This question has recently arisen - someone may be able to point me to an appropriate official reference.

Can a British but French resident (in possession of a Carte de Sejour -WA) with a valid UK Driving Licence who spends family time in the UK with access to a UK Registered drive that car in France on visits from the UK and if so, are their limits on the amount of time permitted?

For clarity, the car is insured in the UK with him as a named driver and the UK insurer is aware of the requirement to travel to and from France in the car.

The question of exchange to a French permis does not currently apply as the UK DL is well in date and currently not in contention.

A reference to the current legal position would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is any connection between the registration of the car and the driving license. You have to consider two distinct questions.

Are you allowed to drive a UK-registered car in France? I haven't found any official source and there are some exceptions and corner cases but everything I read suggests that it is generally forbidden for French residents. That would be equally true for a US or a French citizen, or if you would hold a French driving license. The only thing that matters is your place of residence. The rule also applies to cars registered elsewhere in the EU (and not merely to cars from the UK/outside the EU), which was the context in which I researched this a few years ago.

Are you allowed to drive a car in France with your British driving license? As a French resident, a special agreement between France and the UK allows you to continue using your current license, provided it was issued before January 2021. When the time comes to renew it, you will need to obtain a French driving license.

  • Thanks for your post. The second part about licence is well reported and I covered that ooint in the question. Interestingly, there is a provision for a UK Regd car to remain in France on its UK Regn for a short set period of time until it becomes necessary to place it on the French register, including one presumes by the British (French CdS-WA holder) resident who imports it - but that is not the issue here either.
    – graham
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 17:12
  • Although a French resident, the UK passport holder will again return to the UK (as he allowed so to do under the terms of his CdS) and subsequently to France again in the UK car but it is the legality of that (and any time frame) driving the UK car in France which is being examined.
    – graham
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 17:12
  • 1
    Note that the fact “the UK DL is well in date” is not enough to make it acceptable to drive in France. Since we are talking about a resident (not a visitor), the license is only valid by virtue of a temporary exception for licenses obtained before January 1st 2021. The fact you neglected to acknowledge this while mentioning a bunch of irrelevant details lead me to believe that a clarification was in order.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 18:02
  • 1
    I personally saw someone getting caught on a different place - German citizen and resident driving the car of an Austrian friend living in Austria. Car was deemed to be imported to Germany at massive cost. It's a while ago and different countries, but enough for me to tell OP to be very careful.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 13:32
  • 1
    "don't think there is any connection between the registration of the car and the driving license": I believe there is such a connection in the UK, though, which would easily lead to people suspecting the existence of such a connection elsewhere.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 10:17

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