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How long to wait for a French driving licence?


nectarine

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Thanks to all who contributed to the 'Idiot's Guide' thread earlier. I have all the necessary documents and rang my prefecture (Agen) to check all in order ... how long before I would get a licence? "Could be six months" explained the chap, "as we have to contact the DVLA and get them to confirm that you are entitled to drive in the categories on your licence". Six months? Then he said that normally it took two, three months but six months was not unknown as the delay was on the DVLA side.

A bit of a problem since our licences expire early next year (hubby's since he's over 70, and my photocard although licence is good for another 15 years or so). So they have to be changed, but we have a holiday booked and may be renting a car during that time).

My question is: how long did forum members wait to get receipt of a new French licence (not a temporary certificate)? Did anybody pre-empt this and ask the DVLA for a letter of authority which they took to the prefecture and which was accepted? Or is there a way to speed up the DVLA's response?

All advice appreciated. Wish I'd done this earlier but stuck my head in the sand about this and put it on the back burner ... now slightly panicking !

Thanks all !

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Five and a half months and still waiting. Not a happy bunny!!!

I have been wondering if the delay had been caused by the six month delay in issuing the new type licences; in other words, they decided not to issue any old style new ones but did not tell anyone.

To the best of my meagre knowledge, they do not have to contact Swansea.
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We changed our licences over some 5 years ago and so things must have changed in the system. We went into Marmande sous prefecture. filled in the forms, pictures etc, showed them our UK licences, which they took from us and bingo 2 or 3 days later licences in the post. I imagine it is because of the new style driving licences!
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Did mine last Christmas after AnOther (Ernie) said on the Forum that the new style licences were coming in.

It came back in about a fortnight AND it was free!

OH changed his 4 or 5 years ago (different département) and that was about 3 months and he had to pay 25€.

Can't answer your actual questions or concern, Nectarine, but you did ask for others' experience?

No one said anything about contacting DVLA; after all every bit of information they can possibly need is on your UK-issued licence, is that not so?

Edit:  forgot to say that I didn't bother going to the prefecture; just sent everything by post and sent them a self-addressed envelope. 

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It goes sound as if the system had changed completely since we changed ours a few years ago. I took the documents in when they opened at 1.30pm, returned at 4pm and collected the new licences.

As well as the new type of licence it could be like the changes to the system for cartes grise - they send your documents off elsewhere to be processed. Whereas in the past they produced the new one in the same office.

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Kong, were these exchange licences? And did you have a DVLA verification letter, or did they accept the info on your old ones. Apparently the licences are going to be centrally produced from next week instead of being printed at the prefecture (rats, I've missed the boat on this one, shouldn't have delayed) so any more information would be useful.

Cheers all.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello nectarine

I was going to update my 'idiot's guide' thread to announce the arrival of my new driving licence, when I came across this one, so I decided to answer on this thread instead.

In answer to your question my new licence arrived last week which took just short of 11 weeks to appear, obviously the August shutdown was included in the 11 weeks, so maybe things will speed up a little now. Unfortunately there is a 'but' with my new licence, I have been issued with the paper thin licence not a new EU plastic card licence, and must reapply for a plastic card licence before the end of 2014.[+o(]. Fantastic, why they could not have kept my licence application back until next week and issue me with a plastic one I do not know.

Hopefully your new licence will  be the plastic card version, so maybe having to wait a little longer will be to your advantage.

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As a matter of procedure exchange licence applications now seem to require a letter of entitlement from DVLA  and the applicant normally expected to provide it, I don't think prefectures will be wanting to do that and of course it would be very likely to introduce extreme delays if they did.

The directive which is the driving force (no pun intended) behind the EU wide introduction of photcard licences requires issuing authorities to satisfy themselves that an applicant is entitled to hold the licence being surrendered for exchange and in practice the DVLA letter of entitlement is the only document which can conclusively fulfil that.

Possession of a UK licence (lets stick to UK here) does not necessarily mean that the person is actually entitled to hold it, he/she may have been disqualified in UK but failed to surrender their licence as required for instance plus there are places on the internet where you can buy a moody licence.

As an aside I think we will all have heard tales of, and possibly know, people who have fraudulently obtained a duplicate UK licence for the specific purpose of exchanging one or the other for a French one in the mistaken belief that they will end up with two licences. The fatal flaw with that plan though is that according to the rules firstly it's not permitted to concurrently hold two different EU licences and secondly the most recently issued licence immediately cancels and nullifies any and all others held so it can't work anyway.

Also the procedure for exchanges requires the new issuing authority to notify the old authority (DVLA) of the fact of the exchange and if a supposedly lost or destroyed licence had been surrendered for that purpose I think it unlikely that the DVLA would not inform the French of the matter possibly landing the cheater is some serious sh1t !

I personally know one person who has a French licence but because of his age and not taking the required medicals is limited to Group B and a maximum weight of 3500kg. he has however got a big 4x4 behind which he likes to sometimes tow a car trailer or large caravan and in that circumstance will, if required at a control for instance,  present an old style ratty UK paper licence which is no longer worth the paper it's printed on.

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