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We have a motor home - two years old and an astra car - 8 years old. I have been searching through this forum as to how you go about registering the vehicles here in France. I have picked up snippets but I amnot entriely clear on the matter. Can any one give me a web page or point me in the direction of exactly how to go about it and in what order to do it ?  PS With regard to the motorhome the Registration document only descibes the vehicle as a Ford van so we are hoping this will make the job easier!
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Its the certificate of conformité from the manufacturers that you need, not just the registration documents. Have a look through the archives on here to find out and also get your local mairie to help with the paperwork.
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If the vehicle is described as a Van on the registration document and I know we will need a Cert. of Conf. from Ford for the chassis.The conversion was done by Explorer in the UK ( I don't think they have an office here in Frence) and they have already sent me a Cert of Conf for this part of the vehicle stating it has been made to UK and EU regulations etc.  Would the authorities here accept this Certificate together with the one for the chssis. If we only present the Ford Certificate to register the vehicle what sort of problems could we incur at a later date. Feel like we are just entering a minefield.  I know the easiest solution is to take it back to the UK and sell it & buy another over here but we do love our motorhome and selling it would no doubt mean losing money on it. We want to be legal but it is a struggle trying to get everything together!  any suggestions gratefully received.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I found this information about registering a UK car in France if it is any help.
... if you have a standard car built for the european market you should be able to register it easily
If it's non-standard or not an EU model it's a LOT trickier.
1: You don't need to get an export certificate -
it's easier to do the paperwork on the French side with the original V5,
so complete a SORN form (statutory off0road notification),
 keep the V5, then when you have a French Carte Grise
you can send a photocopy of the V5 and the new Carte Grise back
to DVLA with a covering letter. They're happy with this, I've done it
several times.
This also gets you out of jail free if for some reason you
can't register the car in France or have problems and give up -
you've still got your UK V5 to fall back on.

2: The Mairie usually know bog all about registering cars! And they have to send the paperwork away to the Prefecture to be dealt with.
Far better to go to your local Prefecture (NOT the sous-Prefecture, the main one), where they do it while you wait and you can ask questions, and respond to any questions/clarify any mistakes you've made filling out the paperwork on the spot. But first...

3: You only need an Attestation de Conformité (which usually costs about £100) from the manufacturer if your car's VIN number doesn't come up on the
computer of the Service de Mines (also known as the DRIRE).
So first step is the Mines/DRIRE (find 'em in your phone book).
Roll up there with your UK V5 and tell them you want to register the car in France.
They'll run the number through the computer and if it recognises it bob's your uncle.
They'll give you an Attestation de Conformité on the sport and charge you about 35 euros.
If it doesn't go through the computer then you'll have to contact the French
importers/manufacturers for an Attestation.

3: Once you've got the form from the DRIRE saying you're allowed to import
the car, you need to go to your local tax office and get a Declaration des
Impots saying you've paid any taxes on it. There'll be nothing to pay unless
it's absolutely brand new.

4: Now it's time for the Controle Technique (which is not as strict as a UK
MoT in most respects) if your car is more than four years old. You might get
away with beam converters on the headlights, you might not.

5: Now roll up to the Prefecture with all the documents you've collected so
far, plus passport, driving licence (just in case), and a utility bill or
two showing your French address.
Fill in the form asking for a regisration document and hand it in. Wait for
a while. Eventually you'll get called back to another window, given a Carte
Grise and relieved of quite a few quid, depending on the Puissance Fiscale
(taxable power) of yoru car. This has nothing to do with real power, it's
purely administrative and is based on engine size and type (a late model
Citroen2CV is actually rated as 3CV on puissance fiscale and makes about 30
real horses...).
That's about it. There's no road tax to pay any more, so that's it! Once you
know how, it's actually possible to do the whole lot in a day, but it's more
realistic to do each step on a different day and have a rest in between!
Craig's site implies that French insurers might charge more foor a right
hand drive car - not the case in my experience.
He also implies that there might be safety issues driving a RHD car in a LHD
country. Well, maybe, but I drive both LHD and RHD cars in both the UK and
France, and there are advantages and disadvantages for both. The worst thing
is trying to overtake lorries - visibility can be limited. But on the other
hand, you can often see past other traffic on the verge side, and have
better visibility than you would in a lhd car in the same situation.
The Certificate non-Gagé that Craig's site mentions when he talks about
buying a used car just says whether there's any reason why you shouldn't be
able to register a car (if it's the subject of a court order or ownership is
in dispute). You can usually get one from an automatic machine at the
Prefecture - just type in the reg number and it'll tell you if there's a
Also, it's important to note that if you do buy a used car in France you
can't register it unless the Controle Technique is less than six months old.
Also worth noting that once a used car has been signed over to you, you must
register it in your own name within 15 days or you are not allowed to drive

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Do I take it you haven't actually been down the "track" you have quoted ?

From my experiences there are a few differencies to your post, that we actually use when registering cars.

I can't speak for the SORN part as I have no idea about it, other than what I have read.

I will post the differencies if anyone wants to know them.

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I agree with Miki, most of the piece quoted in John & Sue's post is basically correct with a few minor, probably regional, differences - except for the export certificate/SORN part. Although people have certainly done this in the past and got away with it, you could leave yourself open to prosecution unless you really don't intend to use the vehicle anywhere until it its French registration is complete.

If in doubt look at the DVLA website: http://www.dvla.gov.uk/vehicles/exptimpt.htm#Exports and http://www.dvla.gov.uk/vehicles/unlicensed.htm. Note in particular "do not declare SORN if you have sold, scrapped, exported or if the vehicle has been stolen", and "A vehicle keeper who does nothing on receipt of a V11 or V85/1 may be liable to prosecution as will a vehicle keeper who declares SORN, but is then found to be using the vehicle on the road". DVLA has recently tightened up on vehicles without UK road tax, probably since the page quoted was written, and unless you declare the vehicle exported you are liable either to continue paying the tax or a large fine.

There was a long topic on this forum a while ago about somebody who had declared SORN, apparently on the advice of somebody at DVLA, for a vehicle taken to France and was being prosecuted. It doesn't show up in a search, so unfortunately has probably dropped out of the archives.

An alternative (I hope more correct) version can be found at http://www.afactp.org, look under 'useful articles' for the page about re-registering a vehicle.

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We were just repeating vebatim someone else's experience after they had apparently successfully registered several vehicles.

I thought the most useful part was mention of Mines/DRIRE which I hadn't seen elsewhere and obviously makes it simpler for some vehicles rather than having to obtain manufacturers certification at greater expense.


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It's always difficult to know whether to go to DRIRE or obtain the manufacturer's certificate of conformity. In theory, if the vehicle is on DRIRE's database, there should be no trouble. DRIRE Basse Normandie's vehicle inspectorate near Villedieu (50) seems to be notoriously awkward and uncooperative so we advise local people to try for the CofC, about which there can be no dispute under European law. Conversely, the DRIRE in some neighbouring departments is very helpful. 

A DRIRE inspection is generally necessary for vehicles which originate from outside Europe and are not widely sold in France, or for vehicles which have been converted. I would imagine your motor home would probably come in the latter category, so in this case it would probably be better to go straight to DRIRE rather than waste effort in obtaining certificates which may not be accepted at the prefecture.

DRIRE can be difficult to find in the phone book, it may be better to look at the web site http://www.drire.gouv.fr to find your nearest centre.

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