How To Buy a Car in France for Export

France is a great place to find a used car. If you’re looking for a specific make or model of car, you’ll likely be able to find it in France. Buying a car in France for export is relatively simple, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind. This is especially true if you’re planning on exporting the car to a country with different import regulations than France.

Buying a car in France for export involves three basic steps; buying exit plates, paying the attached excise duty (about 10%), and registration. The exit license plate is issued temporarily, and this will shield you from paying VAT on the car on condition that it leaves the country before expiration. 

When buying a car in France for export, you can buy a new or used car. New cars are hassle-free, and the entire process takes less time. Second-hand cars require more time so that you can verify their technical well-being. This article focuses on how to buy a car in France for export, right from finding a dealer to paying taxes.

What is the cheapest car you can buy in France?

Can foreigners or non-residents buy a car in France? 

Foreigners can buy a car in France as long they have the required documentation. The address is the most essential documentation when buying a car as a foreigner in France. 

You can provide any of these documents as proof of address for your transaction to sail through:

  • Title deed if you’re a homeowner in the country
  • Recent rent receipts if you’re a tenant
  • Bill of taxe d’habitation or proof of local tax, which should be not more than six months
  • Utility bills such as electricity, gas, water, or phone bills
  • A copy of the certificate of insurance if you’ve your home under a policy

You must also have proper identification documentation, such as a passport or ID. 

As a foreigner, you can use a car dealer to handle the paperwork, which is easier, although done at a fee. All you’ll be left to do is append signatures where necessary. 

You can also choose to handle the entire process privately, where you’ll have to handle the paperwork and see through the whole process.

When buying a new car as a foreigner in France, it comes with the relevant documentation, which makes it easier, but you’ll have to change some registration details. You’ll need to adjust the car’s certificat d’immatriculation, so it has your details as the legally registered owner.

Registration of these details is done online, which makes it efficient and fast.

To have a seamless process as a foreigner buying a car in France, ensure you have organized financing in advance. The process is straightforward and takes less time. 

In France, you have the option to buy a new car or a used car. A new car is hassle-free to acquire as the process is seamless.

If you opt for a second-hand car, get one that is less than four years, and the process will be seamless. If you go for a car more than four years old, you’ll need to cater for roadworthiness inspection before buying the car.

For the inspection to be valid, it must be below six months from the registration date. If the period exceeds, you’ll have to settle for another inspection which you’ll have to pay for.

For a car beyond four years, you’ll be expected to carry out the roadworthiness test biannually, and proof of this should be displayed on your windshield at all times. This allows the officers on the roads in the country to verify fast.

All vehicles in France must be insured, including those bought by foreigners.

You must also acquire the Crit’Air number, which must always be on the windscreen. The number is attached to show the amount of pollution caused by the vehicle. Some cities in the country have made this mandatory on all cars since 2017 throughout the year.

These towns include:

  • Paris
  • Rennes
  • Bourdeaux
  • Toulouse
  • Marseille
  • Lille
  • Grenoble

The more environmentally friendly your car is, the hefty the bonus you’ll receive, and some taxes will be waived, as seen below:

Source: theicct.org – French commitment to electric cars.

Buying a car in France: step by step 

When buying a car in France, you can buy a new one or a secondhand one. A new car goes for an average cost of 25,000 EUR, while you can get a used one from a private seller at 5,000 EUR.

The most common brands in France include Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen, all of which are native brands of the country. See what car is the cheapest in Europe and in France.

Buying a new car in France

Acquiring a new car in the country is straightforward and hassle-free. It involves the following steps:

  • Identify the car brand you want to buy and window shop around to establish the average prices from the different dealers stocking your choice. If you can go to your chosen brand’s dealership, you get better deals, and the process is less taxing.
  • Test-drive the car
  • Make payment
  • Registration
  • Buy private insurance cover for the car
  • Vroom! Hit the road, Jack

You can opt to carry out the entire process on your own or let the dealer handle the paperwork for you. All you need is to have the proper documentation for the process to be seamless. Prove your identity and provide an address; you’re good to go.

In France, you can register your car a month from the date of purchase. You’ll need these documents for the registration:

  • ID or Passport
  • Document of sale
  • Insurance proof
  • Proof of residence
  • Certificat de situation – Declares the car isn’t associated with debt.

Costs associated with registration differ from one brand to the next. On average, however, the registration fee falls between 300 and 500 EUR.

Check out the cheapest countries to buy a car in Europe.

Buying a used car in France

The first step is to identify the type of car you’re after. Next is to visit the different dealers that stock your chosen brand or look up major car dealers’ sites.

Secondhand cars involve more paperwork compared to new ones. Here, both parties are expected to provide specific documents. The seller should serve you with registration and a valid roadworthiness certificate.

The registration certificate will be transferred to your name once you complete the purchase process. As the buyer, you’ll settle the cost of the transfer.

For the registration to be seamless, you’ll need these documents:

  • ID or passport
  • Proof of residence
  • Filled copy of certificat d’immatriculation
  • Controle Technique certificat that shows the roadworthiness of the car

Once satisfied with the car, you make payments through a card or cheque. Enquire about the acceptable forms of payment when dealing with a dealer before transacting. Some could decline cheque settlement.

Once the buying process is complete, you’ll have the buying receipts and a provisional card showing the registration transfer. This is temporary, while a permanent one should be in your mail in a month. You’ll also have the Controle Technique certificate that shows the car’s roadworthiness.

See the most popular French websites for used cars.

Car export process in France

The car export process in France requires attention to detail, as a minor error could cost you more before you’re able to export the car.

There are three ways through which you can export a car from France. You can ship it through an agent, ship it yourself or drive it to your destination.

To settle on the best deal, ensure you verify the car’s details. Some of the aspects you should look into include:

  • Mileage
  • Number of previous owners
  • Year of manufacture
  • The roadworthiness of the car
  • Validity of the insurance
  • Legal details tied to the car

Once you verify all these are in order, it’s time to move to the next step, which is getting your hands on the license plate and the VIN to establish the technical capacity of the car.

Upon satisfaction, you must make all the necessary payments, including the excise duty and all other taxes tied to the purchase.

Next is to get the exit license plates which come in handy, especially if you opt to drive it to your destination.

Complete all the steps and formalities around the transfer of registration to make the shipping work easier.

You need to acquire temporary insurance covering the vehicle while in transit. Also, consider acquiring the Motor Third Party Liability (MTLP) insurance as it comes in handy when exporting the car.

Getting the insurance should come after you’ve registered the car and the entire process is done. 

In registering the car for export purposes, you need these documents:

  • The application for the car registration process
  • Verified excise duty payment proof
  • Proof of technical review
  • Purchase and sale translations under a registered translator
  • The foreign license plates, if you have them

Upon completing the entire process, ensure you have all the relevant documents. These are important on the road if you choose to drive or when receiving the vehicle if you imported through an agent.

Buy your car on one of the best used car websites in France.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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