Following a recent discussion on this subject & the semantics involved with advice, I have taken Stella’s & started a new thread on the subject.
All comments & views are welcome but I would ask that these should be pertinent & above all, polite.
Most of us will be familiar with the documentary requirements of the french government in order to undertake an import so I will not reproduce the full list here. Sometimes, however, there can be differences between the web site & reality. There is a clear need for the V5c or, the web site says, if that has been retained by the authorities, an official document issued by those authorities stating this fact. One such document is form V561, a certificate of permanent export.
One of the other documents required is a quitus fiscal, issued by larger tresor public offices in your area. In order to obtain one (to be able to proceed with the process), you must submit the following documents (original and photocopies)
the purchase invoice or transfer certificate, **the registration document obtained in the foreign country**, identification, in the name of the person who purchased the vehicle, proof of residence in France.
The above is also from the government web site. Line 2 is of concern here - there is no mention of an official document if you do not have a V5c! You are dealing with the tax office now, not the french equivalent of DVLA.
You are now one to one with a tax person who might not be familiar with UK forms or even the language so although they will recognise a V5c a CPE could be something entirely new. In my experience this document has always been rejected at this point which stops the whole process though experiences in other departments will differ. In Riberac & Barbezieux it is no quitus, no registration (I confirmed this on Friday).
The fun actually begins when you travel back to the UK with the aim of buying a car to use here. The seller is required to put the buyer’s details on the logbook & return it to DVLA. If, however, the new keeper has a non UK address they are unable to provide a new one. The buyer will be sent a CPE to his french address. Road tax is not transferable to a new keeper & UK insurance is only valid on a UK reg car. You are now in posession of an unregistered car but on now invalid UK plates, no road tax & no insurance. Your only option is to transport the car to France on a transporter or trailer.
“Can I use my car here while I am getting it registered?” Good question & you will get different answers depending on the bar room lawyer you are talking to. Personally I prefer to use common sense as information on this can be very contradictory. For instance one source states that for a UK reg car to be legally used in other countries it must be UK taxed, UK insured, UK MOT’d & owned by a UK resident. All true, but EU rules also state that it is acceptable for a car from one member state to be insured by a company in another member state for a period of 30 days in order that the car can be used while the registration process is going through. I think the contradiction is there for all to see.
The french authorities, although sticklers for correct paperwork, are generally sensible too & can be very helpful.
SORN. This is the Statutory Off Road Notification. UK car owners who lay up their cars for any length of time & do not want to fall foul of the continuous tax & insurance trap can notify DVLA of this & a SORN will be issued. The car cannot be used or parked on a public road whilst sorned.
Is it legal to SORN a car after purchase & bring it over here? The DVLA web site says that your vehicle must stay in the UK for your SORN to be valid. It does NOT say that it is illegal or an offence to take a SORNed vehicle abroad, though. The wording is important! An out-of-date credit card is not “valid” but it is not illegal to have one. Semantics.
We have all seen quite a few UK reg cars which have been used for a long time over here & I certainly do not approve. Many of these cars may not have insurance or even have had a CT or MOT for years. Most should certainly not be on the road. Some have actually been exported or put on a sorn. You can check the vehicle’s status by using this https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax. (The site has a link to the Motor Insurance Database to check insurance but this is only for your own car. You can check other cars but only by committing an offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998).
We have every right to be angry at these chancers as we use the same roads - the uninsured accident they might have could be with us!
So how can we drive our imported but untaxed UK reg cars legally on french roads while organising to register it here? I will leave that to you to tell me. I will be playing devil’s advocate though - nothing personal!
A bit of homework for you all -
A man on holiday in his fully legal UK reg car has a little accident. The car, though quite old, is a very tidy low mileage example but is still not worth a huge amount. The car is towed to a garage & in due course a quote is sent to the UK insurers & as the car is a prestige brand the few replacement parts are very expensive to the point that the cost of repair is greater than its insured value. The insurance company write it off without sending an assessor to look at it as it is in a foreign country. They do not want to transport the car back either. The owner is paid out & the logbook surrendered. The car is logged as a category A or B which means that the car must be destroyed. This is automatic & it shields the insurance company from any future liability. It is not based on their assessor’s report.
The owner is told that he can keep the car & do what he likes with it but he is shocked at the thought of destroying an almost perfect car & returns to the UK without the car but still owning it. Here it sits, ignored, in a garage compound for 3 years. After much correspondence the insurance company agree to reclassify the write-off category to a class C - uneconomical to commercially repair - which now means that it CAN be repaired if someone wants to pay for it & be put back on the road. The vehicle is duly sold & properly repaired.
The new owner wishes to keep it in France but needs either a V5c or similar document in order to register it. There are no papers with the car & DVLA records show the car as a vehicle which should be scrapped.
How does the new owner proceed in order to register it here?