Import regulations for Japanese used vehicles in France

With time, the demand for Japanese used vehicles has increased. Almost all countries across the world import used vehicles from Japan. The reason for this is their superior quality and performance. The Japanese automobile industry is known among people for years. Buying a used vehicle is a wise decision as one gets a quality vehicle at a reasonable price. France, a country in western Europe also imports large numbers of used vehicles from Japan.

Import regulations in France

Nowadays, due to many portals sites available, it is a trend in France to buy efficient and convenient Japanese used cars online. Japan is prominent for manufacturing good quality used cars at practical prices. There are certain regulations that an importer should follow while importing a vehicle in France. Importation of left hand drive vehicles is allowed in the country.

Importing a used vehicle from Non-EU nation:-
While importing a used vehicle in France, no duty is payable on a used vehicle imported for personal use, provided that all customs fees and taxes due were paid in the country of origin. Plus the vehicle should be belonged to the importer for a period of above six months, and that they were resident outside the EU for at least a year. VAT, customs duty must be paid on cars imported from outside the EU.

Documents required for importing vehicle:-

  • Identity Proof
  • Residence Proof (property title deeds, rental contract, utility bill, insurance certificate).
  • A copy of the foreign registration certificate.
  • Copy of the attestation of Conformity issued by the manufacturer or their agent.
  • A copy of the certificate of purchase and customs clearance certificate issued by the Centre des Impots.
  • French Côntrole technique (Technical Tested) certificate if the car is more than four years old; this must have occurred less than six months previously (two months if a contre-visite or re-test is required).

The applicant will have to complete a déclaration de mise en circulation (Declaration of distribution) and a form for additional information about the vehicle. The report will be sent to the DREAL (Direction Régionale de L’Industrie, de la Recherche et de l’Environnement), which will send notification when to present the vehicle for examination at the DREAL testing centre. If the vehicle passes the test, the DREAL will issue a statement of approval. Importer has to take the statement of approval, the Carte Grise and new registration number to the local Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. All that remains is to have new number plates made and fitted.

Taxes in France:-

  • Import Customs: Cars 5-17%
  • VAT: (CIF + Import Customs) x 19.6%
  • Registration fee: EUR 34 per horsepower (half price for more than 10 years old cars)
  • Eco Supercharge

If the vehicle is less than six months old or has covered less than 6,000km (3,728mi), the VAT is calculated on the invoice price; otherwise a reduction is made according to its age, and VAT is payable on the balance. Therefore, it is better to buy a tax-free car and use it abroad for six months before importing it.

Along with VAT, when the vehicle is imported from outside the EU, customs duty must be paid on cars. No duty on cars imported from another EU country, provided that the importer produce purchase and registration documents. The rate of duty varies with the country of origin and on the vehicle’s value in France.

After the used vehicle importer pays VAT or confirmed that VAT isn’t payable, the importer will receive a customs certificate (Certificat de Douane 846A). The certificate allows the importer to register the vehicle in France. It is necessary to register the vehicle within three months of importation.

Documents required for registering a vehicle:-

  • Identity Proof: passport, carte de séjour or French driving license.
  • Residence Proof: A recent utility bill (EDF or France Télécom) or rental receipt, house deeds or home insurance documents.
  • A completed certificat d’immatriculation (registration certificate), registration document is available from the Préfecture, Sous-Préfecture, Mairie or police.
  • A certificat de situation administrative (Certificate administrative situation) provided by the seller.
  • A certificat de cession (certificate of transfer and document of sale) from the previous owner.
  • The registration document of the previous owner, marked in indelible ink “Vendu le…” or “Cede le…” with the date of the sale and signature of previous owner and dealers stamp if appropriate.
  • If the car is more than four years old, a Contrôle technique (technical inspection) certificate is required which should not be older than six months, or two months if a checkup on the vehicle was required.

Note– Before registering a foreign vehicle in France and receiving a Certificate d’Immatriculation (Certificate of Registration) document, the imported used vehicle must match with the French road standards. The process can vary depending on the make, age and country of origin of the vehicle.

Used vehicles imported in France are shipped usually through ports Le Havre and Marseilles. Generally, the RoRo shipment method is used for used vehicle shipment. On request of customers, more expensive, yet convenient and safest shipment method, container method is used.


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