Importing a Car to France

Find out how to import a car to France and get it registered on the roads. The information here only applies if you are bringing a car to France for your own, personal use...

The immatriculation is a vehicle's registration. The details of a vehicle's registration are carried in the Certificate d'Immatriculation (previously called Carte Grise; grey card).

Before being able to register a foreign vehicle in France and receive the Certificate d'Immatriculation registration document, the vehicle must conform to the French road standards. The simplicity of the process can vary depending on the make, age and country of origin of the vehicle.

The process is different (and can be simpler) for classic and collectable vehicles; it can be far more complicated for modified vehicles. Please enquire at the Préfecture.

Using a Foreign Car in France

It is not obligatory to register a foreign vehicle in France unless the owner is resident in France. A resident is someone who is domiciled in France for more than six months (183 days) per year, or who is employed in France.

EU legislation

Under EU law, a private vehicle may be temporarily imported and used on French roads for up to six months without registering it.

Any vehicles belonging to people staying in France for more than six months must be registered.

Vehicles not yet registered in France can only legally be driven by residents of the country if the owner is a passenger. Visiting friends and family may drive the vehicle, as long as they are not resident in France.

  • The EU have more information