then relocates to another EU country, the licence remains valid but the regulations and restrictions (such as the period of validity) of the new country of residence now apply to the licence.
The regulations of the driving licence of a French resident apply to the licence holder when they are holidaying elsewhere. For example, French licence regulations will apply to a British citizen who is resident in France but holidaying in the UK.
An EU-member state driver's licence is valid in France provided the following conditions are respected:
An exchange becomes compulsory if the licence holder commits a driving offence in France - this is so that points can be deducted.
When the EU licence of a French resident expires, the licence holder must renew or replace it by applying to the French authorities. This is also the case if the licence is lost or stolen (a certificate from the issuing authority may be required).
Note: Obtaining a French licence through exchange can simplify matters in case of loss or theft and when obtaining motor insurance. After the French licence has been issued, the original will be kept by the French authorities and returned to the issuing authority.