FAQs: How to register your car in France

There is a lot of confusion about how to register a UK car in France. Paulette Booth , manager of an English-speaking AXA insurance office answers readers’ questions on this and related topics with input from French officials and Connexion

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Since the end of 2017, the formalities related to registering a car – and other vehicles – in France have moved online.

To get a registration document (known as a carte grise) or to notify a change of owner or address, you need to apply via the ANTS website immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr. There is no charge for carrying out this service.

Previously, you had to visit a prefecture – and with more than 30million applications a year, people often faced queues – send in the forms by post, or pay for a service to do it for you.

The change was part of a drive to put more work online and close most direct public access.

The new system, however, has brought problems and delays. We answer your questions here.

I have bought my first car in France. How do I change the carte grise to my name?

IF YOU bought the car via a professional, they probably would have dealt with this for you, with you supplying the paperwork. So it is most likely you bought it privately. There are two ways to change the carte grise to your name.

The first is online at immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr.

To do this, you need to identify yourself through a secure password-protected service called FranceConnect.

This involves obtaining a single user ID and password by setting up an online account with a partner body, such as the tax service in France (see below). Many second home- owners will not have this.

It is possible to set up an account directly on the ants.gouv.fr website but you will still be asked to identify yourself via FranceConnect when carrying out carte grise formalities, so if you do not have an account you are stuck.

In such a case, you could use a professional licensed by the state to carry out the procedure for you for a fee (usually between €40 and €60).

Some garages will register a car for you, as will branches of the Norauto car repairs and maintenance chain and private firms like facil-immat.fr.

Legally, you must register the carte grise in your name within a month from the sale date on the certificat de cession d’un véhicule.

What documents do I need to register my car?

Documents required include the following:

  •  Proof of address dated less than six months ago (electricity, gas, phone or internet bill etc)
  • The car’s old carte grise with two lines striking it through and the words Vendu le (day/month/year) and the signature of the previous owner
  • If the vehicle is more than four years old, you need to supply a certificate of a contrôle technique (French equivalent of an MOT test) dated in the last six months
  • Certificate of insurance (in the name of the new owner to be named on the carte grise)
  • The code de cession – this is a sale code that you should have obtained from the previous owner. It is generated when they carry out an online formality for the sale of the car
  • Copy of an identity document, eg. your passport.
  • I am not permanently resident in France but I want to register my UK car at my French holiday home as it will be permanently kept in France. Can I do this as a non-resident?

    Yes, and in fact the UK’s DVLA considers a car to be exported after 12 months abroad.

    You need to provide a justificatif de domicile (proof of address in France). In this case, your holiday home is your main ‘home’ here so you should use this.

    Domicile in this sense does not mean you will be considered a resident in France for income tax. It just refers to your address in France.

    An Interior Ministry official confirmed that a British resident who has a holiday home in France where they keep a car permanently should register the car for French plates.

    I live in Paris and have a holiday home in the Dordogne. Can I use the address of my second home on the carte grise?

    No, it is not possible to choose the address on the carte grise in this scenario. The vehicle must be registered at your main address. A second home can only be the address of registration if you live out of France (see above question).

    How do I create an account with FranceConnect?

    FranceConnect is a secure way of identifying oneself. To register, you can connect through your online account at the tax website impots.gouv.fr, the healthcare website ameli.fr, Mobile Connect et Moi (for customers of Orange in France), MSA (social security body for farmers) or IDN La Poste (idn.laposte.fr). However, La Poste said you can only use its service if you have French ID, such as a French passport or identity card, or a carte de séjour.

    To use the IDN La Poste, you scan a copy of your ID document, obtain a code sent to your mobile phone and finally there is a check in person by a post worker or at a post office.

    How can I register my car if I do not have a FranceConnect account?

    YOU can use a state-licensed professional (agrée par le ministère de l’intérieur) – there are many online. There is a fee of around €40-60 to pass your documents to a firm to carry out formalities for you.

    I am moving to France and bringing my car with me from the UK. Is it easy to register it?

    You do this, within a month of becoming a resident, at the ANTS site immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr or via a state-licensed professional. You will need:

  • ID (eg. copy of passport);
  • Proof of address in France;
  • Completed form cerfa 13750 (scanned or photographed). You can find the form here: tinyurl.com/y2x6pokc;
  • The V5 (British registration certificate for the car);
  • If the vehicle is more than four years old, a contrôle technique or MOT certificate dated in the last six months;
  • A quitus fiscal – a free document obtained from the local French tax office. It will state you do not have to pay VAT;
  • If your registration certificate for the vehicle does not mention all the necessary technical information, you may also need a certificate of conformity from the manufacturer.
  • How much will it cost to register my car?

    It depends on factors including taxes imposed by the region where the vehicle is to be registered (pollution tax, administration charges...). You can check at service-public.fr/simulateur/calcul/cout-certificat-immatriculation.

    I have bought a car but how does the seller report that he has sold the car to me?

    The seller needs to notify the authorities that he or she is no longer the owner, within 15 days of the sale. They do this at the ANTS website and need to upload a copy of the certificat de cession (a FranceConnect account is not needed). They receive a code, valid for 15 days, which they need to give to you.

    I sent the documents and keep receiving a message saying Nous vous informons que votre autre demande immatriculation n°xxx est passée à l’état ‘Analyse’ par le service instructeur. How do I get in touch with someone?

    Check that the status has not changed to Votre autre demande immatriculation n°xxx nécessite une action de votre part. It can mean your dossier is just waiting payment.

    If this is the case, in the Immatriculation page click mes démarches en cours. Click on the blue button on the right and you will see how much you owe to complete the process.

    Once you have paid, a carte grise provisoire will be issued, and the original will be posted.

    You can also check the FAQ ANTS section to see if you can find an answer. Finally, if necessary, you can message ANTS at immatriculation.ants.gouv.fr/Contacter-l-ANTS or call 34 00, then select 1, 1, 6, 2.

    If I apply to exchange my driving licence for a French one, what do I do if I am stopped by the police?

    When you send your application to the service at Nantes which deals with licence exchanges, you send a colour copy of the front and back.

    When your application has been processed, you will receive instructions and a request to send your original. This will include an attestation – a temporary licence until you receive your new one, valid only in France.

    I sent my licence to Nantes but it was returned to me. I am worried I will not be able to drive in France after Brexit on my UK driving licence

    THE prefecture in Nantes is prioritising applications where the licence or one of the driving entitlement categories is due to expire in the next nine months, requests for a new category, or people who have committed driving offences which would usually incur loss of points. If Brexit happens, the Interior Ministry has agreed that Britons living in France at that time with UK licences may continue to use them in France.

    I live in the Dordogne but would prefer a Var (83) number plate as we used to live there – how do we do this?

    Once you have the carte grise, you order plates from a garage or other provider (you can find sellers online). You can choose any department number and corresponding region logo that you “feel an affinity with”.