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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I would like to take my US car with me when I move from the US to France.
I love my car....I really do.

I understand I can drive for a year with an international driving license.
Is it possible .....for even a short period while going through the paperwork/modifications..????

Looking on web ...reading horror stories regarding getting the correct paperwork...in the correct order...getting the correct modifications, tearing hair out.... etc...

Has any one managed to do this and remain sane?

Would really appreciate feedback....thanks so very much.

Karin
 

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Hi,

I would like to take my US car with me when I move from the US to France.
I love my car....I really do.

I understand I can drive for a year with an international driving license.
Is it possible .....for even a short period while going through the paperwork/modifications..????

Looking on web ...reading horror stories regarding getting the correct paperwork...in the correct order...getting the correct modifications, tearing hair out.... etc...

Has any one managed to do this and remain sane?

Would really appreciate feedback....thanks so very much.

Karin
Karin, Think about the cost of bringing over your car. As folks stated in the other thread most likely it would not be worth it. I know that moving to a new country is stressful, scary and you want to hold on to as many familiar things as you can.... but also think about the new possibilities.

The cost of bringing over an item across the ocean is high, which I think you recognize. So, think in terms of whether it's worth the additional cost for this item to pay the price of shipping or whether it would be easier to replace.

In regards to the driving license, you can drive with your CA license for a year. But after you will need to have a French one, which is a pain to get. I didn't have an international license and I had to redo the tests (written and driving) to get my license. The international license you might be able to convert to the French one. There is another thread on the topic on this site, which I read maybe about a year ago or so.
 

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You can drive for a while on a US license. (The "international license" is nothing more than a translation of your home country license - and you have to be carrying your home country license in order for the international license to be valid.) But if you intend to reside in France, you're supposed to get a French license sometime before your first carte de séjour expires (or within the one year period you get with this new "validated visa" procedure).

But what is the tough part is getting your US car registered in France. To get it registered, it has to pass the French safety standards which means, at a minimum you'll have to have the windshield replaced (different type of safety glass).

Parts will be difficult to impossible to get for repairs, and should you be involved in an accident, your insurance company will be very quick to "total" the car - just to be shed of having to deal with it.

Depending on what kind of car it is, too, you may find that a US car is not terribly practical on European (and especially French) roads. Gas costs easily two to three times as much as in the US - and actually diesel is far more popular and still somewhat more economical. The European equivalent of an SUV is considerably smaller than those behemoths in the US - and there are still roads and garages where the Euro-SUVs have trouble maneuvering. Parking spaces are smaller, and if you're going to have to parallel park in any city, lots of luck if you have a large-size American car.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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hi, its not just paperwork

Hi, to get your american car to EU standards which it would need to be to get the paperwork, you would need to get new LHD lights, EU spec braking system. and papers in french from the US makers that they made the car and to what spec it was made. If you don,t have EU markings on the seat belts, windows etc then they may ask you to change these over.
The french are a real pain in the ass re paperwork,, Just don,t go to all the cost of bring over your car and then find out they will not give you the paperwork.
michael
 

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Just sell or store your US car and get a secndhand car in France, to local spec and with right papers. Cars, including used ones, are expensive in France but it's nothing compared with the cost, pain and red tape of importing a US car!
 
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I love my car....I really do.
Karin
It must be a Veyron, am I right? Well sell it there, we have them here too.

No? It's not a Veyron? Oh, well, in that case put it up on bricks in some friends garage until you go home.

The costs, in both euros and blood pressure, are NOT worth it.
 

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How easy would it be for you to exchange your Californian driving licence for the driving licence of a state that has reciprocity with France?

These states have reciprocity: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia (check with a US Consulate or Embassy as this list is subject to change).

If you could get a driving licence from one of these states you would simply exchange it for a French one within a year of being in France. If not, you have to retake and pass the French driving test within a year.

No exchange is given for International Driving Permits.

As everyone has mentioned, getting a Certificate of Conformity (to EU standards) your US car is going to be nearly impossible...nearly...but I believe some have done it at tremendous costs and enduring years of anguish and frustration.
 
G

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It must be a Veyron, am I right? Well sell it there, we have them here too.

No? It's not a Veyron? Oh, well, in that case put it up on bricks in some friends garage until you go home.

The costs, in both euros and blood pressure, are NOT worth it.
Have to agree. That said, some years back when I was moving to Thailand (from France), I did go into the possibility of taking my car with me. But that would have been just for the experience. It would have involved driving up to the Ukraine, through Russia, Kazakhstan, China... (the alternative through the likes of Afghanistan and Burma didn't really appeal). Crazy maybe, but it's been done in the opposite direction, for charity - in a three wheeler, two-stroke, tuk-tuk taxi of all things. What stopped me? Thai duty on importing a car at something close to 100% of the value of the car!

(Who knows though, Thai customs may well be responsible for my still being here today more or less intact ;))
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Karin, Think about the cost of bringing over your car. As folks stated in the other thread most likely it would not be worth it. I know that moving to a new country is stressful, scary and you want to hold on to as many familiar things as you can.... but also think about the new possibilities.

The cost of bringing over an item across the ocean is high, which I think you recognize. So, think in terms of whether it's worth the additional cost for this item to pay the price of shipping or whether it would be easier to replace.

In regards to the driving license, you can drive with your CA license for a year. But after you will need to have a French one, which is a pain to get. I didn't have an international license and I had to redo the tests (written and driving) to get my license. The international license you might be able to convert to the French one. There is another thread on the topic on this site, which I read maybe about a year ago or so.

Hi Dashenka,

Oh sigh....reading all of the comments about bringing a car (my car) to France...
I really love this (big) car....I feel safe in it....if anything hits me I think there is a good chance of making it out alive.. More sighing... will find someplace in the US to store it.

Thank you Dash.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Have to agree. That said, some years back when I was moving to Thailand (from France), I did go into the possibility of taking my car with me. But that would have been just for the experience. It would have involved driving up to the Ukraine, through Russia, Kazakhstan, China... (the alternative through the likes of Afghanistan and Burma didn't really appeal). Crazy maybe, but it's been done in the opposite direction, for charity - in a three wheeler, two-stroke, tuk-tuk taxi of all things. What stopped me? Thai duty on importing a car at something close to 100% of the value of the car!

(Who knows though, Thai customs may well be responsible for my still being here today more or less intact ;))
Dear Frog...

WOW....more WOW...

It would have made a very good story.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How easy would it be for you to exchange your Californian driving licence for the driving licence of a state that has reciprocity with France?

These states have reciprocity: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia (check with a US Consulate or Embassy as this list is subject to change).

If you could get a driving licence from one of these states you would simply exchange it for a French one within a year of being in France. If not, you have to retake and pass the French driving test within a year.

No exchange is given for International Driving Permits.

As everyone has mentioned, getting a Certificate of Conformity (to EU standards) your US car is going to be nearly impossible...nearly...but I believe some have done it at tremendous costs and enduring years of anguish and frustration.
Hi Sun...

Would be very easy to exchange my California license for a Florida one...son lives in Fl.

I am not into years of anguish and frustration........ sigh.

THANK YOU....Florida is a very good idea...

Karin
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Karin, Think about the cost of bringing over your car. As folks stated in the other thread most likely it would not be worth it. I know that moving to a new country is stressful, scary and you want to hold on to as many familiar things as you can.... but also think about the new possibilities.

The cost of bringing over an item across the ocean is high, which I think you recognize. So, think in terms of whether it's worth the additional cost for this item to pay the price of shipping or whether it would be easier to replace.

In regards to the driving license, you can drive with your CA license for a year. But after you will need to have a French one, which is a pain to get. I didn't have an international license and I had to redo the tests (written and driving) to get my license. The international license you might be able to convert to the French one. There is another thread on the topic on this site, which I read maybe about a year ago or so.

Sun,

You understand exactly how I feel about my car.... it's such a good car....has taken very good care of me.

Thank you......
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You can drive for a while on a US license. (The "international license" is nothing more than a translation of your home country license - and you have to be carrying your home country license in order for the international license to be valid.) But if you intend to reside in France, you're supposed to get a French license sometime before your first carte de séjour expires (or within the one year period you get with this new "validated visa" procedure).

But what is the tough part is getting your US car registered in France. To get it registered, it has to pass the French safety standards which means, at a minimum you'll have to have the windshield replaced (different type of safety glass).

Parts will be difficult to impossible to get for repairs, and should you be involved in an accident, your insurance company will be very quick to "total" the car - just to be shed of having to deal with it.

Depending on what kind of car it is, too, you may find that a US car is not terribly practical on European (and especially French) roads. Gas costs easily two to three times as much as in the US - and actually diesel is far more popular and still somewhat more economical. The European equivalent of an SUV is considerably smaller than those behemoths in the US - and there are still roads and garages where the Euro-SUVs have trouble maneuvering. Parking spaces are smaller, and if you're going to have to parallel park in any city, lots of luck if you have a large-size American car.
Cheers,
Bev
Bev....just wrote a response (lengthy) to your mail and it disappeared...this has happened before on this site..............

SO....

You all are the voice of reason...I am going to take everyone's advice ..which is hard for me to do in this case. There is not one positive (encouraging) remark.

My wonderful (yes big) car that has kept me safe for the last eight years will stay in the US... will find a garage for it. I am going to be buried in this car so there is no chance of selling it.

Thank you all......... are newish used cars really that expensive in France?

Thank you all again.

Karin
 

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Oh sigh....reading all of the comments about bringing a car (my car) to France...
I really love this (big) car....I feel safe in it....if anything hits me I think there is a good chance of making it out alive.. More sighing... will find someplace in the US to store it.
That was the other point I was wondering about. If your car is "big" (especially by US standards), I'd really think twice (or a few hundred times) about bringing it to France. There are roads here in the middle of towns that are only nominally negotiable by the European sized SUVs (which are smaller than US models). I would really not want to have to get around in a big US car over here. (Forget about parking it!)

How long are you planning on being in France?
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That was the other point I was wondering about. If your car is "big" (especially by US standards), I'd really think twice (or a few hundred times) about bringing it to France. There are roads here in the middle of towns that are only nominally negotiable by the European sized SUVs (which are smaller than US models). I would really not want to have to get around in a big US car over here. (Forget about parking it!)

How long are you planning on being in France?
Cheers,
Bev
Hi Bev,


Thank you for more of your wise council... big heavy sigh..

Plan to be there 3-5 years...maybe longer...have spent blocks of time (6-9 mos) before ...always cried all the way back to the US. I have UK citizenship so this makes things a bit easier...

Best,
 

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- US standards and European industry standards differ, but for instance importing a Mercedes C240 in France from US is no problem since they are manufactured in Germany and therefore already have EU standards. A Toyota Corolla might not and neither would a Ford Focus manufactured in US or Mexico.

The answer is : depends.
 

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- US standards and European industry standards differ, but for instance importing a Mercedes C240 in France from US is no problem since they are manufactured in Germany and therefore already have EU standards..
I wouldn't count on that. Cars sold in the US are built to US standards. Cars sold in the EU to EU standard. The location of the factory doesn't mean much.

Think of daylight running lights. All cars sold into Canada for 20+ years have had the feature. That doesn't mean the EU companies fitted daylight running lights to cars sold in the EU.
 
G

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- importing a Mercedes C240 in France from US is no problem since they are manufactured in Germany and therefore already have EU standards. A Toyota Corolla might not and neither would a Ford Focus manufactured in US or Mexico.
All of this may be true, but equally, it might not be.

Just because a MB is made in Germany does not mean that it will conform to the regulations of anywhere except where it was destined to be sold.

Likewise, an 'American' Focus or a 'Mexican' Focus.
 

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All of this may be true, but equally, it might not be.

Just because a MB is made in Germany does not mean that it will conform to the regulations of anywhere except where it was destined to be sold.

Likewise, an 'American' Focus or a 'Mexican' Focus.
I've got a separate thread going on this right now - and I'm starting the process. Follow along for the ride

David
 
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