french car

Importing a French car. Everything you need to know

14 March 2022

Importing cars is a very popular practice which many people commit to. They mainly look for savings compared to the other market and good quality from abroad, accordingly to the widespread opinion on the imported cars

After the car is imported, it has to be registered among other mandatory formalities. How to do it in accordance with the law and within all the time limits? What else is involved in importing a French car and what risks would you have to face in such case?


What should you pay attention to when selecting a French car?

People looking for a car from France should pay attention to certain factors which ultimately impact the total price of the car you’re interested in. In the end, the imported car is supposed to serve for the next several years and must not have defects concealed by its previous owner or rich accident history. While browsing the offers, you should at least pay attention to the following variables:

  • year,
  • temporary deregistration matter,
  • mileage,
  • MTPL insurance expiry date,
  • done car reviews,
  • the car’s legal status,
  • number of owners,
  • the technical condition of the vehicle.


While looking for a used car, it’s a good idea to devote a longer while to check the chosen carespecially its technical condition. All the factors should be analysed thoroughly. You should be able to get the license plate number and the VIN – if you’re dealing with a fair seller, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to get such information. On the basis of this information, you can check the most important records of the vehicle.

Importing cars from France is a very popular solution among clients. In order to do so, you need to buy the exit plates, pay the excise, and complete a series of other formalities connected to car registration. Then, a car from France can be legally driven on the roads.


Pay attention

Cars originating from the French market are very desired. It is mainly thank to their technical condition, panel condition and relatively lower mileage, compared to the vehicles imported from Germany. Clients especially value the absence of corrosion, thanks to milder winter in the majority of France territory, where harmful for car salt is not used.


How to check a car from France?

Used cars from France are very popular, but their shipment requires careful planning. The distance between your country and France is quite substantial, which consists of the lion’s share of the total cost connected to the logistics of this undertaking. There are several methods of shipping a car from France. It is worth choosing one of them already during the search for the car – this way you will avoid extra costs. After the purchase, we should receive from the seller a vehicle registration certificate, the so-called – Carte grise (certificat d’immatriculation).




Carte grise_french vehicle registration certificate

Carte grise_french vehicle registration certificate


Shipping a French car yourself

You can ship a car from France yourself, on wheels. Then, you will need to take into consideration the gas costs and the temporary license plates along with the insurance. They cost several dozen Euros. A short-term insurance is also important to pay attention to. It allows you to legally exit France, where, is also needed, necessary to purchase an MTLP insurance. Temporary insurance is valid for 30 days, after which you need to buy its full version in the country where you want to register your car. The travel to France, the car pick-up location and car search expenses also need to be added to the final total cost. 



Including the flight or bus ticket price, accommodation and food costs, you will end up with a non-trivial amount required for the entire logistics connected to the private import.


The owner of a car from France also has to get exit plates. You’ll get them from the French register office, which probably requires a translator’s help. Temporary license plates are necessary if you want to import a car on your own. Then, you can replace the temporary license plates for the ones issued by the register office – issuing them completes the car registration.


Importing a car via an agent

Using the help of a transport company is a convenient way of importing a car. It often involves shipping a car on a tow truck, which allows distributing the transport costs to country to several different cars – clients. For this venture, you need to prepare additional cash.




There’s also an option of purchasing an already shipped car, available within country or even commissioning a specialising company to search for a particular model. In such case, you need to remember to provide the vehicle card and all other required documents, properly conclude a purchase and sale agreement and check whether the car has a valid MTLP insurance – before entering public roads.


Driving a car from France back to country

If a car has proper exit plates, then it can enter the country. If driving such car is forbidden, and the registration office refused to issue required documents, then the car can enter the country via a tow truck. In such case, you must not enter driving the car on your own. The help of professional companies seems to be necessary. After registering the vehicle, you should immediately purchase an MTPL insurance, on the same day you receive the vehicle registration card.


Documents required for registering a car from France

When registering a car from France, you need to prepare certain documents. These are:

  • application for car registration,
  • foreign license plates (if issued),
  • excise payment confirmation,
  • technical review confirmation,
  • translations of the purchase and sale agreement done by a sworn translator.


With these documents the buyer should come to the department of transportation for the purpose of registration It is important to collect all of the documents during finalising the transaction, regardless whether you’re buying the car for the company or for a private person. The relevant applications can be easily found on the websites of particular offices.


Translating the documents

When it comes to cars imported from the member countries of the European Union, there’s no necessity for translating all the documents. In such case, you only need to have translated the parts added in a form of official annotations. If you’d still want to make sure that there wouldn’t be any extra complication during the car registration, it is a good idea to translate all the documents – remember that the office worker might find something which in their opinion is an inaccuracy, which might substantially delay the registration process.


The most important document to be translated is the purchase and sale agreement. This is why many people decide to sign two language versions of this document at once. It allows registering the car more easily, and avoiding translation costs. You don’t need to translate the vehicle registration card.


Technical review of the vehicle

A car from France should have a valid technical review. In this country it is done every 4 years starting from the first registration date. While purchasing a car, the buyer should obtain a confirmation of such review done within the last 6 months, containing the data of the diagnostic station.


The information concerning the technical review of the car can be also found by its VIN number. It is a good option to check it relatively early, before travelling abroad for the French car. It is there where the information about the vehicle inspection station visits is stored. In France, the information concerning the technical review is also placed on the front car window.


After checking the vehicle, the new owner is obliged to go for a car technical review at a Polish vehicle inspection station. Only after receiving the document from such station are you allowed to register your car in the department of transportation.


How to check a car from France?

French cars are usually in a better technical and panel condition than the other country ones with similar mileages and manufacturing year. Still, you should not resign from checking them thoroughly before purchasing.


It is good to know

Does this article seem interesting to you? Also, check out the products offered by autoDNA – the leading provider of vehicle history reports in Europe and the USA. Free VIN lookup can help you avoid extra costs of buying a car with an unknown past. You can perform a VIN check 24/7 throughout the year. – all you need is the Internet access and the VIN number of the vehicle you want to check.





Buying used cars is safe, if you check beforehand the odometer (the real mileage), technical condition, service history and the legal issues concerning the car you are interested in. By importing a car from France, you can often save money and at the same time become an owner of a well-maintained vehicle with a good history. It all depends on the persistent search and knowledge which allows discarding bad cars.


Is it worth buying a car from France?

People potentially interested in cars from France often wonder, whether it is worth importing a car from abroad. For many years, the popularity of this practice has been on the rise, and on the market there can be found vehicles both in a very good technical condition, but also neglected and damaged ones.


Yearly, there are around 7.000 cars imported from France in varying condition. Such cars are usually considered as better maintained, still each time before buying a car from France it is important to pay attention to its condition and legal status. The vehicle history is extremely crucial, and it should be as much as possible confirmed by the bills of previously done services. It very often reflects the car’s technical condition and the care of its previous users.



french car info

french car info


Also read how to import a car from:

  1. UK
  2. Germany
  3. Italy
  4. the Netherlands
  5. Belgium
  6. Denmark
  7. Sweden
  8. Ukraina
Importing a French car. Everything you need to know
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Importing a French car. Everything you need to know
Importing cars is a very popular practice which many people commit to. What else is involved in importing a French car?
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