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Importing Your Vehicle Into France
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A French resident can import a new or used vehicle free of French VAT (Value Added Tax) provided the VAT was paid in another EU country. If a new car is brought in on which VAT has not yet been paid, the VAT will be due immediately on its arrival in France. Customs computes the VAT based on the invoice price for vehicles less than six months old or less than 6,000 km usage, whichever is applicable. If a car is older than 6 months, a reduction is made based on its age, and the VAT is payable on the balance. Under these conditions, it is better to buy a tax-free car abroad and use it for six months or more before importing it. However, French residents buying tax-free cars abroad have a limited time to export the vehicle. Check with customs for the VAT rates.
Aside from VAT, customs duty is paid on cars imported from outside the EU. The rate depends on the country of origin and the value of the vehicle in France, using the Argus guide to second-hand car prices. Some countries have reciprocal agreements which could result in lower duty rates. There is no duty on cars imported from another EU country, provided you can present the purchase and registration documents.
You can pay the tax and duty in cash or by banker s draft at the point of importation at the local tax office (H tel/Recette des Imp ts) where you live. After settling the VAT requirements (by paying or confirming that VAT is not applicable), a customs certificate ( Certificat de Douane 846A) is given to you, permitting you to register the vehicle in France. The Form 846A is required regardless of VAT applicability. You have to register the imported vehicle in France within three months.
To register your car, first contact your local Direction R gionale de l Industrie, de la Recherche et de l Environnement (DRIRE) for a checklist of the required documentation, such as
* The customs certificate ( Certificat de Douane 846A).
* The vehicle identification number (VIN) and proof of your identity and address
* A manufacturer s certificate of construction ( certificat/attestation de conformit ).
* Proof of origin of the vehicle ( justification de l origine du v hicule) or a certificate of sale ( certificat de vente).
* Proof that VAT was paid in the country of origin ( d claration d imp t).
* A registration request form ( demande de certificat d immatriculation) and a demande d identification (confirming the vehicle s details).
* The foreign registration document ( titre de circulation tranger).
* A test certificate ( rapport de contr le technique) not more than six months old if the vehicle is more than four years old.
You might have to contact or go to different offices to secure the required documents, as follows;
* The DRIRE to get a certificat/attestation de conformit
* The vehicle manufacturer to obtain a certificate
* Your local H tel des Imp ts for a d claration d imp t.
* A test center if the vehicle is more than four years old. If the vehicle fails the test, it must be rectified and the test center should give you documents to prove rectification was done (justification).
* The local pr fecture to get registration application form ( demande de certificat d immatriculation) and a demande d identification (confirming the vehicle s details).
* An insurance company or broker and a garage or other outlet to get a registration document and registration plates.
Keep copies of the documents for your reference since some offices might keep several of your documents for their files. Be sure you have the necessary papers required for each office or you will waste time going back and forth.
For more information about laws and procedures about shipping to shipping to france, visit
Importing Your Vehicle Into France