Ex-Pat Brits Forced To Take ‘Le Test’

Sun 4th Apr 2021

Thousands of British drivers living in France could face a £12,000 fine if they refuse to take a French driving test after Brexit has left them in driving licence limbo.

Under European law, British ex-pats living in the EU could use their UK driving licence, without having to take a test in the country they reside in. However, as the British Government has not agreed a working solution with their French counterparts, many drivers across the channel now face the prospect of having to take a French driving test, or pay a £12,000 fine if they are caught driving without a French driving licence.

The French driving tests include mandatory lessons and the prospect of taking a theory test in the French language, with the whole process putting livelihoods and jobs on the line.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, one ex-pat, Kim Cranstoun has said that thousands of Brits are considering the prospect of having to return to the UK.

"I’d say there are 3,000 who are seriously worried – for whom this has really become nightmarish," she said.

"Commuters risk losing their jobs, tradespeople can’t work, elderly people have missed medical appointments.

"Many British people in France live in quite remote, rural areas, with little or no public transport.

"Some are thinking of moving back to the UK. It’s quite desperate."

It’s thought that up to 100,000 had applied to swap their British drivers licence for a French one in 2018, and the French government agreed to recognise the British driving licence while the UK remained in the EU. But the British Foreign Office has said that this deal will end on 31st December 2021.

"People followed both governments’ instructions, and are now being punished through no fault of their own," Cranstoun added.

"This is having a massive impact, on working people and pensioners.

"Unless it’s sorted, we’ll have to take French tests."