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Do I have to change French car’s licence plate if I move department?

We look into what changing address means for your car documents and the costs for updating a carte grise

French cars usually sport stickers next to the licence plates showing where the car was first registered to Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Reader question: I have just moved to a new department in France. Do I have to get my car licence plate changed to represent my new department?

There is no need to change your car licence plate if you move to a new department. 

This requirement was scrapped when the new registration system (Système d'Immatriculation des Véhicules) was introduced in 2009, giving car licence plates the format of AB – 123 – CD. 

This also applies to cars with old-style French licence plates with the format 1234 AB 12. There was a previous requirement to get this plate updated to a new one, but that rule was revoked in 2019. 

If, for any reason, you wish to ‘hide’ the fact that you live in a department that your car is not originally registered to, you can buy departmental licence plate stickers for just a few euros. Search online or ask at car garages for an ‘autocollant departement voiture’. These are also sold on Amazon.fr

The stickers representing the two departments of Corsica, which have the numbers 2A and 2B and the Corsican coat of arms, are particularly popular. This could be down to the fact that drivers think that other road users are less likely to bother motorists from Corsica who have a reputation for standing their ground. 

You must update carte grise

One thing you must do if you change address is get your car registration document, your carte grise, updated. 

You have one month after moving to do this or you risk a fine of €135. 

You can update your carte grise on the website of the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS), at this link. You need to make an account, which you can either do via FranceConnect or by creating a username / password. 

Read more: FranceConnect: why you may not have access to it

Changing your address is free the first three times you do it. From the fourth time it costs €2.76. 

It also costs €2.76 if you have one of the old-style licence plates. 

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FAQs: How to register your car in France

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