Buying a Car Before Residency

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Buying a Car Before Residency


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Old 29th September 2020, 12:54 PM
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Default Buying a Car Before Residency

Hi Folks,
I'm American who recently became a Hungarian citizen. My American wife and I are currently in Budapest and will be driving to our home in the Pyrenees next month. As soon as possible, we'll head up to Toulouse to the prefecture so my wife can get her Carte de Séjour and I can tell them I'm here in France. Neither one of us plan to work so based on a previous thread, this should be a snap.

Question: Can we go ahead and buy a car in France before we take care of our residency issues or should we wait until that is squared away? Thanks in advance.

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Old 29th September 2020, 03:10 PM
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One thing you will learn about France is that it's NEVER a good idea to say (or to think) that any administrative process "will be a snap."

Granted, you have a fairly straightforward path - but this IS still France so you need to be prepared for a few obstacles. (Actually the better prepared you are, the more likely things will go smoothly.)

To get your carte de séjour (which you may well need to get your wife a carte de séjour as the spouse of an EU national), you will definitely need your Hungarian passport and/or any national i.d. card issued by Hungary. (To prove your EU nationality.)

Your wife needs to put in her request for a carte de séjour within the first 90 days after her arrival in France. But for that request, she'll need your identity and nationality documents (this is where the carte de séjour comes in handy if you don't have a Hungarian i.d. card) plus proof of both of you having a residence in France and some form of health insurance for the first six months or so. (You can't enroll in the French national system until you have 3 months of residence.)

They may request your wife's birth certificate and your marriage certificate or license - and these documents may need to be translated by a "traducteur assermenté." Easiest to have the translations done in France because the certified documents are standard issue and you won't have any acceptability problems.

You (as the EU national) will also have to have some proof of your "financial resources" - usually a pension if you are coming to France as an "inactif."

If you've got all the documents, things should go pretty smoothly, but they always have the right to ask for "just one more document" - sometimes a couple or three times. It's nothing personal. And once requested, the carte de séjour can take a few weeks (or months) to be issued.
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Old 29th September 2020, 05:54 PM
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1) Welcome, American-Now-EU-Citizen.

2) You'd probably be better off to have a 'residence' in France, as in a lease, a gas bill, an electricity bill. The French like to see utility bills and rental bills as proof of residence as things like French drivers licenses don't actually have addresses on them. Who knew?

3) We have just bought a car in France and we had to pay for it with a bank transfer from a French bank. When I asked if I could pay for the car with a Visa or American Express credit card (pre-cleared with both) I was met with huge spit-takes and cries of "WHAT?"

The French have their ways, and those ways usually involve stopping criminal behavior. Like buying cars with cash.

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Old 29th September 2020, 06:45 PM
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I believe you will need some kind of home in France in order to be able to buy a car, though you don't actually need to be resident as such. Since you say you have a home in the Pyrenees, that should be fine (even if it is a holiday home), and I assume therefor that you have a French bank account, though it may be possible to do a transfer (in Euros), into the dealer(s account. Once you have chosen your dealer and your car, you will need to take out insurance before you can take delivery - the dealer will arrange the registration but needs all of this information, including your ID, in order to do so, which of course means a delay in taking delivery. Of course, if you choose a new car that is not available from the dealer's stock, you will have to wait longer because dealers in France carry little stock beyond demonstrators. Second hand cars OTOH are available, as are some demonstrators that dealers want to get rid of, and these are already registered though still require the registration to be transferred (with all the aforementioned paperwork) before you can take delivery.

It is more complicated if you try to do a private purchase and I would not recommend that route for a first time car purchase in France.

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Old 29th September 2020, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for the information! We have the attestation from when we purchased the house as well as a French bank account. We'll be sure to set the wheels in motion for insurance before we buy the car. Thanks again.

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Old 8th October 2020, 05:52 PM
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I have the opportunity to buy a French registered car for sale in UK. There are UK dealers who specialise in RHD and some of their cars are still on French plates - there's one I've 'saved' has CT valid to Jan XX '21

What is the procedure if one arrives in FR with a FR reg car but, as yet, no FR address or bank account - tho' I have a Euro account with a Spanish bank.

Insurance? CT?

I'm arriving in FR in early Nov with the intention to stay and obtain a CdS and all the 'trimmings'

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Old 8th October 2020, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainendeavour View Post
I have the opportunity to buy a French registered car for sale in UK. There are UK dealers who specialise in RHD and some of their cars are still on French plates - there's one I've 'saved' has CT valid to Jan XX '21

What is the procedure if one arrives in FR with a FR reg car but, as yet, no FR address or bank account - tho' I have a Euro account with a Spanish bank.

Insurance? CT?

I'm arriving in FR in early Nov with the intention to stay and obtain a CdS and all the 'trimmings'
I think you mean the dealer specialises in LHD cars, not RHD.

You can't legally drive a French car in France unless it is registered in your name or you have the registered owner's written permission. You also need French insurance, which has to be subscribed by the owner as shown on the documents.

The procedure to register a French car is here: https://www.french-property.com/guid...ation-process/

French car dealers are authorised to hold documents etc. and sell cars on behalf of owners, but it is unlikely that a UK dealer will have this authority, so you would have to deal directly with the owner shown on the Carte Grise, who also has to complete a Transfer Certificate and inform the authorities he has sold the car within 15 days of the date of the sale as shown on it.

The CT has to be dated less than 6 months before the sale. These are due every 2 years, so one expiring in Jan 2021 is dated Jan 2019, so is too old.

It may be easier to register the car in the UK to get it in your name, then get the French registration re-established once you are in France. This in now all done on line, through ANTS, but is so involved that many/most people now use an agent.

In any case, as you are not established in France, you can't use ANTS, as you can see from the link above.

It is possible to do the registration if everything is perfect, but many have come to grief.
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Last edited by Nomoss; 8th October 2020 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Add info'
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Old 8th October 2020, 06:45 PM
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Note that you need an address in France to register a car here.
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Old 9th October 2020, 10:32 AM
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Many thanks for your reply. Very helpful. That link is an excellent resource.

Methinks I would be complicating my life more than already/necessary to try to import this car at the same time as making 'landfall' in FR for the purposes of establishing visibility to those who demand it.

An address and a FR bank account are the sine qua non of this issue. This is not the first of these UK based FR reg cars I've seen. It's a particularly good one at a very attractive price but, like London buses, there will be another along in a minute, if it sells.

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Old 9th October 2020, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainendeavour View Post
...This is not the first of these UK based FR reg cars I've seen... ...like London buses, there will be another along in a minute...
And, ironically, many of the London buses are operated by the French!
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