Carte Grise for a UK registered motorhome

My husband and I would like to share our recent experiences while trying, but not succeeding as yet, to re-register a British motorhome here in Limousin.

We bought our 2018 motor home from the UK and brought it back to France in July this year observing all the Covid-19 restrictions. As soon as the UK registration (V5) arrived in the post on 28th July, we went online using the ANTS website and applied for a Carte Grise, uploading all the documents requested including a Certificate of Conformity issued by the manufacturers who did the professional conversion on, as it was then, a brand new long wheelbase Peugeot Boxer van. Our timing, on reflection, could perhaps have been better as we were applying just as the August holidays were beginning and, to make matters worse, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. We were disappointed but not surprised to hear nothing of our application, beyond notifications that it had been received and was in the status of ‘Analyse par le Service Instructeur’. So we waited for more than 6 weeks until the day we received a notification that the Certificate of Conformity we had supplied was not acceptable.
We were confused and amazed at this as it is a genuine document produced by a certified and authorised manufacturer and indeed it actually states clearly that the vehicle has been converted to a motor caravan and conforms to the type set out in EU approval no e11*2007/46… and can be permanently registered in EU Member States. They refused to process our application further and said we had to present it to DREAL for inspection (for a fee of some 86 euros to obtain an RTI (Réception de Titre Isolé).
We completed all the paperwork and gathered all the documents they required, including a very complicated form with calculations of axle weights etc. and we delivered these to DREAL in Limoges personally to save time.
After 3 days DREAL emailed to say the EU type approval no on our certificate of conformity was not recognized in France. Our application was rejected.
Luckily for us, we were able to contact the manufacturers of the van conversion; They are called Auto-Sleepers and are based in Worcestershire. They have an extremely helpful, kind and well-qualified homologation engineer there who does all their certificates of conformity and he has helped us by contacting the authorities here in France to obtain a CNIT(Code National d’Identification du Type) code for our vehicle. Our man at Auto-Sleepers has been doing this for more than 25 years told us that they export 2 or 3 campervans a month and have never had to get a CNIT number to register a vehicle in France. He also said that they really shouldn’t need one anyway; We’re not sure if this has anything to do with the impending BREXIT situation though.
We have now re-applied for a carte grise, armed with this new information and await their, hopefully, favourable response.
We hope nobody else has had or will have such difficulty with what should have been a very straightforward process.

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Curious
How did you get on?

Still ongoing I’m afraid but some hint of progress last week. Last Thursday, six weeks and six days from the date of our second application, we received a message from the ANTS service asking for a copy of the original carte grise (UK V( document) , a copy of a valid proof of ID and a statement of our request. The latter seeming a bit odd as we were obviously asking for re-registration of our campervan! We responded immediately with the required details and documents and our actions were acknowledged so we await their response. Fingers (and everything else) crossed we may have a Christmas present of new number plates! :crossed_fingers

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Did you have a particular Christmas in mind? 2025 looks promising…

Based on my experience, when ANTS goes wrong, it goes very wrong. I ended up having to sell a vehicle back in the uk as ANTS refused to accept that my vehicle existed. It transpired they had mistyped two digits when they registered the type approval for my vehicle and henceforth “Il n’existe pas”.

But let’s hope that your situation is resolved very quickly - fingers crossed!

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I went through the registration process for my 2009 Autotrail back in 2019. It took about seven months from start to finish. Fiat initially provided a part C of C for the cab but it was found that the Maxi chassis type number wasn’t on the Euro-approved list, so further docs were required (at more expense!) from Fiat to confirm it met the Euro-approved spec.
C of Cs for motorhomes were not issued back in 2009, so I had to obtain an RTI from DREAL, an onerous but not unachievable process. That involved a gas installation inspection, weighbridge and submission of plans and calculations of weights etc, with a final inspection by DREAL.
The one pleasant surprise was that the Carte Grise cost was a mere €94 - a bargain!
It took about a month after submission of the application papers, from mid-Oct to mid-Nov for the CG to be sent to me, so if they’ve calculated your charge, you can hopefully expect some progress.
Good luck!

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Thanks Peter. It’s good to know that someone else out there has overcome this. We were beginning to think we would have to take the campervan back to the UK and sell it. :pensive:
Our situation is slightly different from yours in that ANTS told us we needed an RTI from DREAL but DREAL replied to us within days to say that they couldn’t deal with it and that the people who did the van conversion (Auto-Sleepers) had to contact UTAC directly. They wouldn’t tell us what they needed us to ask UTAC for though! Luckily, the wonderful homologation engineer at Auto-Sleepers had dealt with UTAC (or MINES), as he knew them) and he managed to get the magic CNIT number for the vehicle. Hopefully, all will now end well and we can keep the van here and use it as we hoped.
We’ll keep you informed.

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We got it! Our new registration number was issued today only four and a half months from our original application.
It cost us €293 though but at this stage we were not going to argue and cause further delay.
All we have to do now is make an appointment to get the new number plates made and attached, a trip to the insurance office to upgrade from basic to fully comprehensive insurance and wait for the Covid-19 restrictions to be lifted and we’re off!
Would we do it again? Definitely not! :crazy_face:

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That is actually not bad pricewise. It could have been a lot worse :blush:

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Brilliant! Well done!

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Indeed it could! No complaints from us today! We are so relieved and looking forward to our first road trip.
:grin:

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It must be such a relief! Happy driving :blush:

Thanks. I’m sure we will.

:smiley:

Result! :grin:

We are having pretty much the exact same problem at the moment with our 2017 Adria Matrix. It’s proving very frustrating indeed as it now appears we need 2 COC documents, one from Renault for the chassis (which we have finally obtained after months of chasing) and one from Adria for the motorhome element. One of our reasons for buying the Adria was the French built chassis and the fact that the exact same model was sold here too, we thought it should be straightforward.

ANTS aren’t much help - all they keep saying is the manufacturer must “do the necessary via UTAC”, which is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. What’s “the necessary” ?!! I’m only at the stage of realising the need for something from Adria because I’ve researched and read about other peoples’ problems. Adria, however, unfortunately don’t make it easy to contact them for anything.

Not heard or read before your post about the CNIT, that could be very helpful.

It’s all particularly frustrating when I got my 2007 Volvo registered here quickly and easily, you’d have thought a newer vehicle would be simpler!

Hi Richard,

Your situation is, as you say, pretty much the same as ours was and we’re happy to help if we can. Make yourselves a brew and settle down for a lengthy reply. :slight_smile:

We knew when we bought our motorhome that we would need a CoC from what we now know is called the 2nd stage manufacturer (AutoSleeper in our case). So éwe asked the dealer to make sure we had one when we collected the motorhome. We didn’t have the original Peugeot CoC for the chassis but we were lucky enough to be able to get a copy of it from AutoSleeper by contacting them directly. They wouldn’t normally hold onto them but we were fortunate that they still had ours on file! Their homologation engineer, who works on a freelance basis for them, just happened to be in the office the day we rang and he was so helpful and obliging. In case you, like us, have no idea what an homologation engineer is, he’s the person to pass the work done by the 2nd stage manufacturer.
So we sent the 2nd COC to ANTS who then told us, after a long wait, that, despite the COC saying that the vehicle could be registered in ANY member state, they did not recognise the ‘approval type’ and that we had to present a dossier to DREAL to have the vehicle and habitation inspected for them to issue an RTI (Réception de Titre Isolée) before they could proceed with our application. We presented our dossier, which was large enough to choke a donkey!) to DREAL in Limoges by hand and waited… After 3 days we received an email telling us to ask our 2nd stage manufacturer to contact UTAC as ANTS have told you to do. They wouldn’t tell us exactly what he had to ask for either. Not helpful! By the way, we don’t think this is something you can do for yourself as UTAC seem to only deal with qualified professionals.

Luckily, our friendly homologation engineer had already had dealings with UTAC in the past and he told us he would contact them on our behalf to get what we needed - a CNIT (Code National d’Identification de Type). After a few days, he emailed us copies of a covering letter from UTAC and a document detailing the ‘build specification’ of our motorhome and the CNIT for that specification. If you look up CNIT number you’ll see it’s a 12 character code which defies the vehicle characteristics and it eventually appears on the Carte Grise when it’s issued. That’s all they want! But they don’t make any of that clear!

We were almost at the point of driving our motorhome back to the UK and selling it to be honest because the French authorities made it all so difficult and without the amazing help of the wonderful guy at AutoSleeper, we would have had to concede.

We were more confident (but not much) when we made our 2nd application to ANTS armed with our CNIT code. After another 7 weeks, they asked us for more information to prove identity etc and finally issued the Carte Grise a mere FOUR AND A HALF MONTHS after our initial application!

Just for balance, our French friends and neighbours also despair of anything to do with vehicle immatriculation and this was our first bad experience with French authorities.

If we can be of any help, just yell. And please let us know how you get on.

:grin:

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Hi Les

Superb reply, thank you very much. I feel more confident knowing what it is I’m likely to be looking for, and what to ask Adria for in detail. They must have their own homologation engineer/department, being a bigger firm than AutoSleepers .

As you say, the whole business would be a lot simpler if only ANTS would actually communicate properly and/or the websites with information from the government departments actually gave all the details! Hopefully with the benefit of your information DREAL will be irrelevant, and UTAC not a problem via Adria.

We certainly don’t want to give up on this van - we’d have to take it back to the UK to sell and probably make a huge loss on it. Besides, it suits us just beautifully.

I agree with what you say about experience with the authorities in general - my neighbours also all just roll their eyes and sigh. My only real gripe is with the lack of communication, so you never know where you are in any process. Did have good news a week or so back though, and as a result I’m off to the prefecture in Tours on Tuesday for my photos and fingerprints for my Carte de Sejour, that’s only taken 4 months…now we only need them to hurry up and finish OH’s Assurance Maladie application that’s been going on since June!

Will let you know what happens next"

All this incredible fandango for professionally coachbuilt campers. What is their problem? The ‘authorities’, I mean. All the above makes it a cast-iron, copper-bottomed, yard-wide certainty that one should not even dream of trying to register a self-build. I have had to give up on mine.

When lockdown is lifted in UK and people can come and look at it, it’ll be for sale, sadly.

The answer to why this should be is a comment by my pal French Franck. “Chris: France is very highly regulated society.”

If only the mechanisms and processes of this high level of regulation worked in a timely and transparent way.

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Hi Les

As promised, an update for you!

Armed with your information, we obtained a copy of the COC from Adria via our dealer in the UK. Luckily for us, they sold the vehicle when it was new to another couple before us, and had the document on file. Otherwise we no doubt would have had to pay Adria several hundred pounds for one.

More in hope than expectation, on Friday I uploaded the Adria doc to ANTS. By now my glass was well and truly half empty, I expected them to say non monsieur.

To my complete amazement, today I had an email saying please pay for it and it’s all completed! 411 euros later and we now have a carte grise on the way! And a text a few minutes later with our new reg no.

As it’s a 3.8t van, I now have to get speed stickers for the rear end, a weights label, and the latest nonsense blind spot stickers. All of which is crazy for a vehicle of exactly the same dimensions as one plated to 3.5t. The only difference on ours is semi-air suspension meaning it gets the weight upgrade so we can carry more than just a packet of crisps as payload. But I am so pleased and relieved I don’t care!

Now to get it insured here…

Can’t thank you enough for your information here, it made all the difference just knowing what I was looking for.

Great news! Thanks for letting us know. We are so happy that we have helped a little too. Maybe we’ll meet you in an aire somewhere on our travels. Bon voyages, bon vacances et bon courage! :grin: