Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Buying a used car privately in France

Buying CarThe person you buy from has to be the propriétaire du véhicule (owner) named on the car registration (certificat d’immatriculation).

Make sure that the series number stamped on the car matches that of the seller’s registration documents.

Before paying for and taking possession of the used car, the seller must provide you with all of these four documents. You will need them to register the car in your name:
  • 1/ certificat d’immatriculation (carte grise) barrée.
  • 2/ certificat de situation administrative (certificat non-gage)
  • 3/ contrôle technique (CT)
  • 4/ déclaration de cession

Registering a used car

Documents needed:
  • 1/ Proof of identity: passport, carte de séjour, driving licence
  • 2/ Proof of residence: a recent utility bill (EDF or France Télécom), house deed or home insurance document
  • 3/ Completed form certificat d'immatriculation, (Cerfa n°13750*03) which is available from the prefecture, sous-prefecture, mairie or download at
  • https://www.formulaires.modernisation.gouv.fr/gf/showFormulaireSignaletiqueConsulter.do?numCerfa=13750*03
  • 4/ certificat de situation administrative (from previous owner)
  • 5/ certificat de cession (from previous owner)
  • 6/ The old certificat d’immatriculation (carte grise) barrée with the writing "Vendu le..." with the date of the sale and previous owner’s signature
  • 7/ If the car is more than four years old, a contrôle technique (MOT) dated within six months
  • 8/ Cheque, credit card or cash payment (not all prefectures and sous-prefectures accept cheques, and only a few in the country take credit cards).
Registering a used car by post
  • 1/ Send copies of all the paperwork above to the prefecture or sous-Prefecture.
  • 2/ Send the upper part of the certificat d'immatriculation marked as sold with the date and signature of the seller but keep the detachable coupon in the car until your new registration arrives
  • 3/ self-addressed stamped envelop
  • 4/ cheque or mandate made out to Trésor Public for price of vehicle registration. The price of registration is set annually and is varies across the country. For rates in the Alpes-Maritimes, go to the prefecture’s website, choose Carte Grise, and then “Tarifs de carte grise”
Buying Car
Time of delivery

The certificat d'immatriculation is sent by registered post (certified mail delivery with a signature required) to your home address within a period ranging from one week to one month.

Pending receipt of the certificat d'immatriculation, you can drive for one month with the detachable coupon of the previous certificat d'immatriculation, which you would have obtained from previous owner during the sale of the vehicle to you.

If the previous seller’s certificat d'immatriculation did not include a detachable coupon, a provisional registration certificate (certificat provisoire d'immatriculation - CPI) is sent to you.

Registering online:

Registration can be done online at cartegriseminute.fr, and new number plates requested, within 48 hours. But this is just a temporary CPI (certificat provisoire d'immatriculation). The official documents will be sent to you by registered mail at least one week after registering online.

Additional information:

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