Proof of address in France: which documents are valid for foreigners?
When you apply for a French car registration certificate (“gray card”), you must first provide a whole lot of supporting documents, including a proof of address in France. What documents are accepted, why do I have to provide proof of address to make a registration certificate? Let’s clarify right now that matter.
Introduction: can I register a car if I’m not a permanent resident in France?
Let’s clarify first an important question about the right of non-permanent residents in France to own a car with French license plates. In short, yes, it is allowed. The law is not completely clear about that, it has been a grey area for years. However, French authorities have clarified without ambiguity in 2022 that any foreigner can register a car in France, even if he or she is not a permanent resident. After all, the only requirements for registering a car in France are:
- To have some kind of residence in France
- To hold a valid driving license
Therefore, if you can produce one of the accepted proofs of address listed below, you can legally register a car in France and use it. Please note, however, that driving that vehicle in your home country won’t be legal in most cases. Indeed, it’s forbidden to drive with a car registered abroad in the country where one holds his or her permanent residence.
Why a proof of residence to make his gray card?
When you make a gray card, you are required to provide the address of your main residence. Indeed, it is forbidden to register a vehicle at another address, even that of a secondary residence. Why? Because the region and the department of the residence of the holder greatly influences the price of the registration taxes. For example, the tax horse costs €35 in Normandy, but €51 per CV in Brittany, two neighboring regions. In certain regions, there is no regional tax when registering an electric car, while in others you must pay that tax.
This rule concerns however permanent residents. Others can register the car to their second residence in France (which is apparently considered as their “main residence in France”).
Registering a French car: what can be used as proof of address for individuals?
The French authorities accept a wide array of different proofs of address. However, the documents vary depending on how the holder is housed. Indeed, not everyone is a tenant or owner of their own home. Some people can live at a campsite, on a boat… Depending on your situation, finding the right proof of address can be complicated. Here are all the proofs of domicile valid on a case-by-case basis.
You rent accommodation or you own your house or apartment: what to use as proof of address in France
This is the most common and simplest scenario. In this case, accepted proofs of residence to get a gray card (which must imperatively include the surname AND the first name) accepted are:
- A gas, electricity, telephone or water bill less than 6 months old
- A certificate of housing insurance
- Your tax notice of the previous year
- A rent receipt of less than 6 months
- A Kbis less than 2 years old (for legal entities)
You stay in someone’s home, you are a roommate (subletting) or you live with your parents
In this scenario, the proof of address for registration card includes several documents:
- A copy of the id card of the host +
- A proof of residence of the host (see supporting documents accepted above) +
- A certificate of accommodation written on the honor by the host. He must affirm that you live under his roof. The host and the guest must sign the accommodation certificate
You live on a boat: what proof of address documents?
For people who live on a boat, the proof of address consists of these documents:
- Boat insurance certificate +
- Title deed or boat rental contract +
- Certificate from the captaincy of the home port of the boat concerning the ownership or rental of a docking spot
You live in a campsite or in a hotel: how to get a gray card
In this case, you simply need to provide an invoice from the hotel or campsite where you are staying.
You are homeless or part of the Traveller community
If you are registered with a municipality, the circulation book, the special circulation booklet or the special regular circulation booklet are valid proofs of residence. If necessary, the certificate of election of residence from a host organization recognized by the prefecture can serve as proof.
You are a sailor
Boatmen or skippers must provide a certificate of employment issued by the company that operates the vessel. In addition, you will also need to provide a residence certificate.
What can I use as proof of address for a legal entity?
Do you own a company in France ? What can you use as proof of your address for the registration of a vehicle on its name? Here are the accepted address certificates per type of legal entity.
Proof of address in France for a company
Companies can present one of the following documents:
- A gas, electricity, telephone or water bill less than 6 months old
- Kbis extract
- A rent receipt
- A title deed
What counts as proof of address for sole proprietorships or autoentrepreneurs
- INSEE situation notice for the liberal professions
- Extract K for companies with a commercial activity
- D1 extract for craftsmen registered in the trades directory
You represent a professional association or syndicate
Professional associations or syndicates can provide one of the following proofs of residence:
- A gas, electricity, telephone or water bill less than 6 months old in the name of the organization
- A rent receipt in the name of the organization
- Title deed on the name of the organization
- Notice of INSEE situation + an extract from the register of deliberations
- General meeting report
- Publication of the official journal
To provide proof of domicile registration document, the documents must mention the address of the association and the name of the person in charge.
Registration on behalf of a real estate co-ownership
In order to confirm the existence of your real estate co-ownership, you must request a certificate from the notary:
- Deliberation of the general meeting or the syndicate of co-owners
Can the vehicle of a legal person be registered at the address of a secondary establishment?
Article R. 322-1 of the Highway Code provides that: “I. – Any owner of a motor vehicle […] who wishes to put it into circulation for the first time must apply for a registration certificate by proving his identity and domicile […] II. – When the owner is a legal person or a sole proprietorship, he must be able to prove, at the request of the Minister of the Interior, his identity and the address of his head office or that of the establishment of ‘assignment of the vehicle’.
In addition, Annex IV of the decree of February 9, 2009 relating to vehicle registration procedures, specifies that a “legal person may prove its address by any means, in particular […] by an extract Kbis of the trade and companies register established less than two years ago or a newspaper of legal announcements dating less than two years ago, provided that the name of the person in charge, the corporate purpose, the address and the registration number in the trade and companies register”.
Consequently, it is possible to register vehicles at the addresses of the establishments mentioned on the Kbis or Lbis extracts of the legal entity concerned. But only when vehicles are attached to it.
FAQ « what can be used as proof of residence in France »
The State then considers you to be staying with someone, so you will have to ask your partner for a certificate of accommodation (see above).
They are serious and numerous. Forgery and use of forgery, offense of false attestation, lying to the administration… all these charges provide for penalties of up to 1 to 5 years in prison as well as maximum fines of 15 to 45,000 €.
Yes. It is not possible to register a car on an address abroad.
In short, yes, you can buy a car in France and register it. The car registration document law doesn’t specify that a requestor must be legally staying in France to apply. As far as an applicant can present the standard supporting documents required to apply, the registration must be accepted.
In accordance with Article R. 322-1 of the Highway Code, “every owner of a motor vehicle […] must apply for a registration certificate, providing proof of his identity and domicile”. Pursuant to Article 102 of the Civil Code, the concept of domicile is assessed as the place of the main establishment of the applicant. The latter is deemed to have a principal domicile in France if he applies for French registration. As it stands, and except in the particular case of WW export, the regulations do not provide for the possibility of declaring a domicile outside France, whether it concerns the holder or, in the case of rental, the owner and the lessee of the vehicle. This is explained for tax reasons vis-à-vis the subjection to regional taxes and security of the routing of the title and notifications relating to notices of contravention.