Back to France Property Angels
Search Properties

How to register your UK car in France

french car driving in alps registeredAfter buying a property in France the next question most of our clients’ ask is, ‘Can I register my UK car in France?’ 

The short answer is, ‘Yes, you can’. It is relatively easy, thousands of people have, but it’s not necessarily swift, and it’s definitely not paperwork free! Here’s France Property Angels Guide on how to register a British car in France, in 6 easy steps.



The ultimate goal over the next 6 steps is for you to obtain a carte grise (grey card). This card will allow you to register your car and purchase French number plates. In order to get the carte grise there are several things you need to do*. 

First you need a Certificate of Conformity. This is a car manufacturers’ assurance that a vehicle complies with current legislation. To obtain it you need to contact your car manufacturer. You will need to provide a copy of your car registration document (V5C form) and fill in a form. A quick certificate of conformity Google search should help you find your relevant car manufacture’s contact details. The Certificate of Conformity used to be free but now in general there is a charge of around 130 euros.

  • Top Tip – Possibly an urban myth but we’ve heard that if you request the certificate while still in the UK it may not cost you anything … worth checking.
  • Important point – Your certificate must be an original; a photocopy will not be accepted in the following process.
  • Potential problems – if you car is very old, unusual, or does not have an equivalent in France it can be difficult to get a certificate of conformity. Older cars may be issued with a Type Approval Certificate. Your dealer should be able to advise on this.


car black headlight

2. CHANGE THE HEADLIGHTS While your Certificate of Conformity is in the post you can get on with stage 2 – changing your headlights. You need headlights for a right-hand driving position. Temporary stickers are not sufficient. Your car may have switchable lights, so check your car manual first. If not you will need to buy some. Headlights are not cheap so it is worth trying to find secondhand ones online or at a local scrapyard. Otherwise you will need to buy new. Your garage can do this for you. If you take this route it can cost anywhere between 400 – 700 euros for parts and fitting.



french garage for getting carte grise3. THE CONTROLE TECHNIQUE
Stage 3 is the Controle Technique – the French equivalent of an MOT. It lasts 2 years.  There are hundreds of local garages who do them but it’s worth finding one through a recommendation, especially as a British Expat! If the Control Technique reveals that your car needs work you will be given a time limit within which to complete it (sometimes around two weeks). The car is then re-tested and hopefully, passed!

The Controle Technique costs around 65 euros.

Documentation required
Take your Certificate of Conformity, a proof of address (e.g. a utility bill), proof of identity (e.g. passport), and your blue V5C from your UK registration doc.


centre des impots sign for french car registration4. QUITOS FISCAL – THE TAX OFFICE
Now you need to go to your local tax office* – Centre des Impots – and explain you are importing your car. What you want from them is a Quitos Fiscal. This is a certificate to say that there is no duty payable on the car. The tax office will need to know your current mileage.

Documentation checklist:
(same as above but with the addition of your new Controle Technique)

  • V5C
  • a proof of purchase invoice (if V5C is not in your name)
  • proof of identity (passport)
  • Certificate of Conformity
  • proof of address in France (utilities bill etc.)

Not required but worth taking

  • your UK log book
  • V561 certificate of export (if you have it)
  • original invoice from the purchase of the vehicle showing the name of the previous owner and the price paid

You will then be issued with a Quitos Fiscal.  As long as your car is older than six months and has done more than 3,500 kilometers you will not need to pay any tax.

* local tax office for Morzine, Les Gets and surrounding area is Bonneville – you need to go to the office in person, it can’t be done in the post.


Certificat d'immatrication d'un vehcule5. GETTING THE CARTE GRIS – THE PREFECTURE 
Now download and complete the following form – a Demande de Certificat d’Immatriculation

You then need to go to the prefecture* to pay your fee and finalize the registration. At the end of this you will receive your carte grise.

The Fee
Since 2008 there is a tax payable in France on the first registration of any car with a high CO2 emission, varying from 200 Euros to about 3000 Euros, depending on the emission of the car and the department it is registered in. Cars registered for disabled use do not attract this tax.

The préfecture will keep your V5, Quitus Fiscal and Certificate of Conformity but will hand back the exportation slip (section 11) which you must send to the DVLA straight away. (See

* For the Morzine, Les Gets and surrounding areas the prefecture is in Annecy. You need to go to the office in person, it can’t be done in the post.


french car registration plate6. CHANGE YOUR NUMBER PLATES
With your new Carte Grise go to a local garage and for a small fee they will be able to change your plates.

With the carte grise you can also get the car insured in France, or update your current French insurance with the new number plate.



And there you have it! You are now registered in France!
It was as easy as 1,2,3,4,5,6 … with a lot of visits to different offices and an abundance of lovely French paperwork. Enjoy! And don’t forget to drive on the right!

* please note that the registration process may vary slightly from one region to another. Worth checking with your local mairie first in case their procedures are slightly different.

Share this articleShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>