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My parents were born in Hungary but they migrated to a non-EU country shortly before I was born. I lived in this country until recently and did there my driving license. I've moved to France and I want to have a license. Unfortunately I can't convert "directly" from the license of my former country to a french license.

I thought converting my license to Hungarian one and then driving with the Hungarian one in France. Does that seem legit? Do I just need to go to the embassy and ask for that?

  • I'd be surprised if you could secure a driver's license from Hungary if you are not a Hungarian resident. – David supports Monica Apr 29 '18 at 14:51
  • @David thanks. I have never lived there but I do have my Hungarian birth certificate, passport and most importantly my citizenship card in which it's written I'm living "abroad". Does it help? – Feffer Apr 29 '18 at 21:20
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    @ Feffer: The jurisdictions with which I'm familiar - US states, and the UK - all require drivers license applicants to demonstrate that they actually live in that state or country. That seems to be the general approach; I imagine Hungary follows the same path. – David supports Monica Apr 30 '18 at 2:34
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As a foreign student in France, you can use your foreign license for the duration of your studies, subject to certain conditions. An international driving permit is not necessary, but would fulfill the requirement to have the license translated into French.

Si vous êtes non-européen et détenez un titre de séjour étudiant, vous pouvez conduire avec votre permis étranger pendant toutes vos études en France.

Votre permis doit :

  • être en cours de validité,
  • avoir été délivré par le pays où vous aviez votre résidence normale avant d'entrer en France,
  • être rédigé en français ou être accompagné d'une traduction officielle en français.

Vous devez :

  • avoir obtenu votre permis avant la date de début de validité de votre carte de séjour étudiant ou, si vous possédez un visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour, avant la validation de ce visa par l'Ofii,
  • avoir l'âge minimal pour conduire en France les véhicules de la catégorie équivalente de votre permis,
  • si nécessaire, respecter les mentions d'ordre médical inscrites sur votre permis (par exemple, port de lunettes obligatoire),
  • si votre nationalité est différente du pays de délivrance du permis (par exemple, Marocain avec un permis algérien), avoir obtenu votre permis pendant une période au cours de laquelle votre résidence normale était dans ce pays,
  • ne pas faire l'objet dans votre pays (ou dans le pays de délivrance du permis s'il est différent) d'une suspension, restriction ou annulation de votre droit de conduire.

Translation:

If you are non-european and have a student residence title, you may drive with your foreign license during your entire period of study in France.

Your license must:

  • be valid,
  • have been issued by the country where you had your normal residence before entering France,
  • be written in French or be accompanied by an official translation into French.

You must:

  • have received your license before the start date of the validity of your student residence card or, if you have a VLS/TS, before the validation of that visa by the OFII,
  • be old enough to drive in France the vehicles of the license category equivalent to your license,
  • if necessary, respect the medical endorsements on your license (for example, wear corrective lenses),
  • if your nationality is different from the country that issued your license (for example, Moroccan with an Algerian license), have received your license during a period in which your normal residence was in that country,
  • not be subject in your country (or in the country issuing the license, if it is different) of a suspension, restriction, or cancellation of your right to drive.
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It does not seem legit because France has decided not to allow the conversion of your licence to theirs and your plan is designed to subvert that decision.

Have you considered just taking the French driving test?

  • I do have a citizen card (but not a residence card). Are you sure about this? I considered but my French is not amazing so it will take a lot of time until I can do it... – Feffer Apr 29 '18 at 18:23
  • I was really just giving an opinion. Sztupy's answer, if true, is actionable information. – user16259 Apr 30 '18 at 7:20
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Within the EU countries only accept other countries' driving license if the driving test was made in one of the EU countries. In case of exchanges the country where the test was taken will be added visibly to the license. So even if you could exchange your current one to a Hungarian one (which is only possible if it was done in a country which has an agreement for exchanges with Hungary), it will say which country the test was taken in, and the French authorities will not exchange it afterwards, as it is not from a country they allow it (unless of course they also allow licenses from that country).

You can use your license for one year with an IDP (international driver's permit) after which you need to take the exam in France.

Note that Hungary does potentially allow exchanges from all countries, but you would need to present either a residence card (lakcímkártya) or a residence permit. France has a quite long list of countries where they allow exchanges from, however they also explicitly state that exchanges are only valid if the originating country (e.g. where you took the test) is from the same list, even if the license was issued in another country, like Hungary, from an exchange.

Also note that as a student you might get away with going home every year and getting a new IDT, as sometimes you are also considered a resident in your home country, meaning your license is valid and you can get a fresh IDT. This might not be strictly legal, but definitely something that is hard to enforce, especially if you didn't have any driving infractions in the first year.

  • Köszönöm. if I'm also studying in France, can I drive with this for the whole period of my studies (like the non-EU people who just got a student-visa)? – Feffer Apr 30 '18 at 7:46
  • @Feffer for driving purposes you need an IDT, and that is only valid for one year. You should get a French driving license afterwards, but on the other hand if you're still considered as a resident in your old country you could also just get a new IDT if you're visiting home. – SztupY Apr 30 '18 at 9:31
  • I will be considered a student in France from October. Is it legal to get a new IDT every year? – Feffer Apr 30 '18 at 9:51
  • The IDP seems only to be useful for visitors, and even then it is not required if the license is in French or accompanied by an official translation into French. Furthermore, and more importantly, students with a student residence permit are not subject to the 1-year limit. See service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1459 for more information. – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 18:24
  • @Feffer for those moving to France for reasons other than study, the one-year limit is imposed by French law, not by the limited validity of an IDP, so for people in that situation, getting a new IDP does not help. But students are not restricted to one year; see my answer. – phoog Apr 30 '18 at 18:27

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