How to register a foreign vehicle in France: Complete guide to registering an imported vehicle

Foreign car registration refers to the registration of a car from another country with the local authorities in the country of residence. This makes it easier to identify the vehicle and its owners, and provides a legal record of ownership. Do you need the old vehicle registration document? And if it’s a new vehicle, what should I do? To register your vehicle from another country, here are the key points to remember.

Definition of foreign car registration

Foreign car registration is the process by which an imported vehicle receives a new license plate and is officially registered in the new country.

Why change the registration of a foreign vehicle?

Changing the registration of this type of vehicle is often a legal requirement when importing a car from one country to another. This is also important to ensure that the vehicle complies with local safety and environmental emission standards. Of course, if you want to use your car in France for an indefinite period of time, you need a permanent registration document.

Registration regulations for vehicles imported into France

In France, registering a car from abroad is subject to strict regulations designed to ensure road safety. Whether you’re an expatriate who’s just returned to France, or you’ve bought a car abroad, you need to apply for a French registration number for your vehicle. To obtain a French vehicle registration document, there are a number of steps to follow. Before changing a foreign vehicle registration document, you must use a provisional registration for a vehicle purchased outside France.

Administrative procedures for changing the registration number

Find out about the administrative procedures for changing the registration of a car imported into France. This process involves applying for a vehicle registration certificate for an imported vehicle, obtaining the required documents, and complying with local regulations. Follow our comprehensive guide to successfully changing your foreign vehicle registration.

Documents required for a change of registration

In the next section, we’ll go into more detail about these steps and the documents required to register your car from another country.

  • Original registration certificate for foreign vehicle.
  • Completed application form for a vehicle registration certificate (cerfa n°13750*05).
  • Recent proof of address (electricity or gas bill, rent receipt, etc.).
  • Copy of owner’s ID.
  • Valid roadworthiness test (if the vehicle is more than 4 years old).
  • Tax receipt (certificate issued by the tax authorities) for foreign vehicles.
  • Valid insurance certificate.

Advantages of changing the registration document for a vehicle imported into France

Opting to change the registration of a vehicle from a country other than France offers many advantages, in addition to compliance with French laws.

Compliance with French laws and regulations

By changing your vehicle registration, you ensure that you comply with all French traffic laws and regulations. What’s more, in the event of a roadside check, having a French license plate makes things easier.

Easy maintenance and repair

French registration makes it much easier to maintain and repair your vehicle, because it makes it easier for garages to find the parts they need. So to benefit from these advantages, you need to change your vehicle registration document.

Costs and fees associated with changing the registration of a vehicle imported into France

Changing the registration of a vehicle purchased abroad can entail various expenses. These are generally classified as administrative fees and taxes associated with obtaining a new vehicle registration document.

Administrative and administrative fees

Administrative fees for registering a foreign car generally range from €15 to €50.

Taxes and registration fees

As for the vehicle registration document, the amount of tax payable can vary considerably according to a number of criteria, including the type of vehicle, its date of first registration, its tax rating… and so on. These fees make up the bulk of the costs involved in changing vehicle registration.

Steps to change the registration of a foreign vehicle in France

Once you have decided to register a vehicle from another country, here are the steps to follow:

Make an appointment at the prefecture / sous-préfecture

The first step is to make an appointment at your local prefecture or sub-prefecture.

Prepare the necessary documents

You’ll need to prepare and present several documents for registration, including the foreign registration certificate, proof of identity and proof of address.

Common mistakes when changing the registration of a foreign car in France

When importing a foreign car into France, it’s essential to understand the regulations correctly to avoid common mistakes when changing the registration. These errors may include:

Misinterpretation of regulations

Familiarity with French registration regulations is crucial to avoid any mistakes. This can include understanding the importance of certificates of conformity and technical inspection.

Forgetting essential documents

Forgetting to provide documents such as the registration application form or proof of a valid roadworthiness test can delay the registration process. Make sure you have all the necessary documents before starting the process.

Changing the registration of a vehicle imported from abroad may seem complicated, but if you follow the steps correctly, the process can be simplified.

Summary of steps to change your car registration

  • Get a certificate of conformity.
  • Apply for a tax receipt.
  • Fill out an application form for a vehicle registration certificate.
  • Pay the fee for a new license plate.

Importance of complying with registration laws and regulations

It’s crucial to comply with French registration laws and regulations. Not only does this guarantee that your vehicle is legally entitled to drive in France, it also protects you from fines and other penalties. So make sure you follow all the necessary steps to register your imported car in France.


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