Selling a car in France: your ultimate guide

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Publié par Eplaque - 5 min de lecture ⏳

Le 22/09/2022 - Mis à jour le 31/08/2023

Even French people can be confused when they are about to sell their vehicle. What to do when selling a car in France? What paperwork do I need to produce? Do I have to make any declaration related to the ownership transfer? Find out all you need to know with Eplaque, a leading private car registration service since 2009.

Selling a car privately in France

As a reminder, French plates are assigned for life to a vehicle, and not to an individual. Therefore, when you sell a car in France, the plates remain on it. When the sale of a French vehicle is concluded, you must give to the buyer a few documents. Whether the latter is an individual or a professional (garage, car dealer, agent), these documents are the same, except for the French MOT. What documents are needed to sell your car? Here they are.

Selling a car in France: paperwork and checklist

In a nutshell, here are all the documents you must gather when selling a car in France:

  • Car registration certificate (carte grise)
  • Form Cerfa 15776 (certificate de cession, or license plate transfer certificate)
  • Certificat de situation administrative (document that certifies that there is no obstacle to change the owner of the vehicle)
  • MOT made less than 6 months ago (if you sell the car to an individual)

Let’s go beyond this checklist by digging deeper into each item of the required paperwork.

Car registration certificate

Before giving the carte grise to the buyer, you must cross it out and write on it: “Vendu le + (date and time)” or “Cédé on (date and time)” (if you give it away). Then you sign it. If there are co-owners (cotitulaires), they must sign as well. If you want to scrap the car, see our guide scrapping a car in France.

Cerfa 15776: the form for selling a car in France

The seller (and the co-owners if there are any) as well as the buyer must fill and sign this Cerfa 15776 form. Copy 1 is kept by the seller and the second copy is given to the buyer. This document establishes that the ownership of the car is transferred from the owner to the buyer. It is mandatory to fill it out. The form will support the formalities both the seller and the buyer must do to officialize the transfer.

Certificat de situation administrative

This certificate is very important for the buyer. It shows any irregularity about the administrative status of the vehicle. For example:

  • Is the vehicle safe?
  • Stolen car?
  • Is there any unpaid fine (opposition trésor public amende)?
  • Is it mortgaged?

If there is one issue mentioned on the certificate, the ownership transfer will be impossible. There is only one exception to this rule: if a loan on the car is still ongoing. In that case, it is allowed to proceed. Of course, the seller must inform the buyer about it.

Finally, the “administrative situation certificate“ must be issued less than 15 days before the signature of the Cerfa 15776. You can get yours for free here. You just need to provide the plate number, the value in B on the carte grise, in I and in C.1 to issue instantly the certificate (pdf download).

Proof of technical inspection (MOT)

If you sell a car in France to a dealer, it is not mandatory to provide a MOT. Of course, nothing prevents the dealer to request it anyway. If you sell it to an individual, in that case not only you need to provide a contrôle technique, but it must have been issued during the last 6 months. Moreover, if the center has ruled a follow-up inspection (contre-visite) because of some major issues, it cannot be older than 2 months (the timeframe they granted you to do the follow-up check).

Procedure for selling ​​a used car in France: what to do?

Once you have filled all the paperwork, you are one step away of finalizing your car sale in France. You must declare the ownership transfer. Why this seller’s responsibilities after selling a car in France? To protect yourself in case the buyer doesn’t transfer the title on his name.

Unfortunately, this happens. Unsuspecting people who rely on the new owner to take the necessary steps to issue a new car registration certificate might end up in all kinds of troubles. The most frequent is fines and tickets issued to them, instead of the new owner.

How to register your French car ownership transfer after a sale?

You’ll need the following documents:

  • A Cerfa 15776 duly filled and signed by both parties
  • A copy of the crossed registration certificate you handed over to the buyer
  • A proof of identity

You can fulfill this obligation online via our registration service in English.


Selling a car in France without CT, is it possible?

Yes, but only if the buyer is a car business (garage, dealer…). In the real world, it’s also possible if the individual buyer accepts to do himself the MOT. However, since it’s not really legal, the buyer might use this fact to demand the cancellation of the transaction if the MOT shows some nasty surprises.

What are the buyers right in France?

Even individuals can be held responsible when selling a car in France with serious issues. The law that protects the buyer is called “garantie des vices cachés”. When a “hidden defect“ is established by an expert, the seller can be forced by a court to pay compensation or to cancel the transaction. A hidden defect is a serious issue that is abnormal for such vehicle (model, age, mileage).

Selling a car in France: can I accept a cheque?

Yes. However, it should be a “chèque de banque certifié”. And even if it is, beware, as some individuals issue fakes certified checks. To be 100% on the safe side, it’s advised to check with the issuer that the cheque is genuine.

Selling a car for parts in France, is it legal?

Yes, but only to a garage. It is forbidden to sell a car for parts to an individual.

What if I sell my British car in France?

The process is roughly the same, except for the formalities that must be done in the UK. The buyer will have to get a 846A certificate and an RTI (individual approval) even if the car has an e-COC, because of the steering wheel placed on the right hand side.

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