Exchanging my UK driving licence for a French one should be straightforward, shouldn’t it? That’s my hope, as this week that is precisely what I have applied to do.
At first glance, the process seems easy enough.
There are two forms to fill in – one to request an exchange and another to have the new licence in the European format. OK, that’s one more form than I might have expected, but it’s manageable.
You need to provide proof of your current licence (a photocopy will suffice) and proof of identity (a photocopy of your passport). You also have to include proof of address (a copy of a bill) and proof of residence in France (in my case, a copy of our apartment rental agreement).
Several photographs are also needed – and this is where I came unstuck.
I wouldn’t want you to think me vain. However, if I am going to have to live with this photo for the next 15 years, I would prefer not to hate it.
“You’re not supposed to smile in the photos. I swear if I had donned a blond wig, I could have passed for Myra Hindley”
I had a first set done. But I haven’t seen the sun in a while and I was wearing a pale shirt, so it was hard to spot the difference between me and the white background.
Plus, you’re not supposed to smile in the photos. The results aren’t always flattering – I swear if I had donned a blond wig, I could have passed for Myra Hindley.
So I went back to the photo booth the next day. This time, I wore a bright blue shirt that I know suits my skin tones.
I had also mixed a little bronzer in with my regular moisturiser. In the mirror, the result looked quite natural. In the photos, I look like something out of TOWIE.
But hey, whatever. I need a driving licence more than I need random officials to tell me I look good, so this set of photos will have to do.
I sent the photos and paperwork all off with a pre-paid return envelope. Now the waiting begins.
I could have applied in the UK for an international driving permit, but the Brits want to post that to a UK address. Hence I’ve applied for a French licence instead.
This opportunity to interact with French bureaucracy must be another ‘Brexit bonus’ that parts of the British press keep referring to. Me, I’m not convinced.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed.