Keeping a car in france when non resident

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Keeping a car in france when non resident

Postby cesampson » Tue 09 Jan 2007 19:21

Hello all,

I am hoping that someone with a really good knowledge of the laws/regulations concerning vehicle ownership vs non-residence will be able to give me some positive advice on this scenario :-

I am not resident in France, and do not intend to be. However, I would like to buy a holiday home in France. This will not be "real property" but a sited mobile home in one of the many leisure parks, and I would be paying annual site rental ( which would include utilities) for my pitch on the site. My intention is to be at my holiday home for between 3 and 6 months each year ( sorry workers, I can do this whilst you are working away, since I am retired!). Ideally, I would also like to rent a lock up garage in France, buy a car, and use the car during my holidays. Hence, I would not have the nausea of a long drive each time I visited, so I would either fly or take the train each time I went to France. The arrangement would also ensure that a vehicle was available locally for other members of my family to use when they used my holiday home when I was not there.

To me it sounds like a sensible strategy that would meet my needs and the needs of my family, and between us we would be feeding the French state with a stream of tourist income. Hence, I would like to think that the rules would not actively discourage that which I am proposing. Or is that too much to hope for?

Of course, I want my car ownership in France to be 100% legal. i.e, car purchased and fully taxed and registered in France, with up to date Control Technique, and properly insured, etc.

My question is can I actually do this, when I am not tax resident in France, have no "real property" address, apart from a temporary one at a camp site, no utility bill, etc? To complicate matters further, the location of my rented garage may well be a long way distant, i,e, probably not even in the same prefecture as my camp site, since I will want the site to be somewhere of my choice, whereas the garage will need to be quite close to a suitable airport/rail station.

Any advice will be very much appreciated. Thank you.
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Postby Jazzman » Sat 24 Mar 2007 00:55

Most people in your situation (and there are many) just leave a British registered car here. of course there is the problem of taking it to the UK once a year to get it MOT'd. It needs to carry a current UK tax disc. Under EU law, British car insurance automatically provides 3rd party cover for countries of the EU.

There is a topic on this forum
which you obviously missed at

[Edited: that link is now obsolete. Please see my posting below. Kay]

that covers your question in full detail. There are various options. What you finally decide to do is of course entirely up to you.

If you want to stay perfectly legal, buy a car in France and register it in the name of a French person whom you can trust. This is acommon expat solution in many countries in cluding Thailand where I now live after moving fron France where I lived for 12 years with a UK registered vehicle.
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Postby Kay » Sun 06 May 2007 14:14

Thanks, Jazzman

It's a big help to us when members point out previous threads where questions have already been discussed or answered. Saves having multiple threads about the same thing.

However, we've completely revamped the France forum since then and the link was obsolete. I've found what you refer to, though, and made it a sticky at the top of this board.

Thanks again for your help.

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