846A Certificate: mandatory document for cars imported from a non EU country

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Publié par Eplaque - 5 min de lecture ⏳

Le 21/09/2022 - Mis à jour le 17/08/2023

Documents required to register a vehicle in France are almost always the same. However, additional supporting documents might be required. For example, registering an imported car requires extra paperwork. A 846A certificate is mandatory if you have purchased a vehicle in a country that does not belong to the European Union and you plan to register it in France.

Why do I need an 846A certificate?

Customs formalities are required when importing a vehicle from a country outside the European Union. But also from a country that is not part of the customs territory of the European Union or the tax territory of the European Community. The steps depend on the country of origin of the vehicle. Indeed, you may be required to pay VAT and customs duties, or VAT alone.

You will need such customs certificate if the car does not come from one of those countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

If the origin of the car is one of the 27 states of the EU, you will need a VAT certificate called quitus fiscal. You can get one free of charge if the car is not new (more than 6 months old AND more than 6.000 km).

When do I have to pay duties and VAT?

Buying a vehicle in a country outside the EU means paying 20% VAT and 10% duties based on the market value of the vehicle. However, those taxes are not levied when people come to France with a personal car to establish their residence in the country. 3 conditions must be respected to avail this exemption:

  • Establish main residence in France
  • Owning the car for at least 6 months
  • It cannot be a commercial vehicle (truck, van…)

Please note that this exemption does not mean that you shouldn’t get your 846A certificate. It just means that customs won’t charge you VAT and duties when producing the document. This is valid for UA number plates, UK/GB, etc.

Where to go?

There are many duties offices all over France. This website will help you identifying the closest one. Select « Bureau de douane » in the dropdown box and type your department number to narrow down the list to the offices near you. The phone number of each bureau de douane is mentioned. If you have any specific question, you can call that number.

Documents and paperwork required to get a 846A certificate

To pass customs, you will need to present the following documents:

  • An invoice or a Community transit declaration
  • The vehicle registration certificate or any other equivalent official document
  • Proof of preferential origin if the country of origin of the vehicle has signed an agreement with the European Community

What is an 846A certificate?

The 846A certificate is the proof that you have paid customs duties and taxes related to the importation of a vehicle, when required. It is delivered by customs offices with a copy of the customs declaration and a receipt. Once secured, all you have to do is add it to file your foreign car registration application. The payment of the duties and VAT, if applicable, is to be made in euros. It is possible to pay cash, by check or by credit card if the customs service has a terminal. Note that if the amount to be paid is more than €1,524.49, a certified or bank check is required.

Do I need an 846A certificate when the vehicle imported outside the EU has undergone customs clearance in another European Union state without being registered there?

No, you can simply add to your car registration application the foreign customs clearance document. The 846A certificate is one of the supporting documents that must be presented when importing a vehicle outside the EU, in accordance with article 1.E of the decree of 9 February 2009 relating to vehicle registration procedures. Its purpose is to certify that the vehicle meets the conditions required by customs and tax regulations in order to be registered in a normal, non-suspensive series of duties and taxes. On the other hand, it should be noted that the customs administration is not competent to issue an 846A certificate in the event that the customs formalities have taken place in another Member State of the European customs territory. Indeed, in this case, the vehicle has already acquired Community customs status when it arrives in France, where it is therefore no longer subject to any customs obligation.

Similarly, the General Directorate of Public Finance cannot issue a discharge due to the fact that the vehicle has not been registered, even temporarily, in another EU state. Consequently, since the customs services are not competent to issue an 846A certificate, only the services in charge of registration can accept the production of an alternative document to justify the regularity of the situation of this vehicle.

Do I need any other paper to register my foreign car?

Yes. With your 846A certificate, you can already get a temporary registration (WW plates), valid for 4 months. For the permanent one, you’ll need a paper establishing that the vehicle fulfills the european technical requirements. To do so, you’ll need an e-COC or an individual approval (RTI).

FAQ 846A certificate

Can my registration be denied if I got my 846A certificate?

This can actually happen if the vehicle does not meet the technical conditions provided for by the Highway Code. In other words, if the vehicle doesn’t have an e-COC, you’ll need an individual approval called RTI in France. This information is indicated at the bottom of the 846A certificate.

How much will I have to pay to get that VAT certificate?

You will have to pay 20% French VAT and 10% customs fees if the country of origin of the vehicle does not have a special agreement with the European Union or France.

Is it possible to be exempted from customs duties and VAT in France?

This is indeed possible for those who decide to establish their main residence in metropolitan France. The vehicle must also meet certain conditions: it must not be a commercial vehicle, it must have been owned and used for more than 6 months and the applicable taxes must have been paid in the country of origin.

What tax document must be presented when registering a vehicle from the Vatican?

The General Directorate of Customs and Indirect Duties (DGDDI) indicates that “the Vatican is not part of the customs territory of the European Union defined in article 4 of the Customs Code of the Union. The entry of Vatican goods into EU territory is therefore analyzed as an import. It is necessary to carry out the specific formalities relating to the importation of vehicles from outside the EU”. Consequently, the owner of a vehicle coming from the Vatican will have to present a customs certificate 846A.

Can I ask a third party to get the 846A for me?

Yes, there are car import agencies that can assist you.

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