Take the driving license test as a free candidate
What is it?
The B licence allows you to drive a car or van legally in France. The test consists of two parts: a theory test (the "Code de la route") and a practical driving test.
You can take the Code exam as an "independent candidate" (without going to a driving school), especially if you don't want to pay the training fees of a driving school. You will then have to train by yourself.
>> See the Réfugiés.info file: "Take the driving license with a driving school"
Good to know: If you have already obtained a driving license in your country of origin or in another country, it is possible to request its exchange for a French licence, without having to retake the exam. However, this does not apply to all foreign countries. Find all the conditions in this sheet on the exchange of driving licenses.
To obtain the driving license of the B category and be able to drive alone, you must be 18 years of age or older. However, the request for the permit can be made from the age of 16 (or 15 for early learning to drive).
The driving license of the B category allows you to drive a vehicle whose weight does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and which has a maximum of 9 seats. This permit may also authorize the driving of 2 or 3-wheel vehicles (motorcycle, scooter) in certain cases.
This sheet will explain how to register and prepare for the exam (code + conduct) on your own, as an independent candidate.
Who is it for?
What to do?
Check some conditions and request your NEPH number online
To prepare and register for the exam, you must (in addition to the age requirements):
- hold the ASSR 2 or the ASR if this is the first permit you have taken and you were born after 1988;
- have a "fit to drive" medical certificate if you have a disability or disabling illness;
- be a citizen of the European Economic Area with personal and/or professional ties for at least 6 months in France OR, if you are not European, you must have lived in France for at least 6 months and have a valid residence permit .
Good to know: The ASR (road safety certificate) is a free, short and fairly simple exam consisting of 20 questions certifying your general knowledge of road safety. Young people enrolled in the 9th grade must pass this test, then called Level 2 Road Safety School Certificate.
If you meet these conditions, you will need a permit file number: the harmonized prefectoral registration number (NEPH). The request is made online on the ANTS website.
>> Click on this link to find the procedure to follow.
Register for the theory test (highway code)
You can pass the code:
- from the age of 15 as part of early learning to drive,
- from 16 years old for the classic formula.
To pass the Code as a free candidate, you have two options:
>> Take the exam in a Departmental Directorate in charge of the territories (DDT or DDTM) for non-French speakers
If you do not speak French well, you can participate in specific sessions for the passage of the Code. You can call on an interpreter in your mother tongue to translate on the day of the exam. This service is your responsibility. The translator must be "sworn" (see this Refugees.info sheet). For this, contact the DDT of your department.
>> Take the exam at a public exam center.
If you do not need a translator, you can register at an approved centre. You can take the exam in any city by choosing your operator among the 5 approved ones, by registering directly via their websites:
- (1) La Poste → https://www.lecode.laposte.fr/passermonexamenducodeaveclaposte
- (2) SGS Company → https://www.objectivecode.sgs.com
- (3) Dekra → https://www.le-code-dekra.fr
- (4) Pearsons VUE → https://pointcode.fr
- (5) Bureau Veritas → https://codengo.bureauveritas.fr/portal
Good to know: Registration costs €30. If you fail the code, you must repay this amount. Payment is made online on the site of the approved centre.
The examination center you have chosen confirms your registration and sends you an invitation.
Before starting the test, you must present your convocation and a valid identity document (or expired for less than 2 years).
Training and passing the highway code (theory test)
Passing the Highway Code exam is mandatory to take the practical driving test. You must answer 40 multiple-choice questions concerning eleven major themes (examples: parking rules, signage, visibility, etc.). You must get at least 35 correct answers to pass the exam.
- You can buy access to code training at an online driving school and train for the series.
- You can also test your knowledge on the road safety site by trying to answer 24 questions.
- The Mon auto-école à la maison YouTube channel also offers thematic episodes to study the code.
When you feel ready, you can request an exam slot with or without an interpreter.
Train to drive with a driving school or with the driving school + an accompanying person
You can take hours of driving at a driving school if you wish.
You can also prepare for the exam with a trusted person as an independent candidate. It's the same as accompanied driving, but you have no minimum distance or duration to respect. There are several things to observe:
- You cannot drive alone,
- Your accompanying person must have had a B licence for at least 5 years,
- He or she must have an accompanying person's certificate, which can be obtained after 4 hours of training in a driving school,
- The vehicle must be insured,
- At the back of the car, you must place a disc representing the letter "A" (=Learner), so that other drivers can know that you are learning,
- On board the vehicle, you must have your learner's permit and your driving licence registration certificate (to be presented in the event of a control).
Good to know: Remember, you must take the practical test within 5 years of obtaining the code.
For the passage of the license, you will have to choose between a manual transmission and an automatic transmission.
Good to know: For driving cars with automatic gearboxes, the duration of the training is at least 13 hours. With this license, you will not be able to drive cars with a “manual” gearbox.
Register and take the practical exam
Once you have passed the code, and when you feel ready, you can take the practical test.
- If you live in one of these departments: Ain, Allier, Alpes-Maritimes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Ardèche, Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Bouche-du-Rhône, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Drôme, Gard , Gers, Gironde, Hautes-Alpes, Haute-Garonne, Haute-loire, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Savoie, Haute-Vienne, Hérault, Isère, Landes, Loire, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Lozère, Puy-de -Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Rhône, Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse,*
>> You can go to the RdvPermis Road Safety platform and reserve your practical test slot yourself, by creating an account if you do not have a driving school.
- In other departments, you must request a date to take the practical exam by contacting the service concerned locally:
- Either the Prefecture
- Either a Departmental Directorate in charge of the territories (DDT or DDTM)
On the day of the exam, you must provide a vehicle equipped with dual controls that complies with the regulations in force. If you don't have one, you can also rent one for the exam.
The exam lasts approximately 30 minutes, with a driving phase of at least 25 minutes. You will also have to perform a few maneuvers (parking, etc.) and answer a few questions.
You will be assessed by an independent examiner who will ride with you in the car and score you out of 31 points. To pass the exam, you must obtain 20 points or more and not make any eliminating error (examples: crossing a continuous line, drive on the left, not respecting a stop sign, etc.).
Good to know: Unlike the highway code, it is not possible to take the test with an interpreter and there are no special arrangements for non-French speakers. You will therefore need to know the precise vocabulary of the highway code in order to understand the examiner as well as possible.
However, you can be accompanied by a relative who has held a driving license for at least 5 years. This is only possible in the departments (*) covered by the Rdvpermis site. Your accompanying person must complete and bring this special accompanying person's certificate on the day of the exam
Find out the result of your licence online
You can see the results online on the Road Safety website 48 hours after the exam.
- If the result is "insufficient" (below 20 points and/or with an eliminatory fault), you will have to retake the exam and choose a new date.
- If the result is "favourable" (20 points minimum and no eliminatory fault), you have succeeded, congratulations! You can then download your driver's license examination certificate (CEPC).
Good to know: Accompanied by an identity document, this certificate allows you to drive for 4 months from the day of the exam.
Request the production of a driving licence
If you have succeeded, you can go to the ANTS website to request the production of your driving license. You can track the production and dispatch of your permit online.