The international permit
The French driving license allows you to drive in all European countries as well as in some countries outside Europe,temporarily. In other countries, it must be accompanied by an international permit. This permit is the official translation into several languages of your French permit. You must request it before your departure from France.
Also check with the embassy or consulate in France of the country or countries you plan to visit before your departure.
Good to know: some foreign countries do not recognize national and international permits (e.g. Vietnam). A driving licence must be obtained on site. In some countries, such as China, foreign nationals are prohibited from driving.
The steps to obtain an international permit
● Cost of international permit
The international permit is free in France.
● When to apply?
You must apply for your international driving permit before your departure.
Once abroad, you will no longer be able to request it at the French embassy or consulate (unless necessary if you are located outside France).
● Where to apply?
You must contact your department of residence:
– the prefecture,
– or to the sub-prefecture,
– or at the town hall.
First, ask your prefecture.
● How to do the process?
The procedure to be followed varies from one department to another. It is therefore preferable to inquire with your prefecture before moving because, in some departments, the procedure is carried out only by mail and, in other departments, it takes place on the contrary only at the counter.
● What documents should I present?
You must submit:
– 1 legible double-sided photocopy of your valid French driving licence,
– 2 recent and identical photos(see the applicable conditions on identity photographs)
– 1 legible double-sided photocopy of a valid proof of identity (identity document if you are French or European, residence permit if you are a non-European foreigner),
– the completed and signed application form for an international driving permit. You can obtain this form, specific to each prefecture, either by downloading it on the website of your prefecture, or at the counter of your prefecture (or at the counter of your sub-prefecture or your town hall according to the procedure followed in your department).
Please note: the following documents may also be claimed:
– 1 proof of address,
– 1 stamped envelope and labeled in your name and address if the procedure is done by correspondence or if the request is filed in the town hall. Postage by registered mail or with acknowledgment of receipt or an envelope "letter max 50 grams" issued by post may be required.
If the procedure takes place at the counter, bring, in addition to photocopies, the originals of your documents. You will be asked for them.
Issuance of the international permit
According to the procedure in force in your department, the international permit is mailed to your home or is given to you at the counter of the prefecture,the sub-prefecture or the town hall.The time frame for issuing an international permit varies. The delivery can be immediate or take a few days or weeks,depending on the prefecture concerned.
It is advisable to submit your application early enough before departure.
Validity of the international permit
The international driving permit is issued for 3 years.
It mentions the only categories of the French permit that were obtained after examination. Categories of permits that have been obtained by equivalence, such as permit A1 with permit B, are not carried forward.
The international permit is only valid abroad accompanied by your French driving license.
In France, it has no value. You can't drive with it. It does not replace your French driver's license, which you must keep.
Renewal of the international permit
The international driving permit is renewable.
For a renewal, you must produce the same documents as for a first application, accompanied by your expiring international driving permit.
For a renewal following the loss or theft of your licence, you must file the same documents as for a first application, attaching your declaration of loss or theft.
Additional information: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F11534.xhtml