Driving License

Validity of national or international license issued in India

  • For Indian nationals, Indian driving license, whether accompanied by international driving license or not, is valid for one year after time of entry into France.
  • Beyond this period you are required to acquire French driving license.
  • In general, a driving license issued outside of France (Non-French driver’s license) is valid for one year after the date of official entry into France.
  • For people who will be residing in France for less than one year, your home country or international driving license is sufficient, under the following conditions:
    • Must have been issued by the home country.
    • Must be valid in the home country.
    • Must have been obtained prior to the application for a Carte de Séjour.
    • Must be written in French or accompanied by an official French translation (an International License).
    • The holder of the license must be 18 years of age, the legal French driving age.

How to get French driving license?

  • Permis de conduire francaise (French driving license) and cartes grises (registration certificate) for your car can be obtained at the Préfecture.
  • For those who wish to get a French license must take "code de la route" test ( (written test) and a "test de conduite" (driving test)
  • Auto école (driving schools) are located throughout Toulouse and its suburbs; they provide the opportunity
    • To take practice tests ( in French)
    • In preparation for the final written examination.
  • It is possible, though more difficult, to apply for a French license without being enrolled in a driving school, as a candidat libre.
    • In this case, an examination file must be sent to the Préfecture.
      • The application should be accompanied by, photos d’identité (identity photographs) and a timbre fiscal (tax stamp).
    • You are required to provide a dual-driver car on the day of the exam.
    • You may have a translator accompany you on both test dates, however prior notice of such an arrangement must be given to the Préfecture.
  • If you have a Indian driving license and your carte-de-sejour mentions the word "etudiant", your license is valid for the entire duration of your studies. That could be 2-3 etc years.
  • If you also have an international driving license issued in India, then you can start driving as soon as possible. Just get a certified translation and voila, you can hit the road !!
Please note:
Please be advised that, in case of a serious accident for which you are found at fault (especially one involving injuries),  can render your driving license invalid.

Buying a car from an individual

  • If buying a car in a private sale by a particulier (individual), the seller must provide a certificat de vente (bill of sale) and a certificat de non-gage (title clearance) that had been issued to the seller by their Préfecture.
    • The certificat de non-gage is only necessary if the buyer lives in a different Préfecture district (different Département) than the seller.
  • The seller must also cross out their name as owner and mark “VENDU” (sold) on the back of their carte grise.
  • The buyer must present the seller’s carte grise, certificat de vente, and certificat de non-gage to their Préfecture within two weeks of the purchase in order to have the title placed in their name.
  • Certificates can be obtained from local Mairie.
  • When purchasing a used car, the buyer must be given a certificat de contrôle technique, a diagnostic test that determines its mechanical condition.

Documents required to register a vehicle

Following documents needed to register a vehicle purchased from an individual

  • Certificat de vente (bill of sale)                    
  • Certificat de contrôle technique
  • Certificat de non-gage    (title clearance)       
  • Proof of residence
  • Seller’s carte grise                                      
  • Carte de séjour (copy)
  • Application for carte grise    

MUST HAVE documents while driving

Following three items must be in your possession while driving.

  • A valid permis de conduire (Driving license).
  • Carte grise (car registration paper).
  • Vignette assurance (proof of insurance sticker), provided by the insurance company, must be displayed inside the car windshield.
    • Auto insurance is mandatory.

However, due to the difficulty that would be encountered in the event that your car is stolen, it is recommended that you DO NOT keep  original driving license and registration papers in your car but their photocopies

The insurance policy should cover unlimited civil liability, defense, appeals, theft, fire, and collision. Depending upon the liability, a 1 to 3-months advance notice is required to cancel or transfer a policy.  (For more information inquire at the insurance company of your choice. The vignette assurance is also known internationally as a “green card”. This means that your insurance is valid in most European countries. See your policy for restricted countries.)

It is also recommended that the following items be kept in the car at all times:
  • A constat amiable d’accident (accident report form), available from the auto insurance company, along with a pen for filling out the form
  • A disposable camera with flash, for documenting any damage.
  • A distress signal - triangular reflector.