Keeping a UK registered vehicle in France

I have been reading some conflicting info on the internet on how you can insure your UK registered car in France, fully comp, without having to re-register it in France. My husband is the main policy holder on our car but he will be living and working in the UK every other week. The car will remain at the airport in France that he intends to fly from/to. He will obviously then drive it for the most part whilst he is in France.

I have obtained a green card from our UK insurers for the 6 weeks summer holiday but then they will not be able to offer fully comp insurance after that.

I would not worry so much about 3rd party if it was an old car, unlikely to be stolen, but it is a new car which would be expensive to lose!

Does anyone have any advice on how they dealt with their vehicle when moving it abroad?

Many thanks


I couldnt agree are bang on with that last comment Finn...

Agree with Finn, they should accept a CofC in English and it is only misinformed or awkward Prefecture staff that tell you otherwise.

I have registered two UK vehicles, both with English CofC and attempted to register two motorcycles, both with English CofC, one being a BMW. The cars were fine but the bikes were rejected, although nothing to do with the CofC, which were accepted in English.

I have to agree with other posters that it is illegal to keep the car in France and not register it. You may have insurance from the UK company, but I would not like to predict the outcome should you ever need to claim on it. As previously mentioned, insurance companies are very good at finding ways of not paying. Imagine if you had an accident and there was a personal injury claim against you (all too common these days). The cost does not bear thinking about if the insurance company decided not to pay.

We decided to move back to the UK....all in all....we just happen to prefer things there and we have had a great few years here...but the UK for us wins on balance.....but we adhered to all the requirements of moving to another country when we came to France. We pay our taxes here in France...(we are retired and are being double taxed at the moment...but that will be sorted soon)...we registered our car here within the requisite time given; yes often we are castigagted for complaining about some of the rules we find irritating...for instance all the cr*p you have to carry to be legal on the roads..breathalyser/triangle/documents blah blah blah....and sometimes my irritation with the fact that the French are not keen on employing any other Europeans..despite the 'free access of Europeans for living, working, health etc' plus the fact that we have to pay in full for our we are not quite retirement age....but in the UK any European can access free NHS a lot of people we know who 'love living in France' and think we should go back to Blighty if we dont like it here.....dont like it enough to actually commit to living here. They dont register their car...they still access free NHS healthcare if they want to.....they dont pay their taxes here...despite living here more than half the to me that isnt someone that loves France and really wants to live here....that is someone who is playing the system....or am I wrong?

It's not scare mongering, it's about honesty and doing the right thing when it is the law. The example Mark gave was perhaps a strong example, but what does it actually take to get through, that those people who are driving on English plates for more than 12 months are taking a risk and breaking the law. There are far too many people who have the attitude that the law doesn't apply to them and sadly there are a few in this particular discussion.It is also sad that you have come to this beautiful country but choose not to embrace it entirely. I don't see what problem anyone has with transferring over, unless it is that you feel that you cannot deal with the French admin or perhaps the language. Just take a little step back and look at your response, quite offensive and certainly not constructive, and just plain bloody minded.

That is WELL worth knowing - thank you to you and Finn!

Been driving since I was 17 and am 53 now ,never had a bump or so much as a ticket I don’t plan on that changing,I just don’t get you scare mongers sometimes I would never leave a serious incident and it’s always lets throw in running a kiddie over for the guilt trip,just laughable, the reality is I pay my insurance the police stop me from time to time and are satisfied with what I produce, they dont ask me to do anything but be on my merry way so stick that in your pipe and smoke it…

Speed camera. You'll get caught with this eventually when the reciprocal agreement comes in which is currently in discussion. Can't remember where I read it though. And, if there are witnesses does anyone really think that France can't cross reference with the UK? You can run, but you can't hide indefinitely. I am with you Mark. There are so many people who think they are above the law!!!!!!!!

Judith, This is what the DVLA website says

Taking your vehicle abroad for more than 12 months (permanent export)

When a vehicle registered in the United Kingdom (UK) is taken out of the country for 12 months or more, it’s regarded as being permanently exported from the UK.

You can tell DVLA by filling in the section ‘Notification of Permanent Export’ (V5C/4) of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C), and send it to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BD. Keep the rest of the registration certificate, as you may need this to re-register the vehicle abroad. Your vehicle will become subject to the legal requirements of the new country when exported.

Please note the last sentence...

a few years ago I imported my 2 yr old KIA Sedona into France, and the process was a doddle.. How much is uk road tax.. the first year saving pays for the headlamps. The CoC is about 120€ from most vehicle distrbutors here in France. You will need a "quitis fiscale" from the local French tax office.. to verify the vehicle isn't a "Grey import" and all due taxes have been paid[the original purchase receipt covers this].. IF, the vehicle is less than 4 yrs old.. it does not need a CT.. and no one asked me to produce evidence of the headlamps complying. I downloaded the papers from the Prefecture.. some of it i couldn't left blank.. yes i know, the fonctionaires will have a field day!!.. I filled in the section of the V5 for permanent export and went to the prefecture in Perigueux with papers in hand and passed them under the window.. the woman asked something.. but having only been in france for 2 months, I was lost.. she filled in the spaces.. gave me a number and said to wait.. 10 minutes later, my number was called.. i paid 290€..and walked out with the carte grise.. 23€ for a set of plates and fited... job done.. I find MACIF to be very good and the guy in Bergerac couldn't wait to practice his English on me to get me the best deal.. Happy motoring guys..

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Where on earth did you get this information?? If you have exported the car it is because you no longer live at the address shown on your log book, or even in the UK. Why would a foriegn country allow you to drive a car whose keeper cannot be found? You have no choice but to re register your car!

So, Steve, if you were to be involved in a serious incident & you drove away, how could the Gendarmes find you?

At the moment you cannot be traced, OK for speed cameras but not if you knocked over a child so it is WRONG!

When will people wake up & do what they should insead of bending the law to save a couple of hundred quid? Just how tight are these people?

Well i've never liked the idea of prison, I don't think I'd take to the food and one or two other things best left to the imagination but a *french* prison.......nah!

It can be a challenge registering a UK vehicle especially if it's a bit oddball. I've just spent a large part of the day in Poitiers préfecture trying to register a MZ motorcycle. Despite it being bought new in the Irish republic and having purchased a very expensive CoC, the bike wasn't on any database and they didn't recongnise the format of the reg doc. This lead to quite a bit of amusing dialogue in front of the other 30 or so people in the queue but despite being handed back all the docs (twice) I stood my ground without getting at all cross (essential). The supervisor was called and all was eventually OK'd. A similar problem was then found getting insurance 'cos it wasn't on that database either.

To anyone in a similar situation, make 101% sure you have all the docs specified on and print the requirement and take it with you. This helped me argue my case no end. Whatever, get that vehicle properly registered or face the signifiant consequences when it all goes horribly wrong. I had a life threatening motor accident in 1980 and can still remember the police going through every last little detail of the vehicle's paperwork. Imagine that in a foreign country especially if you've been blagging it for a few years!

I think, Finn, Glen is referring to the Quitus Fiscal, showing that TVA is/is not due. An export certificate is not necessary.

well of course...anyone driving on 'the wrong side of the road' ie...the right bound to have their licence questioned...stands to reason!

Lots of interesting things happen that the French Hotel manager who wouldnt employ a Brit because they didnt have a work permit..! hadnt realised the law had changed about 100 years ago!!!

I agree with you Carol, I couldn't do it and it would be something really stupid that would catch you out … years ago, I knew someone from the UK who lived in L.A. in the States illegally and he had everything, bank accounts etc etc set up to the ninth degree, … you'd never know he didn't have a green card and then one day, after years as an illegal alien, he got stopped for jaywalking … he was in a hurry and crossed when the pedestrian light was red and was spotted by a policeman, who started asking him awkward questions and took exception against him and run all his papers etc through the computer and he ended up getting a letter telling him to leave … actually, thinking about it, this is years and years ago too, I knew someone else from the UK who lived in one of the Canyons off Sunset Boulevard and kept his head down as an illegal alien and one day, there was a fatal shoot out in the night in the house next door, which hadn't woken him up and when he stepped out the next day for the newspaper, there were loads of cops there with news people and cameramen, shoving mikes and cameras up his nose trying to interview him. There was this wonderful clip of him on the news with a horrified expression on his face as he realised his nice quiet existence had just been blown. As you say, an accident waiting to happen …

I imported my car to France 3 years ago and got the CoC from the car is an Agila so Vauxhall in the UK and Opel here...and the English CoC was accepted without question. I then as you say, changed the headlights...and as it was over 5 years old, a control technique....then we had to trail along to several offices to finally be awarded the Carte Grise!

I got my C of C from BMW Paris with no problems.

We had this problem, our C of C was English and we bought it there because it was twice the price here, but the law changed early this year and they CANNOT refuse. We took in the print from an official on line document that our local garage gave to us. If you trawl the following site you should find it somewhere and the CT couldn't refuse us then. It was also sent in a bulletin to all CT centres. I still have a copy of it but it is in the loft of my gite which is rented out at the moment, so can't get access. Will look it out when it is free. But the gist of it is that if you are from an EU member state then it is valid in any EU country.