FACT FILE: Buying and selling cars in France
also: Driving in France and Corsica
down this page: Registering
a "Foreign" Car in France |
ownership of a French registerd car
a French registered car to be driven legally on the road, it will need a
carte grise, insurance and a vaild contrôle
Carte Grise - Certificat d'immatriculation- When
you own a French (registered) car you are obliged to arrange for a new
carte grise that registers the vehicle in your
name at your address at the préfecture. This procedure must be completed within
15 days of the sale. The price of the carte grise
depends on the size of the engine.
of a new car -The
dealer from whom you bought the car from, should arrange the issue of a new carte
of a second hand / used car - (Voiture d'occasion) If
you purchase a used car from a dealer, they should issue you with a carte grise.
If you purchased it privately then the following procedure applies: You must go
to the préfecture or sous-préfecture with the following documents.
carte grise that came with the car (don't purchase one without this- it could
be a stolen vehicle!)
de vente - sales certificate that was given to you by the seller.
of your passport.
of address of residency - electricty - phone bill etc
de situation - available from the préfecture, this ensures that the car has no
outstanding legal payments with it.
Technique - A
car over three years old must have a
contrôle technique.This is to check that the card is road worthy. It must be completed
every two years at an authorised garage. Check that your garage can carry out
(the second visit after essential repairs have been carried out) is free. When
your car passes the contrôle technique you are given a macaron
- a sticker that is displayed on your windscreen. If
you are planning to sell your car you must have a contrôle technique
completed within 6 months of the sale.
to French registration plates from 2009 - Black on White registration plates on
French cars from 2009.
the 15th April 2009 the département number will no longer be on the French registration
plate. The registration plates will no longer be black on white at the front and
black on yellow at the rear as in the UK, but black on white on the front and
rear as in Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and many
other European countries.
They will be made up of two letters, three numbers and
two letters these are separated by hyphens(e.g. DE-354-FG) and will be allocated
to a vehicle for life unlike presently if the owner moves from département to
département. The new plates do not contain any element that identifies where the
car owner lives. A car owner may add the official logo of their a French département
to the their new style plate.
hand cars: The new regulations applied to second
hand cars from the 15th June 2009 all second hand cars will get these new style
registrations as well when la carte gris (registration document) is updated with
a new address or owner.
the insurance4carrental.com guide below
This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without
the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed
at. ©jml property Services 07-05
A "FOREIGN" CAR IN FRANCE
by Lynne Peacock who moved to France and she and her husband took their two UK
registerd vehicles with them - A Citroen AX and a Fiat Camper Van. Here is her
story taken from her website www.gagnac-sur-cere.com
also have a very nice 2 bedroom rental property in the Midi-Pyrenees region -
imported two vehicles when we moved to France last September: my trusty 'shopping
basket' 1996 Citroen AX, and our elderly but very cherished camper van in which
we have travelled many happy miles.
Citroen was fairly straightforward, if you forget about the waiting around for
the various bits of paper to come back from DRIRE and the prefecture. DRIRE very
kindly offered to give me an attestation de conformité, which cars sold before
1997 don't have, but the form I had to fill in, 'demande d'identification d'une
voiture particulaire importée neuve ou usagée', involved me discovering parts
of my car and service manual I never knew existed.
yes, I know - typical female! But on that day I had had an altercation with my
dear husband (DH), so was determined not to ask for help and crawled around under
the bonnet looking for a small metal plate that, so my form said, carried vital
information. The cost of the attestation was €67.38 which seemed quite reasonable
- but that was only the start!
the car was over four years old, it needed a controle technique. But before it
could have that I had to replace the headlamps. This is where the costs began
to rise. The local Citroen garage was very helpful and fitted them the day I wandered
in to ask about a rendezvous. However, the mechanic was concerned that I seemed
to have a missed a service.
mutters from husband about forgetful women, I booked in for the next day and -
as I had read a leaflet while I was waiting for the headlamps and knew I could
have a free pre-controle technique check - I asked for that to be done at the
same time. After shelling out €224.08 for headlamps and €72.48 for the service,
I felt able to go and book the controle technique. I thoroughly recommend the
DEKRA operation at St Cere - charming chaps and I got a free umbrella! Another
it was just a case of getting a photocopy of my passport (25 cents) and finding
the original bill of sale which, amazingly, I had kept. Not from any kind of sensible
system, so much as that I used to stuff everything into my desk and hadn't thrown
it away. Thanks to my much more organised DH we had sent off our VO5 documents
to Swansea before leaving the UK and I therefore had my certificate of permanent
export. I copied it, twice (50 cents) in case it got lost in the post.
having yet another form to fill in just to ask for the re-registering to be done
which I've forgotten the name of (and it duplicated almost everything on the attestation,),
I still needed to know how much it would cost me to actually register. I rang
the prefecture in Cahors and was told €27.50 for 'un cheval'. We decided the AX
must be 'un cheval'. (Wrong!) The documents went off with an accuse de reception,
€4.50, just to make sure it got there.
began the saga of the incorrect cheques. First everything came back, with a note
that I should have paid €110 as it is €27.50 per cheval and my car was four chevaux.
I still have not managed to work out why exactly. Also, the price was due to go
up in February 2005 but no decision had been made exactly when.
was still January, so I bunged the whole lot off again with a cheque for €110
and €4.50 for the accuse - and it came back to say it had gone up to €120!
when my size six went down hard! Off to the prefecture again, with me feeling
that by now I had shares in La Poste, but finally, on Saturday 26 February 2005,
my carte grise arrived.
then followed a quick dash to our local Auto Leclerc for my new plaques but -
dommage - they were out of film and I had to wait. A week later they were still
out. Desperate to parade my new French number plates, I asked for the nearest
garage who could do them for me and they sent me to another place nearby.
€28.50 for three plaques, (we have a remorque), €5 for fitting them and finally
I could blend in with all the other French traffic on the road.
€588.81 or about £418 and worth every penny.
Citroen garage mechanic had a grumpy sidekick who said I should drive a French
car in France (ie: left-hand drive) but I'm used to my car and in a world where
everything in our lives is new the comfort of driving the car I know is immeasurable.
on the camper front we are still waiting. It will be four weeks come next Tuesday.
The process so far has been much the same as for the car but with one major exception.
wrote to Fiat for the attestation as the service des mines couldn't find our camper
on their list - an Eldiss Autoquest on a Fiat Ducatto chassis. (see how technical
I can be when necessary?). We changed the headlamps with our new best friends
at the Citroen garage who had ordered them for us and passed the controle technique
at St Cere, where we received our second free umbrella.
major difference is that we had to have the camper inspected by the bureau veritas.
The service des mines very helpfully gave us two addresses but both were a long
way off, and one was even in another department. However, for an increased fee,
the chap would come to us. So that's what we opted for.
very cold morning in January he finally arrived in his van, having rung me from
the other end of the commune as he had got lost. We stood around nervously as
he poked around under the bonnet and the bunks. His task, we had been told, was
to check out the electrics and gas to make sure they were safe and serviceable.
The gas supply passed muster but he was unhappy that there was no label on the
inside of the gas locker door saying 'butane'. This, despite there being a large
sign on the OUTSIDE of the same door saying LPG plus a picture of a gas canister...
fiddled with the wire from the camper battery (as opposed to the battery for the
engine) and insisted we fix an inline fuse. My DH pointed out the existing fuse
tucked into a corner, but to no avail.
this point I tried to pour a little oil on the situation. The DH may not speak
much French but his face spoke volumes. Monsieur Veritas and I had a fervent exchange
about how important 'la securité' is. The DH relaxed a bit.
inside the camper we were told we must change all the sockets for French sockets.
Luckily I was the only one who heard and understood the DH's muttered aside that
at least the English sockets were earthed!
came the piece de resistance for our inspector. After entering and exiting our
shower/toilet several times he turned to us both and heaving a sigh told me 'Problem,
Madame, grand problem!'.
waited for him to explain. Our toilet window was apparently too small to evacuate
out of in the case of our fire creating an 'incendie'. The said fire is to the
left of the toilet door and the door opens to the right, therefore to exit the
shower/toilet you would have to pass in front of the fire and therefore the conflagration!
all trooped outside and he showed us how we could enlarge the window. I could
see my husband was at this point considering abandoning the camper to its fate.
Enlarging the window would be quite a job and we also had a ladder across it.
Back inside we all looked at the way the door was hung and our chap suggested
that rehanging the door would satisfy regulations. I asked if they had changed
the regulations re toilet doors in the EU recently but he replied that it had
always been thus. I knew our camper was old but not that old!
we had our biggest surprise. Filling out his form and asking us for a cheque,
Monsieur Veritas announced that as soon as we let him know we had made the changes
he would forward our document to us for the prefecture. My husband asked if he
wanted photos to prove we had changed things. Monsieur looked bemused at the idea
and replied that a letter would do.
declined a coffee and wished us good day and drove off, we assume, to worry some
other poor campers.
we set off to the Brico to find the various bits and pieces. That afternoon my
DH changed everything, including the door (what a nuisance it is now!) and took
photos to prove he had done the work as he is a man who likes to be seen to be
doing things properly. In a couple of weeks the document arrived. A cool €209.62
worth of proof that the camper is fit for the road.
so we wait... True to form we've sent it off the requisite three times and paid
the accuse each time. The first return was because my husband forgot his proof
of identity, the second time because the cheque was wrong (déjà vue!). But at
least as the camper is over 10 years old we only have to pay €110 despite it being
a 10 cheval.
weeks and counting. Maybe it will arrive tomorrow. But I'm not holding my breath...
are advised that the second car was finally imported -jml Property Services March
Copyright © Lynne Peacock 2005 - Please note: This article must not be published
on any website without the written consent of the writer Lynne Peacock
ownership of a French registerd car - August 2013
the early part of the summer I raised a topic on
Riviera Reporter Forum - I will shortly be having
to transfer the ownership a French registered car that currently has the old style
white and yellow 06 number plates. Can anyone help with advice as to where to
go to do this or can you download forms in line as well. I presume the car will
then have to have new style number plates. Do you have to go to a specialist garage
to have these fitted. Any help please. Many thanks
great thing about this forum, is that I have always had useful replies to the
issues raised. This time Kathy and Ants replied "When the new owner registers
the car at the prefecture they take the registration doc to a place that does
plates and they do them. Nothing complicated about it. Was about 30 euros. If
it is at Grasse Prefecture the number plate place is opposite. Done in minutes."
kathy says, the plates can be made and installed almost anywhere, even in some
keymaking places near supermarkets. All they need is the registration document.
As for changing ownership:
If you don't speak French it's probably best to get help from a friend or neighbour,
also if you are doing it on line or by post. It's pretty straight forward (rare
in France) -
all you need at the motor vehicles registration office at the prefecture are the
- the old registration document (commonly called "carte grise")
a "controle technique" (MOT) less that 6 months old
Proof of identity (passport or other) - proof of address called "Justificatif
de domicile" (electricity bill will do)
-statement that there are no outstanding debts on the
car called "certificat de non-gage" or "Certificat de situation administrative"
(available on line vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/R1270.xhtml)
- declaration of sale called "déclaration de cession" (Formulaire
cerfa n°13754*02 available on line ) www.formulaires.modernisation.gouv.fr/gf/cerfa_13754_02.do?jeton=paSbwQE-WgcqAAE-Z0JS_2yL
In the case that the transfer of ownership is made following
the death of the previous owner rather than sale or free donation, you will need
a document from the notary handling the succession stating that you are the legal
inheritor of the vehicle.
Re registration request called "demande de certificat d'immatriculation" (Formulaire
cerfa n°13750*03 available on line )
Payment for the re-registration of an amount that which varies by department.
you are applying by post you can send a cheque. If you are applying on line you
can pay by card. If you are applying in person you can do either. The amount depends
on the fiscal HP ("Puissance fiscale") of the car and the department number.
can make the calculation on line here :
easier way is just to hire one of those relocation assistance people to do it
for you but they take a fee.
August I went into the Sous Prefecture in Grasse.The car was being transferred
following a death and the appropriate documentation was therefore brought.Fortunately
we had our neice with us to assist with the language. Process took well over an
hour with booking in at reception, getting a number and waiting to be called then
proceeding downstairs to pay. Registration document arrived in the post a couple
of days later, however it misses the most important part of the address.
useful shop acroos the road makes up the new style number plates and quickly fitted
for a few Euros.Quite a contrast to doing the same thing in England whereby you
post off everything to the DVLC in Swansea and not have to physically to go somewhere
other than the post box. If the French introduced a DVLC there would probably
be a lot of people out of work throughout the country or re employed on other
Forum contributor has made the following comment - "You'll just have to get
used to the fact that France is far too bureaucratic and there are far more public
workers than necessary. But it is (or "was" before Mr Hollande took over) slowly
getting better and in some rare cases is even easier than the UK. For instance
you only have to pass the MOT every 2 years instead of every ye
like in the UK. There is no road tax in France either so that is one less bureaucratic
it good though not having an MOT equivalent every year? A car could become unroadworthy
9 months after the test. In theory it can still be driven for a further fifteen.
Same rules apply with the
Republic of Ireland and the National Car Test NCT.
© Philip Suter September 2013
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