Thursday, February 2, 2012

The girl’s now French!

Probably the one thing we were dreading most in our move to France was the re-registering of our car.  From all of the research I had done on the internet the process seemed to be intolerably arduous, time consuming and very frustrating.  It also seemed that in order to achieve the final goal there was a need to destroy a small forest of trees to provide the copies of the pertinent documentation required.

First step – request a certificate of conformity from KIA in the UK, not a promising start as that took 6 weeks and several chase up calls to arrive.

Next – or what we thought was next – changing the headlamps to European beam - according to all research a critical step!  There is No Kia dealership in Saint Malo, the nearest being Rennes 60KM away, so we approached a local garage who said they would do it for us – they just needed to speak to Kia for price and availability of parts! – we left our number but heard nothing!

Next – get a temporary insurance policy based on a documented commitment to register the car in France - this seemed to be relatively easily achieved through an agent recommended by our Notaire.  The agent was non English speaking though so some of the finer points were difficult to understand (there was much resorting to visiting the car park to point at various aspects of his car to see if we wanted cover!)  This temporary cover would become permanent once we were in possession of the prized Carte Grise – Certificate of Registration.

We had all the documentation we needed for the insurance apart from the document confirming our commitment to register the car in France – so we hot footed it to the Prefecture to make the application.  Of course after the first failed attempt – french lunchtime closures thwarting us – we sat in front of the appropriate official.  Very helpful indeed and we are grateful that we made this application when we did because he explained that it was not neccessary to change the headlamps immediately and that that would only be a potential requirement at the cars first ‘controle technique’ (MOT) when it was 4 years old.  Our girl was only just over three so a reprieve!

Next – the acquisition of a Quitas Fiscale – basically an import certificate which declares that appropriate tax was paid at the time of purchasing the car.  We had the original invoice so that was easy to prove.  All reports suggested that there would be a requirement to take 5 copies of all documentation required so on the allotted day I spent a happy couple of hours photocopying passports, proof of residence, log book and original invoice etc – (we have no printer ink left now!)

In the afternoon we visited the local Centre des Impots (tax office) and made our application.  All in all the process took about 3 minutes and no copies were required!  But at last we had everything we needed.

So finally back to the Prefecture where we patiently waited our turn to sit infront of the official again.  Eventually all happened well and despite a 870 euro tax payment for the life of the car it was relatively painless.  We were in posession of a provisional Carte Grise and a new registration number CA-591-SE.

A quick visit to the French version of Halfords and 54 euros later the girl was french!!!!

So benefits of registering car in France:

Fully comprehensive insurance with exactly the same cover as in the UK, 450 euros (approx £387) as opposed to the £795 we were paying in the UK!

Road tax for the life of the car 870 euros (approx £750) as opposed to £275 per year for potentially the next 5 or 6 years!

We’re in France – what else needs to be said!


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