New Zealand Embassy Paris, France
Driving in 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 directly to the driver licence section of your nearest Préfecture de Police or Mairie. Take a copy with you of the official bulletin (see 1. below) in case your local authority is not yet aware of New Zealand’s addition to the list of countries with which France has a driver licence exchange agreement.
For New Zealanders who have been in France longer than one year, the practical and theoretical licence tests must be sat and passed.
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 for 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.
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