Drive in France with a UAE License and Conversion Process

can i drive in france with uae license

If you are looking for the answer to the question, Can I drive in France with a UAE license, you’re in the right place. Yes, you are allowed to drive in France with a valid UAE driving license.

However, there are certain rules and regulations that you need to be aware of. We will provide a complete guide on everything you need to know about driving in France with a UAE license, from the basic road rules to exchanging your UAE license for a French one.

Whether you’re a tourist or a long-term resident, this guide will help you navigate the French roads legally and safely.

Driving in France with a Foreign License

Driving in France with a foreign license, such as one issued in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is permissible under certain conditions. The rules vary depending on the length of your stay in France and the origin of your license.

Short-term Visitors

If you’re visiting France briefly, like a holiday, you can drive using your UAE license. However, your license must be valid and either written in French or accompanied by an official French translation or an international driving permit.

You can apply for an international driving permit in UAE. IPD allows you to legally drive in France with a UAE license without any additional procedures.

Long-term Residents

The rules are slightly different for those planning to reside in France for extended periods. You can use your UAE license for up to one year, but specific conditions must be met.

After this one year, you must exchange your UAE license for a French one. This process involves certain steps and requirements, which we will discuss in detail later in this article.

Exchange of Non-European Economic Area (EEA) Driving Licenses

If you plan to settle in France and drive with a license issued outside the European Economic Area (EEA), such as a UAE license, you need to follow specific rules and procedures.

Who Needs to Exchange Their License?

If you’re establishing residency in France, you must exchange your non-European license for a French one. This is because a permit issued by a non-European country is only valid for one year from the time you establish your regular residence in France.

After this period, you must exchange it for a French license to continue driving legally.

Which Foreign Licenses Can Be Exchanged?

It should have been issued by the country where you had your regular residence before moving to France, and it must be valid and written in French or accompanied by an official translation.

If these conditions are not met, you will need to take the driving license examination in France.

Exchanging Your Foreign License

A UAE driving license can be exchanged with a French license. Your UAE license must meet certain conditions to be eligible for exchange.

To exchange your UAE license for a French one, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be of the minimum age to drive in France.
  • You must have your regular residence in France.
  • You must have a valid residence permit if you’re not European or French.
  • You should have passed the license exam when you had your regular residence in the country where the license was issued.
  • You must not have been sanctioned by a suspension, withdrawal, or cancellation of your right to drive in the country of issue of the license.

Application Process for License Exchange

If you’re planning to drive in France with a UAE license for an extended period, you’ll need to go through the process of exchanging your UAE license for a French one. This process involves several steps and requires specific documents.

How to Apply

The application for a license exchange is made online on the website of the ANTS (National Securities Agency). This digital approach simplifies the process and allows you to apply from the comfort of your home.

Required Documents

You’ll need to provide several documents to apply for a license exchange. These include:

  • A two-sided color image of the original driving license
  • An official translation of the driver’s license if it is not written in French
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of domicile less than 6 months old
  • Proof of regularity of residence in France (residence permit or Ofii sticker on your passport)
  • Photo code and digital signature
  • Certificate of driving rights of less than 6 months on the date of the application
  • Translation of the certificate of driving rights, if not written in French, by an authorized translator in France
  • If you are not a national of the country of issue of the permit, proof of normal residence in the foreign country at the time of issue of the foreign permit

Cost of License Exchange

The good news is that the process of exchanging your UAE license for a French one is free of charge. This makes it easier for you to comply with the regulations without incurring additional costs.

driving in France with a uae driving license

Driving While Waiting for License Exchange

While your application is being processed, you can drive using your UAE license. This ensures you can continue driving while waiting for your French license.

Once your original foreign driving license is verified for its authenticity, you can download a Secure Deposit Certificate (ADS) from the ANTS website. This certificate allows you to drive while waiting to receive your French license.

Tracking the Status of the Application

You can track the progress of your application online. This service is accessible via FranceConnect or with your ANTS credentials. Once connected to your ANTS account, you can view your request in the dashboard.

Validity of the Issued License

Once you’ve successfully exchanged your UAE license for a French one, it’s essential to understand the validity of your new license. 

The date of issue indicated on the permit is the date of issue of the French permit. From that date, your French license is valid for 15 years.

This long validity period means you can drive in France for an extended period without worrying about renewing your license.

However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule:

  • Medical Concerns: If there are medical conditions that require restriction, the validity of the license may be different. This is determined case-by-case, depending on the specific medical condition.
  • Heavy Vehicle Categories: For heavy vehicle categories, the validity of the license is linked to the driver’s age. For example, a driver under 55 would have a validity of 5 years for these categories.

In conclusion, understanding the validity of your French license is crucial when planning to drive in France with a UAE license. By keeping track of the validity period and any conditions that might affect it, you can ensure that you’re always driving legally and safely in France.

Understanding Road Rules in France

When planning to drive in France with a UAE license, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the local road rules. This section will cover the speed limits, mobile phone usage, and alcohol and drug consumption laws in France.

Speed Limits in France

France has specific speed limits that all drivers must adhere to regardless of their license origin. These limits are designed to ensure the safety of all road users. They are as follows:

  • 50km/h in urban areas
  • 80km/h outside urban areas on two-way roads with no central reservation (some sections of some roads may be limited to 90km/h)
  • 110km/h on double carriageways with a central reservation (100km/h in wet weather)
  • 130km/h on motorways (110km/h in wet weather)

Failure to respect these speed limits can result in tickets and offense notices.

Use of Mobile Phones While Driving in France

In France, driving while holding a telephone or wearing audio devices such as headphones and earpieces is illegal. Violation of this law can result in:

  • A flat-rate fine of €135
  • A 3-point endorsement of their driving license

Furthermore, using a mobile phone held in the driver’s hand in combination with another driving offense can immediately suspend your driving license.

Alcohol and Drug Consumption Laws in France

France has strict laws regarding alcohol and drug consumption for drivers. The authorized amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.5g/liter. This limit is reduced to 0.2g/liter for public transport drivers, bearers of probationary licenses, and learner drivers.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can immediately suspend your driving license. It’s also illegal to drive or accompany a learner driver after using substances or plants classed as drugs, regardless of the quantity absorbed.

As a seasoned driver in the United Arab Emirates, I, Waheed Akhtar, share my experiences and knowledge to help others navigate the roads of this beautiful country safely and confidently.


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