New Zealand Embassy Paris, France
As a visitor, you can drive for up to one year in France on your current, valid New Zealand driver licence. It must be a full driver licence with no restrictions, and should be accompanied by an official translation in French or an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP is not a driver licence; it is a translation of your licence and is only valid accompanied by the original, current driver licence.
For an extended stay in France, you will need to obtain a French driver licence. Since 23 June 2009, a reciprocal licence swap arrangement has been in place, allowing New Zealanders who have been resident in France for less than one year to exchange their New Zealand licence for a French one, without having to pass the local driving test. Applications need to be made within the first year of stay, directly to the driver licence section of your nearest Préfecture de Police or Mairie. If you are asked to provide an attestation of proof of residence in New Zealand, please contact Immigration New Zealand for a "movements record". (The Embassy cannot provide any attestation as it has no access to such records).
Note the exchange may not apply if you are a dual national and in France using 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 instead.
Note that 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, or at your local Préfecture de Police or Mairie.
Lost or stolen New Zealand photo driver's license
If you lose your New Zealand photo driver licence overseas, you can either apply for a replacement licence or have the details of your driver licence record (Certificate of Particulars) sent to you.
Applying for a replacement licence from overseas
New Zealand licence holders currently outside New Zealand (and therefore unable to visit a driver licensing agent) and who need to replace their personal driver licence can do so by completing the NZ Transport Agency form DL2A. Queries and applications should be addressed directly to the NZ Transport Agency.
Applying for a Certificate of Particulars
If you need to prove you are a licensed driver you can request a Certificate of Particulars from the NZ Transport Agency. This can be emailed, faxed 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.