Registering a car in France
Do you want to register a car in France? Lost in translation when trying to make the procedure on the ANTS website? Eplaque is a fully licensed car registration operator in France. We mainly help locals to circumvent the red tape by making the procedure fast and efficient. But we also offer our services in English to foreigners living in France. For registering a car in France seamlessly, see below (taking a car to France, buying one here). Or continue reading to find out about how to register a car in France, online or offline.
How to register your car in France with Eplaque
- Ownership transfer (license plate transfer to anther person)
- Registration of a foreign car (e.g. with German plates)
- Transfer of an inherited car
- Change of car registration address
- Copy of a lost, stolen or damaged French registration certificate
- Sell declaration
You can eventually use it, with the help of Google Translate it’s feasible. However, we also propose you a direct way of handling any kind of request, by email, all in English. It works like this:
- You write us to explain what kind of operation you are interested in, such as registering your UK car in France, transfer the ownership of a French car, etc.
- We will provide you with a list of required documents, and a way to pay the fees
- You provide us with all the paperwork and pay
- We handle your request
- You get your French car certificate at home, via registered mail
To go for this way, simply click on the button below:
Register a French car: the basics
The French car registration system was overhauled in 2009. Before that, the procedures were done in person at the prefecture. Since then, the procedure can only done online via the ANTS website. However, the system has also been semi-privatized. Authorized car registration agents can collect documents & taxes and submit applications. Some have offices, others like us offer streamlined online procedures.
Of course, using an agent induces an extra fee. However, it is often worth the investment given the complexity of the official channel, its lack of timely support, etc. That’s why private agents are very popular, among foreigners but also locals.
In France, a registration follow the car during its whole lifecycle. When a vehicle is sold, the car plate number is transferred to the new owner.
List of documents needed for registering a French car:
If you bought your car in France, the registration process is fairly simple, at least with us. When you buy a French car you must ensure you get from the seller the following documents for registering a car in France:
- Carte grise barrée (crossed registration certificate, at the name of the seller unless it’s a company)
- French MOT certificate (contrôle technique), that cannot be older than 6 months, or 2 months old in case of partial failure (contre-visite)
- Certificat de situation administrative (certificate that ensures that the vehicle is clean, e.g. not stolen, no unpaid tickets, no encumbrance, etc.) not older than 2 weeks
- Certificat de cession (an official form that must be filled in by the seller, signed by you and will be used to register the car)
You will have to provide us with all those documents, plus the following :
- Proof of identity: usually the driving licence, since you must on the proper driving license to register a car. Foreigners ID card and driving licence are allowed.
- Proof of address: utility bill, rental contract, property deed…
- And finally, proof of insurance
Foreign car registration : taking a car to France
If you want to register an imported vehicle, things get more complicated. First, we have to distinguish a car taken to France from the European Union and from the rest of the world. Second, we must determine whether the car has a European certificate of conformity or not.
Register a car taken in France, imported from the European Union
If you import a car from the EU, you have to provide two additional documents to register the car :
- COC (certificate of conformity) : if you don’t have it, you must request it to the manufacturer. If not available, you must get an RTI instead (see next paragraph)
- Quitus fiscal : this tax clearance certificate attests that VAT is cleared. There is no VAT to pay to import a used vehicle from the EU, therefore the certificate can be obtained for free at your tax office (the procedure might be online or by mail only).
How to register a UK car in France or from any other non-EU country
If the car doesn’t come from the European Union, for example the UK, Switzerland or Russia, the procedure gets even more complex. You’ll have to get :
- 846A certificate : this document is issued by French customs. Unless you relocate to France with your own car, you will have to pay 20% VAT and 10% duties to get it. Vintage cars (more than 30 years old, not modified and not manufactured anymore) are eligible to a special flat rate of 6 % (VAT + duties)
- Réception à titre isolé (RTI) : without COC, taking a UK car to France implies getting an individual approval to get its registration sorted. This procedure is done at a special regional facility called DREAL (outside of Paris) or DRIRE (Paris area).
What’s the cost of registering a car in France ?
It’s impossible to answer precisely this question. Car registration costs depend on many factors, such as :
- Imported car or not ? From the EU ?
- Engine power
- In which region the owner lives
- How old the car is
For clean vehicles, it can be free. For muscle cars it can cost a few thousands euros. You can simulate the price (in French) with this tool.
If you register an imported car, you also might have to pay VAT and/or duties (form 846A from the customs). If you move to France with your foreign car, in most cases you will be exempted of VAT and duties. Imported cars up to 10 years old are subject to the « malus écologique », a special tax based on CO2 emissions.
If the car does not have a European certificate of conformity, you will also have to pass a conformity check at the DREAL or DRIRE. If some elements don’t comply with European rules, you might have to make some modifications to the car. Those certification costs can range from a few hundred euros to a few thousands.
For all those reasons, it is highly recommended to assess properly the financial cost of importing a car before doing so. Indeed, it might be more economical to sell that car in your country and buy another one that is already registered in France.
Registering a classic car in France
In France, a classic car can be registered as any other car. The owner, however, can choose to request the mention « collection » on the « carte grise ». This gives valuable privileges to the vehicle, such as :
- Exemption of the rules regarding low-emission zones in Paris and other big cities
- MOT every 5 years instead of 2
- Authorization to use black vintage plates
If you do want such special vintage registration, you’ll have to get an « attestation de datation et de caractéristiques » from the FFVE (Old-timers French Federation). In order to be eligible, the vehicle must :
- Be at least 30 years old
- Not be produced anymore
- Be in its original state, substantial modifications are not allowed (e.g. retrofitting)
More info in our article about importing a classic car in France.
If your main residence is not in France, yes. However the car cannot stay more than one year on the French territory without leaving it.
You need all the documents that are required in your country (registration certificate, MOT, proof of insurance valid in France, driving license).
No, you must provide a French proof of address for your registration to be accepted.
Sure, foreign hire cars can be used in France if the company allows cross border usage.
Yes, but 3 things are required: a EU animal health certificate, a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination.
Can I take my car to France? Yes. What do you need so that it’s legal? A valid insurance.
Anything but meat or dairy products, or products containing those. You can bring a limited quantity of fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, egg products and honey. Restricted quantities of fish or fish products are also allowed. Weight can never exceeds 2 kg.