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Registration of a foreign vehicle in France

foreign vehicle registration

Buying a new or used vehicle abroad can have certain advantages, but when registering it is not always easy to find your way around.

There are two possible cases:

  • The purchase of a new or used vehicle in a foreign country.
  • The move of a foreigner to France.

We have compiled for you the list of the mandatory documents and the steps necessary to obtain your French registration certificate.

1/ The purchase of a new or used vehicle abroad:

You have just acquired a foreign vehicle, the seller gives you several documents but you don’t know exactly what to do with them…

You have ONE month from your purchase to complete your registration process. Generally, the registration process exceeds this period of one month.

Thus, to travel in France with your new vehicle, you will first need to apply for a provisional WW registration certificate which will allow you to move freely for 4 months. This procedure is to be carried out with a service authorized by the State or on our website

During these 4 months you must undertake the French registration process either with the ANTS site or with a service authorized by the state, the prefectures are now closed.

When setting up your file for the registration of a foreign vehicle, you will need to provide:

  • A proof of address less than 6 months old,
  • An ID,
  • Driving license,
  • Technical inspection (except for two-wheelers or vehicles under 4 years old),
  • The valid insurance certificate,
  • Proof of purchase/ownership (invoice, transfer certificate for second-hand),
  • A certificate of conformity (coc),
  • The tax clearance or customs clearance certificate,
  • The foreign gray card.

a/ The tax clearance:

In the case of a new vehicle, the seller will absolutely have to give you the purchase invoice which will be used to obtain the tax clearance from the tax department of your municipality.

The tax clearance certifies that the VAT has been paid on the vehicle somewhere in Europe. In the event that the VAT has never been paid (for example company vehicle / leasing) you will have to pay the VAT to your tax office in order to obtain your tax clearance.

In the case of a vehicle purchased outside Europe, you will need to contact the Customs department to obtain a form 846A, this document is given to you after payment of customs and VAT charges.

Take steps to obtain your tax clearance.

b/ The certificate of conformity:

In most cases, it is essential for registering your vehicle in France. This certificate indicates whether your foreign vehicle complies with European standards.

Each manufacturer has an approval service where you can get information. The price varies according to each manufacturer.

If the vehicle was not built for the European market, you will not be able to obtain a Certificate of Conformity.

It will nevertheless be possible to obtain an Isolated Title Report (RTI): the file is filed with the DREAL closest to you, it is this organization that will summon you to check the vehicle.

If your vehicle is over 30 years old, you can apply to the FFVE (French Federation of Vintage Vehicles).

Apply for the certificate of conformity

2/ The move of a foreigner to France:

Whether you are moving in or buying a second home in France, you can drive your vehicle registered abroad provided you prove that you live outside France for 8 months of the year, otherwise you will have to register your vehicle in France. .

In both cases, the steps to register your vehicle are the same as for a purchase, you will need to present proof of ownership and proof of French residence less than 6 months old to obtain your tax clearance and your gray card. The process must be undertaken within the month following your installation.

To sum up, buying a vehicle abroad can be expensive if you do not check all the information and documents provided by the seller.

For all these reasons, we are here to support you and simplify your procedures.


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