So you want to import a UK car?


(Andrew Hough) #21

I agree Anna, we are talking here about a French Registered car, insured at a French addtess, perfectly legal, regardless of where your main residence is. As long as you are contactable at the registered address for admin/legal purposes, that’s why they ask for the proof.
I very much doubt the Gendarmes or Nationales would look twice when they stop a vehicle that is correctly registered/insured/ct’d etc.
We bought a Motorhome, before we actually move to France, as it was a good price, ready for when we get there. Easy and no laws bent, certainly not broken.


(Mark Rimmer) #22

When you say “perfectly legal” how do you know? Have you found the french legislation which confirms this or have you just assumed that it is? Not a dig, but we must be sure that we are not giving misleading information. I often hear statements concerning cars that something is perfectly legal when I know full well that it isn’t. Although I have access to chapter & verse on that item they would rather accept anecdotal info if it suits them better.
On the issue of non french residents (i.e. those whose main residence is elsewhere) owning french registered vehicles it would be good to see legislation to confirm or deny this.

caradisiac.com, a french automobile information site had this on their forum

"Living abroad, I want to buy a car in France.

“I am domiciled in the USA and want to buy a car in France for my European trips. Is it true that I have to be domiciled in France to buy such a car?”

Pierre Barreyre’s response

Caradisiac’s lawyer

Absolutely. But you can have your family members or friends provide you with a certificate of domicile."

The last part is particularly interesting! It does imply that proof of a residence rather than proof of residency is what is required. Semantics again.


(Andrew Hough) #23

Mark you appear to be quoting an expert on a commercial car selling site. That is not a quote of the applicable French Law.
Please show me where it says that I cannot legally own a car in France that is registered to my French address (where I am fully contactable) insured to me and road legal.
The ownership of the vehicle was passed to be by my dealer, whom I paid a substantial amout of money, they registered the vehicle to me and my wife at my French address (of which I had to provide proof), and I ensured the vehicle was insured before I collected it. It does not need a CT yet.
I do not understand what your issue is with this.
I understand there will be issues with getting UK write offs registered and made legal in France, but that is a different issue entirely.


(Mark Rimmer) #24

Yes, I am. The answer is from a french lawyer though. I am not saying that anyone is right or wrong as I have yet to see irrefutable proof either way. I have no issue with this because I do not know. You, on the other hand, state that you you have bent no laws, certainly not broken any. Your confidence on the legality of your situation must surely be based on intimate knowledge of the french legal system, so in which case could you share it with us?


(anon54681821) #25

from what i understand is they will provide insurance now on the understanding that you will swap to fr plates. they normally say 6 months.

i know 1 person at least who did not do this had an accident and tried to claim and it was found he had revoked insurance. If you dont read french make sure a french person who understand god english reads them and translates for you to ensure your not misunderstanding something or ignoring something they have told you to do


(anon54681821) #26

regards to the law itself its a very grey area. there is no law that says you must but you can be ordered to change it.


(stella wood) #27

I think EU folk are treated differently to non-EU folk (Americans for example) .


(Timothy Cole) #28

Thanks for the advice , perhaps I’ll ask you to translate for me next time I get stuck.

Don’t really care as my RHD van now has shiny new French plates, just to need to get the insurance changed and when I do I’ll have a go at the agent for giving me a year’s invalid insurance cover. Perhaps I should report them to the authorities or the French equivalent of Watchdog.


(Andrew Hough) #29

Why be so argumentative. I have followed procedures and acted in good faith at all times. Therefore it is my belief I have acted in a lawful manner if I were to be challenged.
I have never claimed to be an expert, it is you that has made such assumptions about me. I have not been as discourteous to you. If I have I apologise


(Mark Rimmer) #30

Sorry Andrew, not being argumentative at all. I am not saying that you are wrong but we must all be careful in our use of words. You clearly use the phrase that you are perfectly legal. Truth is you only think that you are (& you may well be). None of us can be be 100% sure without sight of the actual law. All I have done is find a couple of sites which indicate that the law might be different, one is the EU’s own site & one quotes a motoring lawyer. There are many ex-pat sites which contradict these two, however, but also fail to offer any evidence.

All I am saying is that no-one should say that something is legal unless they really know & can prove it.
I recently came across this problem where a person gave the advice that UK headlights with stickers on the lenses was perfectly legal as the local CT station had passed them. They are not & I was able to quote chapter & verse from the agency responsible for test procedures. The reply was that they must be as the CT tester is employed by the government (they are not) so must know. The reality is that the NEW CT which does not come in to force until May actually does allow stickers on UK headlights but they have to be super accurately placed. The humble tester may have been confused.
Just because something is accepted does not mean that it is legal. I had to tow a car back to my workshop recently & my rigid bar could not be used so I used a rope instead. A gendarmerie car followed me for a short while & then overtook me & disappeared. The rope was clearly visible to them but they ignored my illegal use of it. It would be wrong of me to assume that using a rope must be legal just because of their inaction. It would be VERY wrong to go on to a site like this & tell everyone so.
It is a matter of caution & my words are not meant as a criticism.
I tend to agree with you that what you have done to register your camper certainly seems to meet the criteria as it appears on the government web site & I would be farly confident that a sensible gendarme would be happy with your paperwork. You have certainly taken the trouble to tick all the boxes - there are many brits who do not bother & deliberately ignore vital paperwork. It is they who are a menace.

I did warn that I would be playing Devil’s advocate in this thread!


(Dominic Best) #31

Presumably you are trying to regain your alpha position. National law overrules EU law. If France did not want to allow holiday home owners to register cars here they would ensure that it was impossible. Devil’s Advocate or not I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove.


(Mark Rimmer) #32

Damn, rumbled!

So national law overrules EU law? Brexiteers must be told - Brexit a mistake!


(Mark Rimmer) #33

Yes, I need therapy.


(Dominic Best) #34

At last we agree!


(Andrew Hough) #35

You can’t beat the old Devils Avacado!
I agree Mark, there are many who do not try to follow the procedure who can make things difficult for the rest of us.
It is difficult when you do not have chapter and verse inbfront of you, to apply either as a gendarme or member of public. There is also as you state discretion used, which benefits both sides when it is not abused.
Then you also have the times when whatever law is applied and yet it is then challenged and sometimes amended.

Oh yeah, I have the Joys of taking my 2012 Citroen C1 over to register in a few weeks when we move over. As you say conflicting advice from so many sources.
One thing that does confuse me though is the MOT less than 6 months old and not (necessarily?) then requiring a CT. How do they know the headlights conform??

A challenge ahead methinks!


(Dominic Best) #36

You can register a car with an MOT less than six months old and the first CT will be due when the MOT expires. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the lights conform you will not be asked for proof that you changed them.
There is no need to worry about conflicting information, go straight to the horse’s mouth.
https://immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr/Vos-demarches/Immatriculer-un-vehicule-d-occasion-en-provenance-de-l-etranger/Pieces-a-fournir-pour-un-vehicule-d-occasion-precedemment-immatricule-dans-l-Union-Europeenne2


(David Martin) #37

The process has always been straightforward but people have always tried to take short cuts. If you have ensured that all the boxes are ticked there are no hidden obstacles to overcome. The online system is brand new and, at the moment slow but there are plenty of people around who have been through the system and come out the other side with their CG. The real problem with the online system is that there is no room for error. If a box was not ticked when you submitted your paperwork at the prefecture it was pointed out there and then; online you will have to wait for the rejection and the wait could be weeks.


(anon88888878) #38

Woaaaahhhh - that’s just nasty - reign it in Dominic!


(Dominic Best) #39

I picked up the forms that I need to exchange my driving licence from the prefecture today. Along with them they gave me a tick list to ensure I send the correct supporting documents. Interestingly it asks for proof of having ya residence and residence. The usual electricity bill will cover the former but a work contract or tax return is needed for the latter. If only French residents were allowed to register cars in France they would ask for similar evidence then as well. However all they require is proof that you have a residence, not that you’re a resident.


(Mark Rimmer) #40

You were exchanging a foreign driving licence for a french one so they would need to check that you have the right to have a french one, thus the need to prove that your principal residence is here. French authorities, in common with the rest of the world, cannot issue driving licences to residents of another country.
As one has to be a french resident to own a french car the authorities would naturally assume that the proof of address would be your principal residence. A fair assumption being that 99.999% of vehicles are indeed registered by those who live here.