I have found a few topics in SF This one and This one
but neither specifically addresses the question in full…
They were living in France before Brexit when they obtained the car so it was perfectly correct for them to own and keep a French registered car but since they have returned to the UK post Brexit (and thus no longer residents) is there now an issue needing to be addressed?
Our friends question about the need for insurance whilst the car (under its current French registration) is stored in their garage has already been addressed - they do - but I would be grateful for any specific references which I can pass on about the legality of maintaining the car with French plates as non-residents.
EDIT: They will not be driving the car to the UK at any time soon - they know they can’t as UK residents drive a French registered car in the UK. Their travel arrangements between UK and France are generally by air. The car’s principal use is as a form of transport whilst here.
I see that that reference predates Brexit but remains silent on the issue of how this is treated when the vehicle is already registered whilst concentrating on the condition that a registrant must have an address in France.
The vehicle was originally UK registered but then immatriculated in France when they lived here.
A side issue noted under the “to be read also” section at the bottom translated reads…
There is therefore no ambiguity: in order to register a vehicle in France if you live abroad, you must have a domicile on French soil
which on its own seems clear enough. They do, so the test would seem to apply in that case and if they chose to replace it with another purchased in France, that would equally apply.
However - and here lies the dichotomy - in the first part of the reference is suggests -
“you have to have your main residence in this country. If, as a foreigner, you live mainly in France, you have the obligation , if you have come with your vehicle with plates from your country, to register it in France . The legal time limit is one month.”
This reference seems to point mainly to someone bringing in a car from a territory outside France which would not apply in this case as the car was already legally imported and then registered here.
A side issue is the Driving Licences which I believe are UK but as they are not now resident, I don’t see any impropriety such as would the case if they did live permanently in France.
The search goes on…
@fabien has asked me to copy/paste his response from elsewhere:
Actually I can answer this one with a high level of certainty. The only difficulty is to find some legal texts indeed as the topic is too broad and in France I would say it’s so obvious to everyone that none of us could actually confirm the law in itself (it’s like, everyone knows you are not allowed to steal but what’s the legal text for that?). So to answer clearly and simply => each and every vehicle that has been in France for more than 3 months in a row has to be French registered. Nothing else matter (not a metallica reference ).
As a side note, the “off road” status doesn’t exist in France and therefore a vehicle must always be insured even if it’s no longer in driving condition or stored away in a garage under a tarp or even if it’s been completely wrecked it still needs to be insured. The law is available here => https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/codes/article_lc/LEGIARTI000017735447/
It is possible in theory to not insure a vehicle if it becomes an “object” but that basically means the wheels must be removed, as well as all fluids and basically the engine itself. Otherwise it’s considered a “véhicule terrestre à moteur” and needs to be insured at all time in regard to the previous law.
As to the registration it follows that obligation because only some very specific categories of vehicles are exempt of the obligation to be French registered (small tractors, small trailers, etc.). And still they are not exempt of the insurance.
That response seems to satisfy our friend’s request for clarification.
Thank you all for your responses.
by which I guess you are referring to someone staying beyond 90 days on an extended visa and using a non French registered (eg a UK regn) car?
That would seem to be a whole new and quite different ball game…