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What documents do non-French people need to purchase a car in France?

It is easy enough to purchase a car, however If you want to register it with French plates it is important to have a valid French address

Even those on temporary visas are allowed to buy vehicles in France Pic: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Reader Question: My partner, who is here on a working visa, wants to buy a car. I have a residency permit but not citizenship. What documents are needed to be able to purchase a car, or can only I do it?

The first thing to note is that, even if your partner only has a working visa, this does not limit their potential to buy a vehicle. 

To purchase a car, two documents must be provided: a valid proof of French address (less than three months old, and a valid driver’s licence. 

For the former, this can come from any of the usual sources (utility bill, phone bill, etc), and for the latter, this can be a valid driving licence from another country. 

Having a home here is the main restriction to purchasing and registering a car in France – you must have a valid French address.

This can include second homes for non-residents, and in some cases, the address of a third-party, although this will require many additional steps (such as proof of Social Security contributions, etc).

It should also be fairly straightforward to register the car after purchasing it, as French law does not require people to be legally resident in France to register a vehicle.

It may be more complex, however, depending on the car that you are buying, especially if not paying for the vehicle in full on purchase.

Buying a second-hand car

If you are looking to buy the car second-hand, you can choose between purchasing the car from a dealership, or via a private seller. 

If you are paying in full to a dealership there should not be a problem that your partner only has a working visa – additionally most of the paperwork will be pre-filled by the dealership, making the administrative process easier. 

This will include registering the car (cerificat d’immatriculation, commonly known as carte grise) in your name.

If buying privately, you will need to register the car yourself, on the Agence nationale des titres sécurisés (ANTS) website

To do this, you will need to login through the FranceConnect service (which itself requires log-in information from another official source, such as the French tax website or ameli, the health insurance site). 

If your partner does not have any of these details because of their situation, they can hire a professional to declare the vehicle for them.

You can read more about that in the article below.

Read more: How do you register a used car in France?

Buying a new car 

If you are buying a new car from a dealership, they may ask you for proof of identity (residency permit etc), as well as proposed insurance details.. 

If you are leasing the car additional information including bank information and payslips may be required – if you are on a working visa and only have a temporary CDD contract, leasing may not be an option. 

This will also be the case for those looking to buy a car on finance – requirements vary between dealerships but most are unlikely to let you pay for the car this way if your visa is set to expire relatively soon.

You can speak to the dealership to see what their policy is as they may be able to present a solution to you. 

Related articles 

The official French app that makes buying or selling a used car easier

How do you sell a second-hand car in France?

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