Car translations France
How do you import a car from France?

Importing cars from France is not very popular, which may be associated with a greater choice of the model we are interested in and the good condition of the vehicles for sale. France is characterised by a smaller market, so that if you decide to buy a car, you should have no problem finding something interesting.

When looking for a car, it is advisable to use French classifieds sites. Below is a list of the most popular portals:

What sales document will I receive when I buy a car?
If you buy a car from a private seller you must draw up a purchase and sale agreement. You will then receive a crossed-out proof with the date of the transaction (according to current Italian law) and the car owner’s signature. If you purchase a car at auction, you will receive a purchase invoice.

The necessary documents to register and export the car are:

  • sales contract (or invoice) – it is important that the destination country is stated in the contract,
  • a crossed-out and signed registration certificate, the so-called carte grise
  • Special W Export plates, and a document of the same name – both the plates and the document can be purchased from the prefectures (French offices). You will wait a maximum of two days for the issue, from the moment you submit your application. In the event of damage to the car, it may happen that the official puts a note on the carte grise – ‘circulation intredite’, or ‘driving prohibited’. Such a message implies a ban on roads, not only in France but also abroad. In this case, you will only be able to transport the car on a trailer. The W Export vehicle card remains valid for a period of 30 days, containing the details of the new owner, and the country of destination.
  • Insurance – in addition to plates and a new vehicle card, you must also take care of international insurance.

The registration procedure in a nutshell:
After submitting the documents to the prefecture, within 48 hours you should receive a document on the basis of which you can export the car. The cost of the certificate is an expense of €46. You then get your number plates made – costing between €15 and €25 – and insure your car for 5, 8 or 15 days.

NOTE! Always pay attention to whether the vehicle has the original carte grise. This is because it may happen that a vehicle sold which has been involved in a serious accident does not have this document in the original. In this case, you will not be able to get a W Export card and will not be allowed to move. Then the only way to bring the car in is to transport it on a trailer.

How to avoid a penalty in Germany and why are export plates so important?

When buying a car in France, you need to know that the French registration certificate (carte grise), even when crossed out, remains valid in France for 30 days if accompanied by a proof of purchase or invoice. However, if you cross the French border this document immediately becomes invalid.
German police officers are taking advantage of the opportunity to recognise cars with such documents as not having a valid registration. At the time of the check, you must expect a hefty fine of up to €700 and the vehicle to be towed to a guarded car park. In this case, unfortunately, you have to bring in a trailer. The cost of an arrest with a fine, parking fees and payment for a tow truck can be as much as €5,000!

There is a way to avoid this situation. You have to buy the export boards mentioned earlier. To redeem them you go to offices called prefectures. However, there is one condition you must meet – in addition to the invoice or sales contract, you must present a grise card with valid technical tests. If you want to avoid unnecessary complications, make well sure that the car has an up-to-date inspection even before the transaction.

The costs incurred in the prefecture are as follows:
a) W Export plates – cost between EUR 10 and EUR 22
b) export registration card – from 25 to 35 euros

How much will I pay for the policy?
You still need to take out a policy to legally drive on European roads. The cost of the policy depends on the number of days for which it is taken out. If you take out a policy for 5 days you should pay €93, if for 8 days you should pay €100, or for 15 days you should pay €115.

What does the crossed-out evidence mean?
Once the car has been sold, the registration certificate, the so-called Certificat d’immatriculation, should be crossed out by hand by a French official with the notation “Vendu pans” dated and signed. Crossing out means that the car is sold and deregistered in France, while still retaining the French number plates.

How do you check the mileage of a car?
While in France, it is worth verifying the mileage status of the car. You can do this with the technical inspection documents in your possession, from which you can read the address of the technical station. The new windscreen vignettes (always on the lower right-hand side of the windscreen), in force in France since 2011, show the authorisation number of the station, making it easy to find the one where the test was carried out.

With this type of window sticker, you can easily check any car. Although windscreen vignettes are not compulsory in France, almost all cars over four years old, have them, as their absence could draw the attention of the police.

If the sticker is missing, there is a suspicion that the seller wanted to conceal the true mileage, or bought the car from an insecure source where the odometer had been turned up.

Those importing a car to Poland must expect additional costs in the registration process. Upon return to Poland, it will be necessary to go to a sworn translator.

The documents you have in your possession were drawn up in French and, under current Polish law, must be translated. The special repertory number, as well as the legible imprint of the translator’s round seal and signature, are indicated on the certified translation.

There are two types of technical reviews in France:
a) For new cars that have been registered for up to 4 years, the inspection shall be carried out once every six months
b) Older cars must be serviced every two years.

Although in France, at the time of sale of a used car, the seller must present a technical inspection certificate (French procès-verbal de contrôle technique) not older than six months, this provision does not apply to sales for export, e.g. to Poland.

When buying a car in France, even if the owner hands you an up-to-date certificate of technical inspection, this is unlikely to involve any savings you may make from it. Cars older than four years have to undergo an inspection every two years, so it is possible that your new acquisition will have a French technical inspection that is more than a year old and will not be recognised in Poland.

In addition, if you have a French technical inspection, you may be sent to a diagnostic station in order to establish the technical data necessary for registration and not included in the original Italian documents.
In summary, even if you have a current French inspection it is worth considering undergoing a Polish technical inspection.

At a Polish diagnostic station, you will receive a certificate of technical inspection and a Vehicle Identification Document after a successful inspection.

A car imported from abroad involves a compulsory visit to Customs Chamber. There you will complete the necessary formalities for registration, which should be completed within five days of purchasing the car. At the office, you submit a so-called “Simplified declaration for intra-Community acquisitions”, which is marked with the symbol AKC-U.
Of course, you must also make payment of excise tax, which you will transfer to the bank account of the relevant Customs Chamber.

On the basis of what is excise duty calculated?
Excise duty is calculated on the basis of the engine capacity of the vehicle purchased.

  • For cars up to 2000 cc , the excise duty is 3.1% of the vehicle price
  • For vehicles over 2000 cc it is as much as 18.6% of the vehicle price

What documents do I need to submit in order to obtain a certificate of payment of excise duty?

  • the completed AKC-U declaration
  • an application to the Head of the Customs Office for the issue of a document confirming payment of excise duty
  • proof of payment of stamp duty (the fee is PLN 17).

The next place you go once you have received your excise duty payment confirmation is the tax office. There you will complete all the formalities to obtain VAT exemption. In order to obtain the relevant document, you need to fill in a special VAT-24 application form and make a payment of PLN 160 to the office.

What do I attach to the VAT -24 application?

  • Originals and photocopies of previously translated vehicle documents
  • Proof of payment

There is one more expense before you visit the Motor Vehicle Department. You have to pay the so-called recycling fee, which applies to all persons who have brought a vehicle into Poland from abroad. The recycling levy was introduced in Poland in 2005 as a result of increased car imports from the West.

The fee is PLN 500 and you pay it by bank transfer to the account of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. Transfer details: National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management: BGK III Branch in Warsaw 65 1130 1062 0000 0109 9520 0014.

NOTE! It is important not to forget to include in the title of the transfer the model and make of the car, as well as the description “recycling fee”, and the VIN or chassis, body or frame number of the vehicle.

The last place you go to is to the relevant traffic department for your place of residence. When going there, remember to take all the documents you have managed to collect so far.

And don’t forget copies and translations. Be sure to also take your completed car registration application with you. On site, the procedure is simple. You hand over the documents and certificate of deregistration of the car in France, while the office issues you with a temporary registration certificate, plate and window sticker.

In order to be able to legally drive on Polish roads, you still need to go to your insurer, where you will conclude a third-party liability contract.

At the Department of Transport, you will pay 256 PLN for the registration of a car imported from abroad.

Included in the registration price is the cost:

  • Licence plates – PLN 80
  • Registration certificate – PLN 54
  • Issuance of a vehicle card – PLN 75
  • Issuance of a temporary permit – PLN 13.5

And also :

  • Legalisation sticker – PLN 12.5
  • Control sticker – PLN 18.5
  • Registration fee – PLN 2.

Once you have travelled this way, you can fully enjoy your newly acquired car.


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