Paperwork in france for a car

I will keep the english version a little bit shorter since my german version is more specific to germany/france. But in general it is about the hurdles that are present if you want to register your new used car at the Department for Motorvehicles or whatever it is called in the US or outside germany/france. Anyway. After you found a deal with someone you have to fill out some papers. Also the seller has to fill out some stuff before.
I have some downloadable Links from the Prefecture in Montpellier Department Herault (34) :

Certificat d’immatriculation (PDF)
To Register the new Car

Certificat de Cession d’un vehicule (PDF)
Contract for the selling of the used/new Car

Certificat de non-gage (PDF) 
Certificat that tells that there is no such pledge on that cartitle.


You also need the Document of the Controle Technique (Technical review of the car) a ID / Passport and/or a proof of your current living situation (contract, electricity bill…). If you are married like Dagmar and I but everybody kept the familyname then you need also a proof of marriage. It is not very common in france to have different familynames. Even the Program at our Bank has no such mask available when you open a account. The program assumes that Mr. Kahle and Mrs. Kahle are there and not Mr. Kahle and Mrs. Engelbrecht.
So that is one little issue.
Everything else is pretty easy. To avoid long waiting lines and stress at the Prefecture you can also go to the Majorsoffice. The ladies there are very friendly and helpful. At least in our little town Baillargues.
They help with all the additional paperwork and you finally get a Récépissé de demande de Certificat d’immatriculation which is valid until you receive the new Carte Grise (vehicle registration certificate, takes about 4 weeks).


There is not a common yearly tax on cars in france like there is germany, but when you get a new Carte Grise you must pay a one time tax. This tax is calculated with the CV = cheval Vapeur = Horse power, but not like the HP of the engines itself. It is more like a tax.
Our Jumpy for example has 7 CV. Each Department has a different value for each CV. In our Department Herault 34 it is also 34 Euro. 4 Euro extra tax are added and that comes to 242 Euro for a new Carte Grise. Other Departments are cheaper. Our Clio is about 85 Euro. It has 5 CV but is also older than 10 years, that makes it cheaper (50 percent).

If you understand french you can look at the following Webpage about Carte Grise and the costs:

We will have even more paperwork when we go back to germany and take the Citroen Jumpy with us, but that will be another story.

To get an insurance it is also a little different from germany. In germany for example I have my Ford Cougar and my Trabant 601 insured under my name. Not a big deal. Many Insurances in France have a different view, as long as you are not a business they assume that you are only able to drive one car at a time. So they won’t easily allow you to insure a second car under the same name. In this case, when you are married, your partner must insure the car. So we had to get a document from the german insurance Company about the Rate Group for third party liability / Collision. Othewise you will be insured like a new driver and that will be expensive.
When this is all done you just need to put the new insurance card to the inside of the windshield and voila, you can drive around.

It is not a huge task, but it takes a while. Have fun and enjoy.

A bientot – The 4 2/3 Engelkahles

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