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Can I get a French contrôle technique on my UK-registered car?

We look at the rules for getting the French-equivalent of an MOT check on a car with UK licence plates

The French equivalent of an MOT is called a contrôle technique Pic: Axtem / Shutterstock

Reader question: Is it possible to get a contrôle technique in France on my UK-registered car?

A spokesperson for the French Automobile Club Association said that, technically, there is nothing to stop a driver getting a contrôle technique (the French equivalent of an MOT) on a UK-registered car at a French garage.

A mechanic at a garage in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) confirmed this, saying that they would do a CT on a UK-registered car as long as the owner showed the original car registration document (carte grise in French) and not a copy. 

However, it may not be of long-term use to do this depending on the purpose of getting this CT on a UK-registered car.

This is because the CT would only be valid for a car that is registered in France.

Under French law, if you are staying in the country for more than six months of a year you should register the vehicle in France with a French licence plate. 

So, if our reader is in the position that he or she has moved over to France with a UK car and intends to register the vehicle as French but while going through this process their UK MOT expires, then it could make sense to get a French CT while waiting for the car to be registered in France. 

Read our guide to registering a car in France here: Process, costs, carte grise: How to register a car in France.

If our reader is only temporarily in France and plans to return to the UK after a holiday, then the CT would not be very useful. 

This is because if a car is registered in the UK as being a UK car then it should meet all the requirements of a UK vehicle, which includes having a valid UK MOT. A French CT is not accepted as an alternative to a UK MOT unless your car is French-registered and you are visiting.

A spokesperson for the British car breakdown and insurance company RAC said:

“If it no longer has a UK MOT and is still UK registered, then it cannot legally be used on return to the UK – and potentially is not following the rules in France either.”

To sum up, it is technically possible to get a CT on a UK-registered car, but it would only be worth it if the driver is planning to register the car in France. 

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