Driving Licence

Mine is a fairly strange case.  I was born in England so I have a European passport.  But I grew up in Australia. So all of my papers are Australian.  This seems to cause a whole lot of confusion. Take, for example, the case of my driving licence.  I found some seriously conflicting information about how you convert an Aussie licence to a French one and realised that a trip to the prefecture was on the cards.

Once there, I hand my papers through the slot, thinking that this all seems a bit easy! Well, it wasn’t long before the bubble burst! I was politely informed that my papers couldn’t possibly be taken – I had filled in the form in blue pen, not black!  And I wasn’t even in the right place…  All things concerning driver’s licences are dealt with in St Paul.   I took another application, reminding myself to fill this one out with a black pen, and headed back to St Paul… only to be told that all things concerning driver’s licences are dealt with at the prefecture in St Denis!!  AAAhhhhh!

Back in St Denis and I’m determined to get this sorted out! I hand over my papers and, upon seeing my Australian licence, the lady asks me for my visa. This is where it gets interesting! I explain I don’t have a visa as I am English by birth and have a European passport. « Where is your British driver’s licence? » she asks.  I explain that I left the UK when I was 11, so I don’t have a British licence… « But, why not? » she asks… Uuummm, 11 year olds in the UK don’t get driver’s licences!!  She seems to think this is quite strange, but finally accepts it!

20 minutes later and she suddenly « realises » that this is all pointless and says that I don’t need to change my licence at all!! It’s fine for me to use my Australian one.  Unbelievable!! So all seems well.

That is until I was pulled over by the cops for a random check. The prefecture was right… I can use my Aussie licence… But only for 6 months!! So now I have to head back to St Denis to start the whole process from scratch!!


to grow up = grandir
to seem = sembler
conflicting = contradictoire
Aussie = Australien
a trip = un trajet

on the cards = inévitable
slot = la fente
to burst = éclater
politely = poliment
to fill in = remplir

to deal with = traiter
to sort out = résoudre
to hand over = donner
birth = naissance
strange = bizarre

pointless = inutile
to be pulled over = se faire arrêter
cops = les flics
to head back = retourner
from scratch = de zéro

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1 réflexion au sujet de “Driving Licence

  1. Oh man, I feel your pain!

    I’m Reunionese and been living in Brisbane, Australia for close to 10 years now, and of course, lost my French driver’s license a few years ago.

    When I went back home, I was told by the cops that since I was French I was required to have a French license. I told him he was wrong according to the French immigration website and I explained my situation.

    He said that as long as I have a translation of my license with me when on the wheel, as well as my travel documents I should be fine. So now every time I come back I get my NAATI translator to send me a certified translation and always travel with my passport, the translation and my flight tickets… and won’t bother getting my French one renewed because of the cumbersome process. In Australia it’s so easy compared to France. You go to the Transport office, give your license (not translated) and supporting docs, and in 14 days you get the license in your mailbox!

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