French Vehicle Registration Document (Certificat d'immatriculation)

The details on the vehicle registration documents and paperwork needed to buy, sell or scrap a car, move house or replace a lost or stolen Carte Grise...

The immatriculation is a vehicle (truck, car, camper, motorbike etc.) registration. The details of a vehicle's registration are carried in the Certificat d'immatriculation (certificate of registration, previously known as the carte grise, grey card).

The certificat d'immatriculation (carte grise) or registration document identifies:

  • the vehicle registration number
  • the owner of the vehicle
  • details of the vehicle (make, model, year of manufacture, horsepower, engine and chassis numbers)
  • its compliance with European technical standards

The certificat d'immatriculation is specific to the vehicle and its owner. When a car is bought or sold, the new ownership must be registered within one month of the transfer and a new certificat d'immatriculation will be issued to the new owner. Paperwork is handled by the Prefecture or Sous-Prefecture and in some cases, by the local mairie.

The certificat d'immatriculation should be carried in the car at all times. It can be asked during a police check or at a customs border control.

A foreign registered car imported to France will need to go through a conforming process before being eligible for registration and a certificat d'immatriculation.

  • See: Importing a Car to France
  • The French government website Service Public provides comprehensive information on the certificat d'immatriculation (in French only): Click here
Vehicle Registration System (SIV)

France adopted a new, nationwide vehicle registration system in 2009. This is the Système d'Immatriculation des Véhicules (SIV). The term "Carte Grise" no longer applies; the registration document is now called the certificat d'immatriculation.

How it works

  • The vehicle is issued with a registration number at the first point of registration. This remains with the car until it is destroyed or exported, regardless of its location of registration in France
  • An owner need not change the registration of a vehicle bought in a different département
  • An owner need not change the registration if they move département, although they are required to report a change of address. A sticker will be sent by post which must be placed in the registration document (there is no charge)

A vehicle owner who does not change address nor sell/buy a car need not change the vehicle registration plates of their vehicles during 2009. In fact, at this stage no time limit has been set for the new registration system to be implemented on all vehicles.

Regional vehicle taxes remain unchanged.

Mopeds

50cc motorbikes are included in the system and new mopeds are issued with the SIV number.

Classic and collectors' cars

In order to protect the integrity of a classic car, the white on black number plate may be used, but must (if changing hands) display the new SIV number. Further changes are coming into effect regarding registration and ownership of classic cars, including requirements for obligatory roadworthy checks (contrôle technique).

  • Further information from the Fédération Française des Véhicules d'Époques, FFVE : Click here (in French)

The registration plates

The plates have seven identifying letters and numbers in black on a white background. The format is: two letters - three numbers - two letters.

Do you have a suggestion to improve this page? click here...

Content Sponsor

PK RENOVATIONS

Construction and renovation company with a team of builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians...
Find out more...

Free Removals Quotes with Best Global Movers

Get free quotes from up to 6 removal companies and save up to 70%! Click here to get your quote.
Find out more...

The Riviera Times

English language newspaper for the French and Italian Riviera, and Principality of Monaco,...
Find out more...

Featured Information

Schooling & Education

Schooling & Education

Find out about the French and the international primary, secondary and university school systems.

Read more...
Driving

Driving

How to make sure you stay on the right side of the law when you're driving in France.

Read more...

Postcards

Port Hercule

Port Hercule

Luxury yachts in the deep water marina

Related Discussions

image description
See more...

Become a Member

Register to become a member of AngloINFO French Riviera

Registering with AngloINFO is quick and simple and gives you a lot of additional opportunities to benefit from AngloINFO's many services. It's also completely free of charge.

Read More...

Featured Information

Driving

Driving

How to make sure you stay on the right side of the law when you're driving in France.

Read more...
Income Tax

Income Tax

The responsibilities of the taxpayer in France: understand the French tax system and how it affects your income.

Read more...

Useful Tools

Get Listed

If your business or non-profit organisation is based within French Riviera, you can list it in the Business Directory free of charge

Read More...

Useful Tools

Tell A Friend

Have you found AngloINFO helpful? Why not tell your friends about it. If you don't use social media, you can find a simple email form here.

Read More...