This week the UK community in France was abuzz. In the first case of its kind, or at least the first to go public, a British man who holds a 10 year carte de séjour was stopped at Roscoff for having neither registered his British-plated car in France nor paid import duty on the vehicle.
This incident raises several topics and warnings that we at French Connections HCB thought it useful to pass on.
The law regarding cars driven by non-EU people who are legally resident in France and officially holding a carte de séjour is very clear. Their non-EU-registered car must be registered in France within one month of arrival.
Although this law has been in place for the UK since Brexit, checks have not been systematic which may have given rise to the feeling that the rule wasn’t going to be enforced.
The British person who was stopped argued that he spends roughly three months in France twice a year and the rest of the time back in the UK. However, that’s not how the French administration sees it. If you hold a residency document, as he does, you are counted as legally resident. His 10 year residency visa undeniably means he had to have been resident in France for the previous five years to be entitled to it, so registration of his UK vehicle was well and truly overdue.
It’s more than a question of non-compliance, though.
If you have an accident in your non-EU-registered vehicle more than a month after your arrival in France as a French resident, the 180 euro fine may be the least of your worries. There is a very big chance that your insurance will be invalid.
If you are reading this and worried about your own situation, simply book a free 15-minute initial consultation with one of our friendly team by clicking here. We can either supply you with the information you need to register your car in France yourself, or we can step in and handle it for you.
If you are concerned about finding insurance, we can recommend our trusted English-speaking insurance partner Fabien at fabfrenchinsurance.com who will certainly be able to offer a rapid and competitive quote.
You’ll be able to breathe more easily knowing both you and your car are driving legally!
French Connections HCB Team