European certificate of conformity: how do I get one in France?

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Publié par Eplaque - 7 min de lecture ⏳

Le 28/07/2022 - Mis à jour le 21/08/2023

The European certificate of conformity (e-COC) is a document required for registering any new vehicle. But also, for any registration in France of a vehicle imported from a European Union country. What is the European certificate of conformity, what’s its purpose, how to get an e-COC… Let’s delve into all those subjects.

European certificate of conformity: purpose, euro COC history

Also called COC, a vehicle certificate of conformity is a document that exists in all countries of the world. However, it does not have the same name everywhere. Criteria to grant such certificate vary from a country to another. In the United States, for example, the vehicle must pass five tests at an Authorized Testing Laboratory.

In Europe, the EC certificate of conformity was standardized in 1996, mainly with the aim of improving pollution and safety. This certificate of conformity highlights different characteristics of the vehicle and confirms its compliance with the requirements of the European Union. A COC number is granted once that procedure is done.

The original European certificate of conformity is issued by the manufacturer (Ford, Citroën, Renault, Peugeot, etc.) and delivered to the customer when the vehicle is purchased. In case of loss, a European certificate of conformity copy can be requested directly from the vehicle manufacturer. Each certificate of conformity is unique in order to avoid fraud.

What is the European Certificate of Conformity?

Also called COC, the European certificate of conformity is, as its name suggests, a document that certifies the compliance of a vehicle with European standards and directives when it leaves the factory. It is therefore the car manufacturer who issues the European certificate of conformity. You should know that this compliance is mandatory if you want to drive legally on public roads. That’s why the car registration procedure checks the validity of a vehicle e-COC.

However, not all vehicles can get it. Indeed, this administrative document only concerns vehicles whose characteristics are as follows:

  • A GVW of less than 3.5 tons
  • The target market is Europe, approval procedures have been done in one of the country belonging to the EU
  • The year of first registration is later than 1996 for vehicles whose category is M1 (passenger car), 2004 for two-wheeled vehicles and 2010 for utility vehicles (category N1)

What are the characteristics listed on the certificate of conformity?

On the ce certificate of conformity, the following information can be found:

  • Brand (0.1)
  • Type (0.2)
  • Variant
  • Version
  • Trade name (0.2.1)
  • Vehicle category (0.4)
  • Name and address of the vehicle manufacturer (0.5)
  • Location of the manufacturer’s plate (0.6)
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Location of the identification number on the vehicle chassis

There is also technical information such as the number of axles, the mass of the vehicle, the nominal power… And more descriptive information such as the color of the vehicle, the type of gearbox, the fuel used, etc.

How to get an EC certificate of conformity (COC certificate) ?

There are 2 main ways of getting a European certificate of conformity for your vehicle:

  • Via the manufacturer (most common method, usually cheaper)
  • Via a specialized company (sometimes faster, but usually more expensive)

Most brands charge the issuance of an euro COC certificate. The cost depends on the manufacturer. It can be EUR 100, 200, sometimes more… There is no standard request form.

It is also possible to request this document online via third parties. Beware of scams though. Here are the steps to follow if you wish to request a certificate of conformity through one of those companies:

  • Choose a site (carefully and by checking reviews to avoid unpleasant surprises)
  • Provide your vehicle’s VIN number (17 digits on a label inside the vehicle or in the original purchase invoice)
  • Present a copy of the vehicle registration document if available
  • Provide your postal address
  • Give your full contact details
  • Pay for the service by credit card or bank transfer

Do we need a certificate of conformity for a motorcycle?

The certificate of conformity is essential for registration of a foreign bike (Harley Davidson…) in France, even for two-wheelers put into circulation before July 1, 2004 (according to a directive of April 15, 2009). If the motorcycle already has an SIV registration, the registration number will be retained.

Should I get my vehicle certificate of conformity in the UK, in France?

It doesn’t matter. You can request the certificate of conformity anywhere in Europe. The COC will be valid in France, irrespective of the issuing country or the language.

Why do I need a European certificate of conformity for a car?

The European certificate of conformity is mandatory to register any new vehicle, or imported into a member country of the European Union. In addition, having it in your possession allows you to resell easily a used vehicle abroad, because it certifies that the vehicle in question meets European requirements in terms of safety and environmental protection.

Who should request the EC certificate of conformity?

Whether buyer or seller, anyone can request a European certificate of conformity. For the seller, having this document will give the buyer confidence and facilitate the delicate task of registering his future vehicle. The buyer can request this certificate to the seller upon purchase of the vehicle, to avoid the hassle and cost associated with the procurement of this certificate.

Vehicle certificate of conformity: free? What price might I pay?

Sometimes a vehicle certificate of conformity is free. But it is very rare when you want a copy (it must be handed over when buying a new car). This is a matter of manufacturer policy. And they overwhelmingly charge customers requiring an e-COC. If there is no free certificate of conformity, what is the price of such a document? Again, it’s the car brand that sets a price. BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes, Kia… They all charge a different amount. It can range from €100 to €300. For example (April 2023 prices published by manufacturers on their respective website):

  • BMW certificate of conformity : in UK £100, €170 in France
  • Mercedes COC: £144 in the UK, €200 in France
  • Peugeot, Vauxhall, Citroën, Opel : around £194 in the UK, €220 in France

As you can see, the price of the car is not correlated to the price of the COC. A BMW COC is way cheaper than a Vauxhall certificate!

Pay attention to deadlines

If you are not in possession of the certificate of conformity (Europe) for your vehicle, you must request it from the car manufacturer very quickly. You can get a temporary WW registration (4 months) without it, but the more you wait, the more the final registration will be postponed. Bear in mind that the final registration process can take weeks. As usual, the sooner, the better.

What to do if it is impossible to obtain a European certificate of conformity?

When importing a vehicle, it is quite possible that the CE certificate of conformity is missing. If this is the case, you will have to request an e-COC copy from the car manufacturer or from one of its authorized dealers. If applicable, an identification certificate might be required. It should be noted that this process is chargeable.

Your vehicle can be non compliant. It will be the case if imported from Japan or the States. In that case, you will have to present the vehicle to the DREAL. It will perform what is called a “reception à titre isolé”, which is the equivalent of the individual approval procedure. If the vehicle is found compliant, an RTI certificate will be issued, and it will authorize the registration of the car. If not, some changes might be mandatory before the approval is granted.

FAQ e-COC

How much should I plan to spend when I request a COC?

You should plan to spend around 180 € to obtain a COC. Some brands charge more.

What is the price for a national identification certificate?

You’ll have to pay an average of €250 to obtain the national identification certificate.

How much to bring my vehicle up to standard?

Bringing a non-compliant vehicle up to standard costs around €400.

How can I get a European certificate of conformity Harley Davidson ?

Through Harley Europe. However, the Harley Davidson e-coc will only be available if the motorcycle was sold as new in the EU first. If the bike has been imported from the US, for example, the document cannot be issued since the vehicle was not approved in Europe. You’ll therefore need an individual approval from the DREAL (RTI) in order to register this imported motorcycle in France.

If I do a simple ownership transfer in France, do I need the COC or COC number?

No. When a car has French plates, the car registration records hold the information regarding the certificate of conformity. This paper is therefore not required for an car ownership transfer.

Is this document different according to the issuing country?

Being standardized, the template of the COC is roughly the same in every country of the UE. However, it can hold some differences in the layout, the language used is the one of the country where the car was sold. It’s not an issue, a French European certificate of conformity is valid in Germany and vice versa.

Can I get a vehicle certificate of conformity free of charge in the UK?

Mostly no, because manufacturers charge customers requiring an E-COC. You will have to pay around £100-200 in the UK to get one. Luxury brands like Jaguar or Land Rover are not necessarily the most expensive in that matter.

Une question ?

Nous vous répondrons dans les meilleurs délais.

Les questions des utilisateurs

  • Bruce Campbell

    1 février 2024

    Still on the process of completing my documents after several months. I used a third party to obtain a Certificate of Conformity but i guess i got scammed, paid 450 euros and when i received the certificate it says nothing apart from saying that” my Dodge car is intended for a non european market” . How am i able to get a Certificate of Conformité apart from asking the car manufacturer ? Do you offer this service as well?
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      2 février 2024

      If this Dodge was made for the North American market (most likely), it won't have a certificate of conformity. Try to get your money back, this is indeed scammy. You should get a certificate of non conformity or partial conformity from the manufacturer. With his document, you must then do an individual approval (called réception à titre isolé or RTI in France). This has to be done at the DREAL of your region, or the DRIEAT if you live in Ile-de-France.
  • Karen Hayward

    17 janvier 2024

    I have just got the certificate for a trailer imported from the UK to France Do I have to get a carte grise for it now?
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      18 janvier 2024

      It depends, do you have permanent residency in France? A holiday property? Do you drive a UK or France registered car?
  • Aaron

    22 décembre 2023

    You have mentioned manufacturer respective websites as the source of COC prices in this article. Can you please share the links to those websites? Please send by email if you don't want to publish here.
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      25 décembre 2023

      Let us know which brand interests you, we found them pretty easily with Google (COC + brand or certificate of conformity + brand).
  • Emma ROBERTSON

    22 décembre 2023

    I'm thinking about buying a car in Germany and importing it to France where I live. In order to re-register it in France I need the CoC, but the car has been professionally repainted so isn't the same colour as stated on the CoC. Will that be an issue when reregistering the car?
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      22 décembre 2023

      No, because the color is not mentioned on the French car registration certificate.
  • Al O Donoghue

    10 novembre 2023

    Bonjour - can I get an EU CoC for a BMW built to EU 6 standards in Germany, even though the car was first registered in Japan? Je suis desolee, j'ai oublie beaucoup de la langue
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      13 novembre 2023

      If the car was built to EU specs and exported, there should be a eCOC. However, if it was modified in Japan, an individual approval will be required. Ask BMW what they can provide you with.
  • NTP XHETI

    7 octobre 2023

    Hello i need certificate of origin for VW cars not CoC can i apply for it here
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      9 octobre 2023

      You have to request it to VW.
  • Biyikli

    13 septembre 2023

    Hello, If I import a car outside EU, which is around 10 years old BMW with 177gr/km CO2 emission, do I pay malus écologique? Thanks
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      14 septembre 2023

      If it's 10 years or more, there is no malus (10% discount per year). On a 9 year old car, it would therefore be a small amount, around EUR 200.
  • George

    7 juillet 2023

    Hello I have imported into England a Renault Magnum (camion) how can we obtain the COC ? We have the French vehicle registration document etc.
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      10 juillet 2023

      Here : https://src.renault.fr/request/1
  • Dave

    17 février 2023

    It is just a con. A car made for the european market and registered in 2 european countries before requires a slip of A4 costing 300 quid to be registered in another european country - this is the european dream of freedom of movement that the anti brexit rectums thought so glorious
  • Ronald King

    3 février 2023

    I imported a brand new JAWA motorcycle from the factory in Czech Republic three years ago. The motorcycle came with a CoC. The authorities tell me that as the motorcycle has never been homologated in France it cannot get a Carte Gris. It was never homologated as there has never been a JAWA distributor in France. Please help!
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      6 février 2023

      If you have indeed an e-COC, it should be valid. What can happen is that it doesn't have yet a CNIT, which is, in short, a special local number regarding homologation that is registered in France, and must appear on the car registration document. I believe that the DREAL is the institution that can sort this out (or DRIEE if you live in Paris area), contact yours.
    • Gerald Fowler

      15 août 2023

      DREAL or DRIEE say only the manufacturer can supply the CNIT number. Is this correct?
      • Logo Eplaque

        Eplaque

        16 août 2023

        In case identification is not possible, then yes, the manufacturer has to do a specific procedure to get a CNIT.
  • Michael

    2 janvier 2023

    Hello and Happy New Year. I am so happy to find this website, the information is great. I have been wanting to import a car to France for quite a while but I am having a great deal of trouble finding information in English. I live in the US but also have a home in France. I have a 1980 Triumph TR8 in very good condition that I would would like to import. Being it is 30years old, how to i import it as a Vintage car?
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      3 janvier 2023

      Thanks, happy new year too! You'll find information after the title "Foreign car registration : taking a car to France" in our article dedicated to car registration in France, the procedure is roughly the same (vintage Vs standard car). The specifics regarding vintage cars are under the title "Registering a classic car in France".
  • Betts, Greg

    14 septembre 2022

    Good morning, I have a Wiola w-600 trailer that I want to register in France from Czech. Do I need a certificate of conformity and can you supply this? Thank you for your help.
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      14 septembre 2022

      Yes, you need one. No, unfortunately, we don't provide such service.
  • Roumiana Entchevska

    29 août 2022

    Hello. I need to register a car in France that is currently with Bulgarian registration and insurance. I have a residence in France and I will be using the car mostly in France. What kind of documents do I need ? Do you provide a registration service as well. Thanks
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      30 août 2022

      Yes, we do provide a car registration service for imported cars as well. You'll find all the info on our page explaining how to register a car in France.
  • Paula

    21 août 2022

    Hello, I need to get a Certificate of Conformity for 2 cars that I bought in France (and now I need to register in Portugal as I moved here) From cars are a Qashqai from Nissan (2017) and a Saab 900 (1995) Thanks Paula
    • Logo Eplaque

      Eplaque

      22 août 2022

      You have to request them to Nissan and Saab.

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