Time for a new car - moving to France

Hello all.
Ive just sold my car and am purchasing a van about 18 months old which i intend to run for at least 15 years.
My old car (2006 skoda fabia) got left in France at lockdown so i will also have to sort that out when i make my final move… change plates etc…

So… i know which van i want, my income is im sterling, the vans are a lot more expensive in France so i am going to buy it im the UK before i move, or on a visit back in September.
Ive read all the threads here, but can’t work out if it is a percentage tax you pay to import or a flat rate.
Sorry if its been asked before but can anyone help?
And also is it expensive changing headlamps? I imagine a 2019 vw transporter is going to set me back… ive saved up for 15 years to buy this vehicle so really want to go ahead!
Just worried about how i go about changing it to French plates/ registration when its so new.


Use this to give you the cost

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Could the vehicle be found cheaper in another EU country like the Netherlands? It would at least save you the cost of conversion. I would imagine the lack of visibility using a RH drive van is likely to be more of an issue for overtaking than a swifter car.


My builders in their UK RHD vans certainly were concerned by the lack of visibility in their RHD vans. It may be worth spending a little more.

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I’ve just tried filling this form for my car. Hopefully the ‘National administrative power (P.6)’ means something other than the power in kW! (sorry for large font)

Reminder of your information

Steps :First registration in France of a vehicle

Imported into France after being registered in another country

National gender (J.1):Private car (VP)

Collection vehicle? :No

Date of registration (B):06/01/2007

National administrative power (P.6):77 CV

Energy (P.3):Diesel (GO)

Bodywork handicap / Disability card? :No

Department:Eastern Pyrenees

Cost of registration certificate

Y1 - Regional tax:1,694.00 €

Y1 bis - Additional tax on high-powered cars:8,000.00 €

Y2 - Professional training tax:0.00 €

Y3 - Additional tax on passenger cars:0.00 €

Y3 - Malus CO2 passenger cars:0.00 €

Y4 - Management tax:4.00 €

Y5 - Transmission charge:2.76 €

Y6 - Taxes payable:9,700.76 €

Puissance fiscal

2019 vehicle may have adjustable headlamps.


:woozy_face: :woozy_face: :woozy_face: :astonished: :astonished: :astonished:scary money just to register a car! That is more than any car I’ve ever owned!!!

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I found a website with a calculator to determine the National administrative power (P.6)

For my car it was 6! That’s a relief. Cost falls to 138.76 €


Moi aussi!

Surely common sense has to come into this. You must have realised that you had made an error as you are importing a 13 year old low powered diesel car yet had triggered an €8000 additional tax on high powered cars.
The fiscal puissance is a good example of why it can be a good idea to gain an understanding of the vocabulary not just to rely on a literal translation.
Where people will have to take care is if they are importing fairly new cars, especially powerful ones or those with high CO2 figures. The high power supplement and the CO2 malus tax can easily add up to mouthwatering amounts.

Well of course I realised and then did my research. My Duolingo and Assimil French haven’t yet examined tax on vehicle imports!

Unless there’s a specific reason not to, put side windows in behind the cab, at least on the [UK] nearside. My RHD Renault Master has these and it makes all the difference to visibility. Ditto the Merc Sprinter 16-seater coaches I used to drive on battlefield tours FR/BE/NL.

It might make a difference to re-registering, too. It was for my Master in SP before they simply rejected all N1 Class vehicles before I got the SP reg done. :frowning_face:

I’ve done many thousands of miles in the Master in FR/SP: visibilty down the [UK] nearside has never been an issue. The mirrors on my van are really good. You may find that a supplementary mirror helps if the VW mirrors are a bit ‘tight’ angle of view.

Thanks very much. All this has been very helpful.
My first attempt on working out the p.6 gave me tax of 16.786
I had enter 1986 cc not 1.986 …

At this moment I’m not buying a van just yet but do need to get my skoda through the ct and import. It is worth a few hundred as a trade in… no value, just in its use and because I’ve run it since new.

Re rhd. I rarely overtake. Dont drive fast. Have no more capacity to borrow more money as ive taken a mortgage already to finance my move and buy a vehicle for the long term which i can also sleep in and medium term convert to a camper.
I’ve had 7 years with rhd transporter in the alps previously with no problems. I lived in the last one for 4 months between jobs.
My income being in £££ it will be uk vw dealer serviced.
It will not necessarily be a French import if i have to use it for work in the uk. In that case i will only import the skoda (abandoned on 14 march) and leave the van belonging to the family uk company for 4 or 5 years if i get it. I have my heart set on it but have to think about practicalities too.
I will also look at French vans this summer. But 99 percent sure I can’t afford one. I will just be able to afford to move
Thanks for the advise.

I am not ruling out a Renault van bought in France.
But we don’t live bear big cities… so hunting wont be as easy…

I thought that the minute you put rear windows in you have insurance problems because it then becomes a camper? And i cant afford to convert all at once.
We were given 6 months to convert the sprinter once wed put windows in it.
I also drive my partner’s sprinter van. Hate driving it around the Alps its just too big and not practical…
Transport… Renault traffic… fine.
Just prefer the vw for comfort and longevity…

I intend spending several months of the year back in the uk with my van where traffic and roads are worse. Ive never had a problem with rhd. Economical driver… hate overtaking. Rarely im a rush…

The only thing that you will get with an engine capacity of anything near 1.986 cc will be a remote control toy. :slight_smile:
Take care when making your plans as you have mentioned a couple of areas where the laws are quite strict. In France if you register a van as a van it must stay as a van. If you register it as a van then subsequently turn up for a CT with additional side windows or a bed and a sink fixed in the back it will be rejected. Converting a van into a camping car is straightforward in the U.K. much harder and more expensive if not impossible in France. Where registration is concerned as a French resident it will be hard for you to register a vehicle in the UK. If you do succeed it will be illegal for you to drive that British registered vehicle in a France. It’s worth checking out these potential problems before spending a lot of money.

My Master is L3H2. This is van code for wheelbase [L1/L2/L3] and interior height. [H1/H2/H3] H3 gives me 50-60mm headroom, standing up straight. I’m 181cms tall. The floor is 26mm of ply + carpet.

I say Reno Master. It is in fact a Vauxhall [UK]/ Opel [EU] Movano but it’s a Renault Master with a Vauxhall badge on it. There is a third variation - the Nissan Interstar. Same animal. As far as I can tell, there are minor variations in what constitutes l/w/b amongst this tribe of vans.

L3 is long w/b but it does tend to vary amongst manufacturers. And then there’s l/w/b Jumbo - something approaching 2m of rear overhang.

A van doesn’t become a camper just because it has windows behind the cab - in UK, anyway. Others here will know the implications of that in FR. DVLA will only reclassify a van to a camper - should one want to - if they get photos showing various camper-type stuff installed - bed, table, cooking gear etc. The benefits are minor. Mine is still class 7 but the ferry companies see side windows, awning, decals - it’s a camper.

Bear in mind that the l/w/b vans I described, made by Renault, are 3.5 tonne gross vehicle weight. The VW you fancy is way smaller than that. The Renault equivalent is the Trafic/Nissan Intercity/Opel - Vauxhall Vivaro.

As for longevity, my Movano is 2004. It has done over 215k miles/346k kms, still pulls like a train, drives like a car. Amazing fuel consumption - I’ve done dozens of fill-to-fill checks and get between 33 and 38 mpg, depending on load and roads.

Charante is correct. A resident of any country cannot legally drive a vehicle registered in some other country. As a res of FR you will not be able to reg a vehicle to UK plates.

Well … it can be done if you arrange your paperwork to appear to still be reg as res in UK. The trouble would start if you were pulled by les flics and they discovered you were actually res in FR. A Brit driving licence is the only one I know of with an address on. My SP licence does not, because it’s good for all EU … as is a UK one. DVLA told me they have no instructions or intention to change that, post 01/01/2021.

However, a thread on this site has confirmed that it is not impossible to register a converted camper van in FR - just well-nigh impossible. The van in question a VW T? was converted by a specialist UK van convertion company and every scrap of paper to do with the convertion, financial and technical, was required to get the thing CT’d. I think one must ssume it’s impossible for a DIY converstion - sadly.

It really is rubbish! And so complicated!
But I do want to live in France ehich I feel is more my home and so need to deal with what it is.
(Maybe I’ll look at a smaller one with a slot in jump option… but dont want to do this…)

Are you saying that even when you have converted your van and dvla has it registered as a motorhome that its still impossible to get it registered as a motorhome in france?
I really want to do all the soundproofing deadener, insulation ply lining and carpeting myself as i know ill do a really good job but a compromise could be to pay a conversion company to do the flooring, windows, cupboard units electrics and gas. I would pay someone to install a bed anyway.
Our past vw was only a half conversion. We never did a sink but were happy at the time. And our cupboard was homemade with a gas hob screwed on and a bottle in cupboard.

My partner now owns a lwb sprinter which is our second conversion and we are really happy with it. He will be using it a lot in the uk when im in France thus wanting my own for trips in france locally and to spain in winter climbing…
but he will not entertain french plates on his despite all this information ive shared abput legality because it belongs to his family’s company and he says he wouldnt be able to. So because its his van I have no say in the matter and have been told not to mention it again.
But i want to do mine properly, which is why I’m asking for the advice on here.

I do want my own smaller van definitely not bigger than traffic/ transporter.
I’ve looked at and sat in the new nissan l3 and l2. Thought about a caddy but keep coming back to the transporter as I was so happy with the last one.
I also had a vivaro with a partner a long time ago but never converted.

Way out of my price range unfortunately if i was to buy in france as im so keen to run from new to death… thus
My action plan sounds like to allow enough time back in uk in November to get a conversion done then get it to France with all paperwork for ct and registration.
At same time as chasing residency and carte vitale and new business :thinking::joy:
Job done.
I am going to book in for a window/ bed/ cooker installation for November in advance but do the insulation plyline myself.
I only want a basic conversion. Windows. Bed. Hob. Lights. Leisure battery.
Dont need sink or fancy electrics.
Its only for me and I’ve managed without water/ sink for years before.

If you bring a motor caravan conversion fro Britain to register in France you will need two Certificates of Conformity; one for the van and the other for the conversion. Being registered in the U.K. counts for nothing.

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