Once you have exchanged (converted) a non-EU driving license (before 1993) to a French driving license, can anyone tell if it has been exchanged? Can you then exchange with another EU country's license without informing them of the original non EU license?

It is an older paper license and I can’t see any mention of the country of origin on it.

Thank you

1 Answer 1


Yes, normally they can tell that the license is exchanged because there is a mention at the back, on the bottom part, (at the very least, for the new, credit-card format licenses) with a code indicating the country that originally issued the license. It looks a bit like this on my exchaned French license (my own picture, I deleted out some details, but I left the part with the country code):

(B) 70.0123456789.XX (XX being the country code) My own license

Another example (Reverse of Portuguese driver’s licence showing the number of the previous non EU license):

Reverse of Portuguese driver’s licence showing the number of the previous non EU license

So I believe that either Column 12 or Row B on the back is the place on your license that mentions whether your license was exchanged and which country originally issued it.

Check out this post that shows an example of someone who tried this (US license -> German license -> French license): Ohio>Arizona>Germany>France driver's license conversion?




And my own EU driver's license that was exchanged from a non-EU country.

  • And the code will refer always to the original country (e.g. where you took the driving test), even if you exchange the license multiple times across countries
    – SztupY
    Jan 11, 2019 at 21:29
  • This appears to be Portugal-specific? On my 2017 UK license, exchanged from an NL license, row 12 in the same location as your picture only says "115", which means organ donor. However, column 12 in row B does have a code including "NL" (where I got my license).
    – gerrit
    Jan 13, 2019 at 14:35
  • @gerrit: it seems that the line (row 12) where it shows that it was an exchanged license does indeed differ. I looked closely and my French permit has it on Column 12 row B. Will correct my entry. Thanks.
    – ar5975
    Jan 14, 2019 at 14:43
  • 1
    Just to add backup, the reverse of my French license (exchanged from a Maryland license) is same as your first picture. In Column 9 it contains a bold (B) and in Columns 10 through 11 it has "70.<orig license number>.US" where the "70" indicates exchanged license, and then following that is indeed my original license number.
    – Iguananaut
    Jan 14, 2019 at 16:15
  • 1
    In my UK license, the note is in the row that has the regular B for my permission to drive a B car. It seems that the specifics are country-dependent but that the information should be there in either case.
    – gerrit
    Jan 14, 2019 at 17:15

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