UK reg car in France - options?

Hello all,

My first post here and I’d just like to say how pleased I am to find this amazing resource.

We arrived in France in October 2020 and intend to become residents, just waiting like most people for news of our CdS.

I have a UK reg car and my original plan was to take it back to UK, sell it there, return to France and buy a car here. I don’t want to do this until I know for sure that we are bona fide residents, in case for some reason the authorities decide to turn down our applications and we have to return to the UK. I am British but my wife is a 3rd country national hence the uncertainty.

I believe I can drive the vehicle for 6 months in France before I have to register it here so I now have 2 months to make a plan.

Is there any way I can do a temporary registration or something similar in France to buy me more time so that I still have the option of taking it back to the UK to sell once we are confirmed residents here? If the 6 months is up and I still don’t have my CdS will I still have to register the car here even though I am not a French resident?

Any suggestions welcome!


I believe it’s actually one month (if French resident) to obtain the carte grise, not six months. It’s only six months if you are non resident.
It will likely take longer than that but as long as you have started the process and applied then I think you will be treated reasonably.

Hi Nigel and welcome to the forum.
Your questions cover 2 aspects - Brexit WA CdS and cars.
@toryroo is the queen of the CdS-WA
and @Mark_Rimmer for vehicles.
I’ve tagged them both so hopefully they will chip in and offer some guidance.
Where in France (Which Department) are you in - mainly for reference purposes since that info might be significant in some respects.


Hello Graham,
Thanks very much for your input. We are in Ain (01).

1 Like

I realise after reading my post that I was not clear enough with my request so to clarify:

  1. I have been living and working in France for 4 months.
  2. I am waiting for my CdS (applied 19 Oct 2020).
  3. I have a UK reg vehicle which I can use in France for a further two months, after which I must either return it to the UK or register it in France.
  4. As I am not yet a resident, I believe I cannot register the vehicle in France. With the COVID travel situation it is difficult for me to return to the UK with the vehicle because I cannot take enough time off work to cover the quarantine period.
  5. I wanted to find out if I could do some sort of temporary registration in France to tide me over until I can get the vehicle back to the UK or register it here once I become a French resident.

Or perhaps someone knows of other options?

This is not the case as I understand it, I thought that you only had a short period to register like a month or 2 once you arrived in France.

This is not the case, you ARE resident and you have been since the moment you stepped on French soil with the intention to remain under EU FOM. All you are now doing is waiting for your card to prove this is what you are doing.

So you should have registered your car within the month (or 3 or whatever it is- sorry can’t remember someone will be along). Don’t worry too much though as lots of people don’t manage it that quickly (I certainly didn’t with a newborn baby!) but do get onto it asap. I’m not sure what changes there are in the process since 31/12 either, I fear the tax / duty will be massively higher until of course they take the day you arrived with the vehicle which I hope for your sake they do.

1 Like

Thanks Tory.
“Vehicles from the UK can be temporarily imported into France for up to six months in any period of 12 months.”

If there is going to be massive duty on importing the vehicle then that makes my mind up - I have to bite the bullet and take it back to the UK before the end of March.

Please don’t assume that there will be any duty. It was here before 31st December, wasn’t it? You should be fine I would have thought. And I agree with Tory, you are resident, you are here legally, you just don’t have the paperwork along with the majority of other Brits :smiley:

1 Like

That would be my presumption but it should still be checked and sorted asap. Hopefully @Mark_Rimmer will be able to help.

1 Like

Mark registered our car for us shortly after we arrived - excellent service from him.


When you register a car here they take the day you imported it - ie the day you bought it into France so that should not pose any issues. There is a registration fee to pay.
The Quitus fiscale is proof of VAT paid in the country in which you purchased the vehicle and is the first thing you need to proceed with registration.


Quitas fiscal for imported UK cars was only available to those who APPLIED before the end of 2020. All new French registration applications since 31/12/2020 will require customs declaration and payment of 10% import duty and 20%tva on the value of the vehicle as assessed by the French customs ( a £500 reciept for a £5,000 car will not work!)
If you have applied for residency, then you have 1 month from arrival to start the registration process and max 3 months to complete it. Having applied for residency, your UK insurance policy immediately becomes void


Thanks Carl. Looks like I have to bite the bullet and deal with any fines for late registration. Trying to get it back to the UK with travel restrictions, quarantine, etc is not going to be possible.
Edit: And I’d better arrange local insurance ASAP!

I don’t know anything about fines, but surely if there are or are not fines,that may depend upon when you say you brought the car over?

I brought the car to France on 2 October 2020. I’m assuming there will be fines because you said the registration process must be started within one month of arriving. I have not done this yet.
Anyway I will start the process right away and see how I go.

Personally Nigel, I’d be very surprised if you were hit with any penalty just now - France doesn’t work that way :wink:
Better to get things regularised and underway before any contrôle by the Gendarmes though. Makes life in France so much easier.


Thanks Graham that’s good to know. I’ll get on it right away. Cheers.

They’ll ask you what the mileage was on the car when you arrived… the figure goes into the records.
So think about this beforehand and decide on a mileage figure.

Also, re your arrival date… if you can prove the date you arrived with said car was before end Dec 2020, you can simply explain that covid has caused all sorts of hiccups…

Like @Graham_Lees I think there might well be leeway…

(Of course, most of us never needed to prove date of entry with any of our vehicles, but that was before Brexit…)

best of luck


Hello. I know someone who has just moved back to the UK and looking for someone who would be interested in their car with French registration !
If interested send me your email add and I will pass on your details
Regards Gitte

1 Like

Thanks Gitte. It doesn’t really solve my problem but I’ll email them anyway if you can send me their details.