How to import a car from Japan to France

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Publié par Eplaque - 3 min de lecture ⏳

Le 10/11/2021 - Mis à jour le 20/01/2023

In France, there is a special procedure to register and import a car from Japan. In short, you have to follow the rules that apply to any import of a car from outside the European Union. Which means paying import duties, VAT, but also pass individual vehicle approval (IVA). How to import the cat from Japan to France and register it ? Follow our step-by-step guide or just contact us to start the procedure right now, and in English.

Import in France a Japanese vehicle: the logistics

The first step is to find a shipping company to send the car to a French port. According to the final destination of the vehicle, it might make sense to ship it to another European port. As you know in 2021 there are many logistical challenges, therefore prices are very volatile, it is hard to quote a price. Contact a few shipping companies to identify the most attractive rates the market can offer.

First step: customs clearance

In France, when you import a vehicle from Japan you must pay VAT and duties. This is true whether it is brand-new or Japan used car. The VAT rate is 20%, while the import duties are 10%. If you bought that car, customs agent will calculate those taxes based on the invoice amount. However, if the agent feels the car is undervalued, he can use another figure that this closer to its actual value.

One customs fees are paid, you will receive a 846A certificate. This document certifies that the car is cleared. You will have to provide a copy when you register your Japanese car in France. Please note that if you used to live in Japan and you decided to come to live in France with your own vehicle(s) (car registration certificate in your name for at least 6 months), you will be exempted from paying VAT and duties.

Second step: MOT and IVA

To be registered in France, a car must have a valid MOT. But also owns a valid European certificate of conformity (COC). Any vehicle without COC must go through a special procedure called RTI (réception à titre isolé). It is more or less the equivalent of the IVA (individual vehicle approval) in the UK. To do this RTI, you must liaise with the DREAL if you live outside Paris, with the DRIRE if you live in the capital area. They will ask you to get a manufacturer’s certificate to determine whether the vehicle is partially or entirely noncompliant with the EU requirements. In case of noncompliance, some additional tests might be requested. They are to be done with the UTAC, in Paris or Salons de Provence. This procedure is quite costly, and might lead to the obligation of modifying some components of the car.

In order to use the car temporarily, an imported car from Japan to France can request a WW registration. It is valid for 4 months. You don’t need the RTI to get such temp car registration. You must provide all the documents (but the RTI) listed for the permanent registration to secure it (see below).

Third step to import a car from Japan in France: register the vehicle

The 2 first steps cleared, you are now much closer to the end of your red tape journey. Once you collected all the required documents and everything is fine, car registration in France in itself is pretty easy. However easy doesn’t mean quick. Such fils takes in average 6 weeks to be processed, when it’s complete and accurate at the first shot. If you want to do the process in English, we can take care of your car registration request. Eplaque is an authorized private car registration services approved by French authorities. Our agents are fluent in English. And we will make sure your request is complete by checking your file before submission, which will speed up the process. If you want to submit the file yourself, you must do so through the ANTS website. They don’t charge processing fees.

Required documents to register an imported car from Japan to France

Here are the documents you must provide:

  • Japanese car registration certificate
  • Proof of purchase (invoice, “certificat de cession”)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, rental contract, etc.)
  • Proof of identity (driving license, since you must anyway prove that you are allowed to drive the vehicle you will register)
  • MOT (less than 6 months old)
  • 846A from the customs
  • RTI (IVA) or COC
  • Proof of insurance or a written promise to insure the vehicle once registered


Which country imports more Japanese used cars than any other

South Africa is the largest importer of Japanese used car.

Where to find cheap Japanese import cars ? What are the best sites to import cars from Japan

You’ll have to go through the most popular webistes to find the best deals. Trade Car View is considered as one of the best. Japanese Used Cars and Japan-Partner are also considered as reliable.

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