Driving in France

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As a visitor, you can drive for up to one year in France on a current, valid New Zealand driver licence under the following conditions:

You must have a full driver licence with no restrictions and it should be accompanied by an International Driving Permit (IDP) (external link) or an official translation in French. An IDP is not a driver licence; it is a translation of your licence to be carried with your original, valid driver licence.

Conditions for licence swap

For an extended stay in France, you must obtain a French driver licence. A reciprocal licence swap arrangement allows New Zealanders who have been in France for less than one year to exchange their New Zealand licence for a French one, without having to pass the local driving exam and test. Applications must be made within the first year of stay, directly to the driver licence section of the nearest Préfecture de Police or Mairie.

To prove that your New Zealand licence is valid and that you have no convictions or restrictions on that licence, you may be asked to provide a letter from the Embassy/Consulate. To fulfil this requirement, you should obtain a Certificate of Particulars  from the New Zealand Transport Agency. (The Embassy cannot provide any attestation as it has no access to licence records).

If you are asked to provide an attestation of proof of residence in/departure from New Zealand, please contact Immigration New Zealand (external link). (The Embassy cannot provide any attestation as it has no access to such records).

Note the licence exchange may not be possible if you are a dual national and are in France on a non-New Zealand passport. Ask your local Préfecture or Mairie for advice.

For New Zealanders who have been in France longer than one year, an exchange of licence is not possible and the practical and theoretical licence tests must be sat and passed.

Car insurance is obligatory in France. Insurance companies may refuse claims if your driving status is invalid (e.g.) if you have not obtained a French licence but have been in France longer than one year.

Full information on driver licence requirements (in French) is available on the French Public Service website (external link) or from your local Préfecture de Police or Mairie.

Applying for a replacement NZ licence from overseas

New Zealand licence holders currently outside New Zealand and who need to replace their driver's licence (lost/stolen) can do so by completing the New Zealand Transport Agency form DL2A (external link). Queries and applications should be addressed directly to the New Zealand Transport Agency (external link).

Applying for a Certificate of Particulars

To prove you are a licensed driver, you can request a Certificate of Particulars (external link) from the New Zealand Transport Agency. This can be emailed or posted to you. The Certificate of Particulars outlines what classes of driver licence you hold, the issue date of the licence and whether it is current. There is a fee payable for this certificate.