So you want to import a UK car?


(Paul Flinders) #61

I’m only speculating - I don’t need to worry about this situation but the response, while clear, does not seem to specifically address the situation where someone’s only address in France is a maison secondaire.

What options, then, exist for someone with property in France, and a need for a car, but who flies in - perhaps a Brit who lives in the north of England (or in Scotland) but with property in the South of France, or a US citizen for whom flying is the only option.

It seems rental is the only option but a regular visitor might consider buying an older vehicle more cost effective. Is it utterly impossible for them to buy a vehicle in France?


(Dominic Best) #62

No. Your arrogance is immense. Your understanding of the law is not as has been shown in black and white.


(anon88888878) #63

Woaaahhhh - too much Dominic !! :no_entry::no_entry::no_entry:


(Timothy Cole) #64

Don’t let it stop now Simon.


(James Higginson) #65

Hi Dominic,

Can you please be a little less aggressive? Everyone is free to their own opinion here without being verbally attacked.


(Mark Rimmer) #66

Hi Paul, the crucial word is “principal” & refers to an individual’s main dwelling, wherever in the world that is. A UK resident’s principal residence will be in the UK so they would be unable to register a french registered car to that UK address. As it is necessary that the principal address of the owner is the one that the car needs to be registered to a UK resident can bring a UK reg car here to leave at his holiday home but it would need to be UK road legal in all aspects. This would mean returning to the UK for an MOT.
To register to a holiday home in France would probably be regarded as a technical rather than a criminal offence though although I cannot say how your insurance status would be affected in the event of a serious accident.


(Paul Flinders) #67

This much is obvious - but quite onerous.

I should stress I am not saying that you are wrong, the link you gave is quite clear.

However, given that it is impossible for a non French resident individual to register a car in France you can see why people are prepared to bend the rules if they can get away with it.

The only thing that surprises me is that some apparently do “get away with it”.


(Mark Rimmer) #68

I have only reported the official regulations in my posts & have refrained from passing judgement on those who do not comply, it is not my job! However, I don’t think having to return your car to the UK once a year is too much to ask. After all, a holidaymaker is only a guest in that country even if they have bought the property. Those who move permanently have more privilages because they have made more commitments.
Too many want their cake & eat it too.
Those who “get away with it” can put that down to most areas not needing a heavy police presence combined with the fact that the average gendarme does not have an encyclopedic knowledge of motoring law as it refers to foreigners.


(Charles Field) #69

Is it necessary, for all persons purchasing a car in France, to prove they are a French resident?
If not where is the logic in the ruling.


(Timothy Cole) #70

The UK resident couple we sold our previous house to here brought to France a UK registered Peugeot 206 to keep at their maison secondaire, it has since been re-registered. Monsieur is a former Ambassador and a stickler for getting things right and there is no way he would risk any possible grief from the authorities for the sake of near worthless vehicle. Looks like I’m going to have to tell him he’s breaking the law.


(stella wood) #71

:sunglasses: Sounds more like diplomatic immunity… :upside_down_face::grin:


(Mark Rimmer) #72

There are 65 million people who live in France. It would be fair to assume that practically all of them have their principal residence here too. I would imagine that asking everyone to prove it every time a car changes hands would very soon become vey annoying for those concerned.
If it was only those who looked foreign were asked then that might be considered racist.
The government web site already says that your car must be registered to your principal address as it is in all EU countries & it is for the honest citizen to abide by that, not for the authorities to check everyone to see who is lying (purposefully or through ignorance).
When you leave a shop you are not asked if you have stolen anything as it is assumed that you haven’t & quite frankly I would soon get pretty angry at having my honesty questioned all the time.
The authorities have every reason to believe that their citizens are law abiding until they have to prove otherwise. I think that this is a fundamental rule, innocent until proven guilty?


(Charles Field) #73

Whereas I agree with with you that the rule exsists, I was not aware of it until I read this thread. I have re-registered 2 cars and 2 motorcycles over the past 10 yrs and at no time was asked if the address for registration was my principle address or a holiday home despite being obviously British with Uk passport and driving licence.
At no time did I think it was necessary to check a “government website” to check the validity of my actions.
One would assume that if this ruling/law was so important, anyone obviously not a French national would be asked the question.


(Mark Rimmer) #74

It applies to french residents rather than french nationals. It’s all to do with “political correctness”. Why would you question a person about his residency? Accent? Colour? Ethnic background?
Would you go on holiday to Thailand for two weeks & expect to be able to buy a car - registered to your hotel room, of course.

Ignorance of the law is no defence. Here are a few other french laws that you might not be aware of:-
A woman needs permission from the police to dress like a man.
Everyone must have a bail of hay at home.
Illegal to kiss whilst train is at the platform.
It is illegal to carry live snails on a French high-speed train, unless they have a ticket.


(Mark Rimmer) #75

There is a good point raised by Charles’ post about proof of residence in France & points out that he has registered a few vehicles in the past few years & has not been asked if the address given was his principal address.

This is a fine example of why sites such as SFN are so important as sources of information & guidance - we do not know everything about everything although the information is out there. We don’t need to know until we need to know! Tax advice? An expert is here. Business? Health services? Here. Motoring…?

Charles may not have registered a car recently so the next time he does he will discover that it is now done online. He will need an ANTS account to do this. He will need to register with France Connect to use some of the services too. To join through France Connect you simply use one of the following details - Ameli, Impots, IDN La Poste or Mobile Connect et moi. The biggest problem new residents have is that they do not yet have these accounts set up so find that they cannot register a car. Of course, this is not a problem for established residents.

This might also be news to some other readers but why would you know? It is not a concern until you have to do it.


(jacqueline barnsley) #76

We have had problems recently with a car that brought over was from the UK,taxed and MOT’d but insured here in France where we live, It was legal according to our insurance agent for all european travel , when we visited the UK we were fined for no insurance, when DVLA were advised that we had insurance to cover all european travel and that the police were happy we were covered the DVLA said it was not valid and we had to SORN the car.
We have since being trying to register the car here and to obtain the CARTE GRISE which has become an absolute farce,.
We have a La Poste account as advised by prefecture and I had to have my passport verified by my postman, We are still unable to get the Carte Grise due to non compatability of La Poste account with the ANTS site?? after multiple visits to our prefecture we are still no further on, the prefecture staff have no answers for us and have suggested we try getting on to France connect using someone elses Ameli or Impots ID as we as yet have neither of these .
It would be interesting if there is anyone on this site who does not yet pay tax here or have Ameli and if they have managed to register a car here using La Poste to access France connect

Does anyone out there have any answers to this problem, we are trying to make ourselves legal on the road and conform to the regulations


(Mark Rimmer) #77

From what I have been hearing a La Poste varification (not a La Poste bank account) does not seem sufficient proof for residency & will often produce “erreur 12”.

Another problem - you cannot mix n’ match UK & french regs as you have now discovered! You french insurance agent was right, french insurance does give you automatic europe wide cover without the need to notify the company unlike UK cover. But it would require the car to be fully french compliant in all other aspects. (You cannot take your french car abroad on a temporary carte grise, for instance).

For some years now you have been obliged to register your car in the country where you live, so you should have registered your car here. If you brought it over with you when you moved you would be allowed 6 months do get this done. If you were already a french resident when you brought it over you have one month. This really means that you have one month to start the process. French insurance companies, in common with other EU members, cannot provide insurance cover for more than a month although most will extend the cover at their discretion if you are in the process.

Generali have this on their (out-of-date) web site " Here in France we are able to offer:

cover for foreign-registered cars for up to three months. This initial period can be extended by a further 3 months on the condition that the request to import the car has been made at your local prefecture during the initial 3 month period."

No french company can offer a longer cover.

A UK reg car, to be legal for use in Europe, must be UK taxed, UK MOT’d, insured by a member of the MIB (UK Motor Insurance Bureau) & owned by a UK resident.

Your difficulty with the UK authorities stems from the Road Traffic Act 1988 well , this part anyway -
(2)The policy must be issued by an authorised insurer. And
(5)In this Part of this Act “authorised insurer” means a person or body of persons carrying on insurance business within Group 2 in Part II of Schedule 2 to the [1982 c. 50.] Insurance Companies Act 1982 and being a member of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (a company limited by guarantee and incorporated under the [1929 c. 23.] Companies Act 1929 on 14th June 1946).
No french company is such a member. Companies might have the same name such as Axa but they are different companies in the named group.

Lastly, if you are at your wit’s end with the ANTS site you can always ask a friend to do this via his access or pay an authorised garage to do it for you. Not all such garages will do imports though so you might have to shop around - just don’t use an online company!


(Bill Morgan) #78

Are French cars, with the wheel on the correct side so expensive? never had anything but French here. I really wouldn’t consider any other but a French car.:thinking:


(anon88888878) #79

Totally agree Bill but I fear you’re banging your head against the proverbial brick wall !! :face_with_head_bandage::face_with_head_bandage::face_with_head_bandage:


(Bill Morgan) #80

There you go! :joy: