Reader question: As a non resident second-home owner, can I buy and keep a car in France for use when I visit my house?
You just need a French address that you can register the car to, which can be a second home, and then you are perfectly able to buy a car here.
You do not need to be a resident to be able to do this.
You will need to provide a valid ID and proof of the French property that the car is to be registered to. This can be, for example, the title deeds of the house, a gas or electricity bill, a recent taxe d'habitation bill, etc.
The car must be insured in France.
If you buy a car through a dealership, they will often sort out the paperwork for you, including the car’s registration document, the certificat d’immatriculation or carte grise. As part of this, they should re-register the car to the address you provide.
If you are buying privately, you will need to do this yourself.
Registering the car yourself
If you buy new from a garage they should sort out the paperwork for you.
For a second-hand car, the registration process is now completed entirely online through the ANTS website. The registration will cost you a small fee (see below).
You will need to complete the form cerfa n°13750, available here.
You also need proof of your home address less than six months old and the old carte grise barred with either vendu or cédé (plus the day/month/year of the sale) with the previous owner’s signature.
If the car is more than four years old, you need proof of a contrôle technique (French MOT) less than six months ago. You also need a code de cession from the seller (obtained by the seller on the ANTS website).
You have to swear on your honour you have the relevant insurance and a valid driving licence.
Payment is by bank card and the price varies according to type of vehicle and home address. You can use this simulator.
You will receive a dossier number, proof of your application, and a temporary certificate (certificat provisoire d’immatriculation) to drive for one month, only in France, while you wait for the certificate, which should come within seven working days.
You should keep the old carte grise for five years.
Every two years cars in France that are over four years old have to undergo a contrôle technique - similar to an MoT in the UK - to ensure they are roadworthy.
The first test, commonly referred to as a CT, needs to be carried out during the six months before the fourth anniversary of the car’s mise en circulation (date when it was authorised to be used on the road). No reminder is sent so it is up to you to organise this.