In France. MOT Due. Can I get a Control Technique instead, but still keep my vehicle registered as British?

19 Replies
Red Munk



I was only planning to be in France till the Summer, but an opportunity has come up to stay longer. My MOT is due, and it would cost £300 at least just to drive it back to Britain to be MOTed. Does anyone know if I could just get a Control Technique instead? I don't want to import the vehicle to France. I'd like to keep it registered in Britain - UK Road Tax and Insurance registered to my UK Address. Would that be valid?Whilst I'm asking, does anyone know a good UK Vehicle insurer who will allow more than 90 days per year in Europe. I'm with Direct Line, and they are saying they can't, even if it's just 3rd Party/Fire/Theft.Many thanks

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Dave W-839 1465716823

Sorry, but the short answer is No! The rules require your car to be legal in the country of registration. You could get a CT but if it passed - and there could be an issue with headlamps, for example - it still wouldn't meet UK vehicle regulations.
Re: insurance - my wife had an extended stay in France some years ago and arranged extended insurance through the AA. I seem to recall it was quite expensive but might be worth inquiring.
PS: If you do return for an MOT, and your current MOT has expired make sure you have booked the MOT in advance. Number plate recognition technology means that you can get stopped on leaving the port of entry.

Field18 1465937789

For insurance:
As Dave said, CT for French registered cars only.

chèvrefeuille 1466319047

If you stay in France for more than 183 days it will be more than your car that will require a change of paperwork.

Red Munk 1466354445

Thanks all. I've booked and MOT. I'd already looked into Hertz insurance - they are do-able but expensive. Thanks. Chevrefeulle - can you explain? Surely people travel in Europe for a year or more?

Red Munk 1466354664

Ah.. I've googled it, and I think I've found it: I've realised I've checked this before, but it's good to re-check.

It looks to me that I don't fulfil that status. The reasons being:
1. My address is in England.
2. I've earned no money in France
3. I pay tax in England.
4. I have no intention of becoming a French resident.

Have I missed anything?

chèvrefeuille 1468102344

Yes, if you are in France for more than 183 days in any year you will be considered to be a resident. Residency is not quite as simple as that but having a UK address and paying tax there is not sufficient grounds to be a UK resident if you spend the majority of your time in France. Your car cannot stay on UK plates for more than six months if you are a non resident or a month if you are resident. Of course many people opt to ignore the law but they are in the wrong. Residency and vehicle registration issues are well documented on this and other forums.

Red Munk 1468175876

Hi there. This is helpful but can you find my some source Weblinks for it? I have 't been able to find anything so far that supports it. It seems strange to me because what you're saying seems to indicate the following - A one year van holiday in France is illegal. It would seem to me very odd to outlaw something like that since holiday makers benefit the French economy. Would be great to see what info you have on it? I have so far only looked into tax stuff and got that sorted. 

chèvrefeuille 1468441029

Holidaymakers yes but you have passed the cut off point for being considered a tourist. 

chèvrefeuille 1468442240

The 11th arrête of 1st June 1996 details the conditions that allow foreign registered cars to be used in France. It states that non residents driving cars registered in that country must reside there for a least 8 months of the year to qualify. As you have not lived in the UK for 8 months in the last year you cannot use your UK registered car here in France.

Red Munk 1468444734

Hi there. Thanks for the info. Can you provide any links? I have googled the directive you list and can't find anything. 

Madge 1468835405

As Dave W pointed out, the contrôle technique cannot replace the MOT as it only proves the car is roadworthy in France. Technically, if you're staying in France for 183 days or more per year you're obliged to register it in France. There's some good info here on it, including a helpful link to additional info from the EU:

Squeezy-324801 1483346051


I see chèvrefeuille    above states that after 183 here you have to change your car's paperwork - French registration, like most of us have.  But again I ask how do brits that live her permanently, like some I know near me, continue to run cars with UK plates, well over 4 years old, and have no CT or assurance stickers in the window?  One chap has 3 cars like this. 

itinerant child-414831 1489396220

Obviously I would not recommend it,BUT, you are not required to carry mot certification whilst driving on the european mainland and uk car tax is a taxation for ukroads,so as long as the vehicle is sorn off the uk road then you will get by ok here.

If you let your mot expire here,you must prebook for an mot test before entree to the uk and drive directly to the mot station. The police in the port will of already checked your vehicles legal status and stop you to ask questions (this is more of a we know thing). You will then be left to carry onto your mot station of choice,even if it is 300 miles away.

The downside of this is that if you cause an accident,the lack of mot on the car will give your insurance company the excuse that they want to cancel any claims. If you are in an accident that is blatantly someone elses fault,then it will come straight from their insurance and not affect your claim.

Obviously I would not recommend doing this,but just in the interest of this debate,it is worth mentioning that it can be done. of course I have never done it myself !!!!!!!!!!!! 

bandy 1489495208

It is a standard EU requirement that to drive your vehicle in another EU country it must be road-legal in it's country of registration. In this case UK MOT, UK Tax and UK insurance.

It is a French legal requirement that you carry all your vehicle paperwork with you at all times.

It is a legal requirement to have an in-date roadworthiness 'certificate' to drive on the road in France.

A 'SORNED' vehicle must be kept off the road and in the UK. Do not attempt to enter the UK driving an incorrectly SORNED car.

The OP could find the car being immobilised before leaving the port (or soon after) if flagged by ANPR cameras.

One is however allowed to drive a vehicle without an MOT to a local MOT place - certainly not 300 miles !

If the OP intends to engage in such a risky action, then do not under any circumstances have an accident in France !

itinerant child-414831 1489570018

If you folllowed the exclamation marks at the end of my post,it actually meant that because of certain situations I have had to do it on a couple of occassions in sixteen years of travelling around europe.

Too many people have a lot to say based on what they believe to be the truth and not on experience.

I go over to poole and am allowed to drive down to my home town on the west coast of wales. The police have stopped me at the port on both occassions and have been completely aware of my legal status.

Its interesting to that in being stopped by the police in various vehicles probably 50 times over the years for roadside controls,I have never once been asked for mot certification.

The french police will always want to see insurance,vehicle registration document and driving licence.

I am not recommending anyone does this,but am just stating true facts that have been based on my own experiences over here and that of other people that I have chatted to.

bandy 1489580109

It's all fine to state what your experience has been, that's O.K. but your 'facts' were clearly incorrect. A few minutes research could have given you the correct info on the matters you referred to.

As an ex MOT tester I know the rules - you can drive a 'reasonable' distance. You could have a hard job explaining why you are driving past numerous MOT stations and not using a 'local' one. My work here also brings me into contact with such matters from the French perspective. I've been 'controlled' more times than I could count - hence my reason for posting, based on knowledge and experience.

MOT, Tax and insurance are all now linked to the DVLA database, plus UK police cars are fitted with ANPR cameras now. Unfortunately big brother is always watching these days.

itinerant child-414831 1489594277

How can my facts being based on my own experience be untrue?

It would appear that you know me better than I know myself !!!!

I will say it again that both times I have driven from poole to pembrokeshire without tax and mot,I have spoke with the police on both occassions and they put my info straight into the computer system so that if any camera's or other police check my details,they see that I have prebooked for my mot and am en route to the station which in this case is probably about two hundred and fifty miles or so.

I agree that the rules do actually state that you should go to an mot station within a certain distance of the port (I think 20 miles was the distance stated and not reasonable distance). As long as the vehicle appears to be in a roadworthy condition,the boys and girls in blue do allow you to travel to your usual mot station.

I would certainly not try and do that without prebooking though as you will be punished for it.

And most definately wise advice by Bandy there in " do not have an accident in france" or anywhere I would add !

chèvrefeuille 1490530434

Why push it IC? You have chosen to ignore the rules to suit your lifestyle. As an adult that is your choice and you are aware that you face the consequences. If you are a French resident it is not legal to drive a UK reg car in France. If you are a U.K. resident you have to ensure that it is 100% legal in the UK, and that includes a valid MOT. Your situation suits you but please don't advise others that it is all above board and legal. Bandy' advice is correct.

Squeezy-324801 1502702870

A chap near here has been living here for at least 6 years and has 3 cars with UK plates.  No sign of a Ct sticker nor insurance ticket.  How is he legal?

he also works on the black for other expats here, and declares his 5 bedroom house as a 2 (according to his neighbour)

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