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Should a car kept in France have French plates?

If a UK-registered car is taken out of the country for more than 12 months, it is deemed 'permanently exported' and may not remain registered in the UK

Reader question: I keep a car at my French holiday home with French plates, but I have heard now that I am not meant to if I am not a full time French resident. Is that true?

No, you have done the right thing. The UK’s DVLA driving authority said that if a UK-registered car is taken out of the country for more than 12 months, it is deemed “permanently exported” and may not remain registered in the UK.

You can read more about this at Taking a vehicle out of the UK.

French law is a little more complicated, which may be the reason for you being told that it should not be registered here. An Interior Ministry roads section official said that if a person does not have their habitual full-time residence in France (eg. they spend less than half the year here), then, even if they keep a car here, it is not “necessary” for them to register it in France.

However, since the car must be registered somewhere, registration in France at the address of your second home is the logical solution and the official said that it is possible for you to do so.

A variety of documents, including a utility bill, house deeds or home insurance certificate can be used as proof of address for obtaining a French carte grise vehicle registration document.

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