Certificat d'immatriculation

Does anyone out there know if it is legal to use your vehicle on the roads while going through the importation hoops/process to get the French carte Gris? Are there any legal references available? Many thanks in advance.

Beware of insurance companies cancelling your cover and not telling you. That happened to my son, he was pulled up by the police and it cost him a lot in fines and points. Just to rub salt into open wounds the courts failed to send out the court dates he was supposed to appear in . It was one great big expensive mess

Just managed to get the link up John. Thanks for that.

You are right John! That’s not what I wanted to hear but if that’s how it is then that’s how it is unfortunately. How do you know this? Glad you managed to get everything completed Suzanne.

I know I was slow in exporting it (definitely outside the 1m window!) - but I did keep the MOT, insurance (with 3m green card) and road tax to date. I go back to the UK every 6-8 weeks with the car so kept everything up to date. It has been on my list of jobs to re-register it though and so I finally sorted out the French paper work two weeks ago and have this week changed over plates and insurance with the carte grise which I received on Monday.

One thing I would say for married ladies is to make sure you take your marriage certificate and birth certificate with you for the immatriculation as I needed these so they could put the car in my name. The chap who I took with me sailed through his process without either of these, whereas I had to return my papers to the local mairie and waited an extra week for my CG.

The insurance was a bit tricky as my UK insurance doesn't run out till Sunday but as the CG came through Monday I felt I should change the insurance to my french insurer immediately as I'm not sure the UK insurance would have covered the car if it has been exported, although my french insurer wanted to start the policy from Sunday. In the end I asked for it to start immediately and I now have to write a letter to cancel the planned french policy for a Sunday commencement as I've in fact taken out a different policy (same insurer). Slightly confusing why they couldn't just change the start date (given I couldn't specify the exact start date as I had no idea when the CG would be delivered). But it's done now.

Suzanne, A car has to be legal in the country where it is registered. If you become resident in France you have a month while you are able to use your UK plated car with its UK road tax, current MOT (if over 3 years old) and UK insurance. Once you have registered yor car in France it must remain legal here. There are a lot of UK cars on French roads which flout these rules.

Sending the Permanently Exported slip to the DVLA is to protect yourself; if the DVLA believes that your car is in the UK without road tax or insurance you will be fined!

Jill, Your vehicle would not have been legal to drive in France after May 2015 so certainly not legal to drive in France or England in December! It became legal once you had the CG, French plates and French insurance.

An exported UK vehicle with its UK plates French insurance should not have been on the A20 in Kent. Probably not what you want to hear but those are the facts.

2 weeks ago I needed an Original Certificate of Conformity (she wouldn't accept a photocopy) as the sous-prefecture. It wasn't needed for the CT as item K on the V5 was completed but the sous prefecture definitely needed it.

Can someone confirm if the V5 export notice should be sent off before the carte grise is received or after? My understanding (from the lady in the sous prefecture) was that the french authorities will notify the DVLA once they have imported the car and I should send off my V5 export bit once I'd received the carte grise - which I received on Monday and so I have now posted off the V5 export notice. This meaning that my tax, MOT and insurance were valid in the UK and France until the date of the carte grise. On receiving the carte grise I have changed my insurance to French insurance and as there are only 2 weeks left on the UK rioad tax I've just binned it.

It is not clear when the V5 export notice should be sent off to the UK though - Jill I'm right in reading that you sent yours off in April 2014 as intent to re-register even though the car wasn't officially imported to France until 12th Dec. So in the meantime I think you should have still had valid UK tax, MOT and insurance? Can anyone confirm from a legal position as I think this would help others. I know people who have also done as Jill did, personally I waited till I had all the paperwork registered in France before declaring it as actually exported but I know others who have notified as intention to be exported before the paperwork has been processed in France and they've stopped paying UK road tax and only relying on a french CT. IMO (and I may be wrong) I see this as not being compliant with UK law so the validity of UK insurance would be interesting) but there must be someone who can clarify?

OK, brace yourselves - I will try to be as brief as possible however...... Thank you to those who have replied thus far.

The situation is that we started the official importation process of our Merc Sprinter truck (3.5 ton) last year. The V5c went off to the DVLA in April 2014 to say it was to be permanently exported. French insurance was obtained in June 2014 with Allianz in France when the UK insurance ran out. Securitest was obtained in July 2014 after the safety bars were fitted. COC was sent off for, to Merc Paris in July also. This did not materialise and after three 'chases' by email and also letter, they finally wrote and told me (end September by now!) we had sent a cheque for too little. The cheque for the correct amount of 150 euros was then sent off and we waited once more. And waited! It finally arrived in November. Then there was a visit to the treasury offices to get the TVA form. Once all that was gathered together, we finally applied for the certificat d'immatriculation. This was received on Dec 12th December 2014.

On bringing a load of our personal items back from the UK to France, my husband was apparently 'clocked' by the DVLA as having no tax on the A20 in Kent on December 8th 2014.

We were unaware of this until a notice of a court fine from Mid Kent Court arrived saying I owed them £840. This paperwork was sent to my previous UK address (my mothers house) but I had never received the summons to attend court in May 2015 there although some of my mail does still get sent and is received there. I am in the process of getting them to reopen the case on the strength of this.

Having spoken to a UK lawyer, he is of the opinion that if it is legal to drive the vehicle in France during the importation process and particularly only four days from completion, then it is legal to drive in the UK.

Add to this, the DVLA will not confirm what date we notified the vehicle export to them as we do not have a utility bill address in UK.

All helpful comments and suggestions gratefully received. Many thanks.

I am just going through exactly this process for a trailer. Depends on the nature of the vehicle. Can it be assumed that you are talking about a car? Mine was a UK imported catering trailer and the answer was no, I was not meant to use it until I had a registration plate. However we used our UK VW Golf and Vaux Vivaro van on UK plates right up until we got our new French plates. My trailer has been sitting on private land for 4 months as I would not be able to use it as I did not have a legal French number plate. The Cert. of Conf. remains primordial for the moment. Both the Prefecture and DREAL need it. Hope I have been able to help.

So it looks as though the COC (EU Certificate of Conformity) is still a legal requirement then? I thought they were going to remove the need for this expensive sheet of A4 paper?

It is legal to use your car during the registration period but it should be fully legal in the country that you have brought it from. If this is the UK it needs to have an MOT, road tax and UK insurance. Technically you have one month after taking up residence to register but this can be extended if you have problems.