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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9335
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a 'paper' British Driving License, but not one with a

Resolved Question:

I have a 'paper' British Driving License, but not one with a card with my photograph on it. Do I need to have a card one to drive on my holidays in France? The DVLA employee to whom I spoke didn't know and suggested that I contact you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Although the paper licence has been abolished in the UK, the action has been widely criticised because the photocard does not have details of convictions on it (which for example, many car hire companies require before anyone can hire a car for example in another country or even the UK).

Hence, you are actually better off with the paper version than the photocard version.

The government website is remarkably thin on facts.

it does point to this link which is also remarkably thin on facts.

you will be okay just with your paper licence if that’s all you have. One thing worth mentioning, about France in particular is that they are really hot on speeding and there has been lots of commentary about them victimising following motorists. The penalties for speeding are payable on the spot even to the extent where they will march you off to the cash machine to get the money out. The penalties are often 10 times or even greater than those in the UK and for really excess speed, it’s possible to have your vehicle impounded pending a court case even confiscated.

Don’t under any circumstances go speeding in France.

If you are still uncertain, then you could do worse than to ring the French embassy in London who will put your mind at rest.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


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