Importing a Caravan, Camping Car or Trailer in France

How to import and re-register a caravan, trailer or camper van in France; and how to conform to French registration requirements...

The immatriculation is a vehicle's registration. The details of a vehicle's registration are carried in the Certificat d'immatriculation (previously called Carte Grise, grey card). Vehicle registration is handled through the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture.

Foreign-registered caravans and camper vans imported for use in France must be re-registered in France. The process will vary depending on the age, make and country of origin. Typically, a caravan or motorhome first registered before the year 2000 may not be able to comply with the numerous requirements.

Before being able to register the vehicle and receive the Certificat d’immatriculation, the vehicle must conform to the French road and safety standards.

If the vehicle was recently manufactured, conforms to European standards and has all the associated documents, the registration process should be relatively straightforward. Complications are common however, with older, non-standard vehicles without documentation. Below is an outline of the typical process.

Application for Registration

The procedure to register a caravan or mobile home depends on when it was first registered, and which documents accompany the vehicle.

Registration directly with the Préfecture is possible when in possession of:

  • a European Certificat de Conformité and Certificat d’immatriculation
    or
  • the Attestation d’identification from the manufacturer

If a vehicle has an Attestation de non conformite issued by the manufacturer, or no documents, the Directions Régionales de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement (DREAL) must check the car for conformity to French roads and safety standards.

In order to register a caravan, or mobile home, the owner must provide the documents (original plus one photocopy) listed below. Required documents may vary depending on where the vehicle was originally registered.

Caravans and mobile homes less than six months old

Vehicles which are new or less than six months must conform to European standards. The following are required to complete the registration in France:

  • A completed Demande de reception individuelle form (see Annexe 1)
  • One of the following:
    • Vehicle registration document from the originating country
    • An official document proving the origin of the vehicle registration and an official document proving the vehicle has been removed from circulation there
    • An International Certificate for Motor Vehicles (ICMV) from the country where the vehicle was last registered
  • Certificat de Conformité (Certificate of Conformity, issued by the manufacturer; if in a language other than French, a European Certificate of Conformity is required)
  • Documentation proving the unladen weight of the vehicle
  • A completed Notice Descriptive Simplifiée (Simple Description of the Vehicle) form (see Annexe 2)
  • Registration fee (cheque or money order [mandat cash] only)

Caravans and mobile homes more than six months old

The following are required to complete the registration in France:

  • An official document proving the origin of the vehicle
  • Documentation proving the unladen weight of the vehicle
  • A certificate from the manufacturer, or manufacturer’s representative, stating that the vehicle as manufactured does not conform to European standards
  • Proof from the DREAL that the points that did not meet original conformity requirements now comply
  • A completed Demande de Réception à Titre Isolé (see Annexe 1)
  • A completed Notice Descriptive Simplifiée (Simple Description of the Vehicle) form (see Annexe 2)
  • A roadworthiness certificate
  • Registration fee

Conformity or Homologation

A caravan or mobile home weighing more than 500 Kg and less than 3,500 Kg must first be checked for conformity to French road and safety standards, unless the owner possesses a European Certificate de Conformité and Certificate d’immatriculation or the Attestation d’identification from the manufacturer for the vehicle. The conformity check is handled through the owner's local Directions Régionales de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement (DREAL).

The caravan will need to conform (among other things) in the following ways:

  • chassis
  • braking system
  • towing head
  • electrical sockets (European standard)
  • gas regulators (European standard)
  • axle weights
  • reversing and fog lights

To initiate a conformity check the vehicle owner must complete and submit a Demande de Réception à Titre Isolé form, to the DREAL. The form details the make, model, chassis number and other particulars of the vehicle.

  • The French Government have more information from the DREAL (in French)
  • The document RTI01.2 has detailed information of the documents necessary when completing a Demande de Réception à Titre Isolé (PDF in French)

Examination

Once the documents have been sent to the DREAL they will be checked to ensure that the make, year and chassis number correspond to French homologation standards.

The DREAL will then inform the owner of a date to have the caravan, trailer or camping car examined.

Before presenting the vehicle it is important to check, change or add the following to ensure the vehicle conforms to French standards:

  • Chassis
  • Braking system
  • Manufacturer's mark (plaque constructeur)
  • Plate showing maximum laden weight, empty weight, size, length and width (Plaque de Tare). This is only required for vehicles that will be transporting goods
  • Identification number engraved on the vehicle
  • Axel weights
  • Tyres
  • Indicators and reverse lights
  • Security fittings on the rear of the vehicle (Anti encastrement arrière)
  • Tow head
  • Interior electrical sockets (caravans and campers)
  • Gas regulators (caravans and campers)

Trailers

The maximum laden weight (Poids Totale Autorisée en Charge - PTAC) and unladen weight (Poids Vide - PV) should be shown on all trailers, whatever the weight, on the nearside of the front of the trailer or on the draw bar.

Trailers greater than 500 Kg (PTAC, laden weight) must:

  • be registered, hold a Certificat d'immatriculation (Carte Grise) registration document and have registration plates (apply at the Préfecture)
  • have a certificate of insurance (certificat d'assurance), which must be shown in a waterproof holder in the front nearside window of the towing vehicle, on the front nearside of the trailer or next to the insurance certificate (certificat d'assurance) of the towing vehicle

Once the vehicle has been accepted by the DREAL, registration can take place at the local Préfecture.

Note: If a trailer has a loaded weight of less than or equal to 500 Kg, no special registration documents are required regardless of the country of construction.

Further Information