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Am I Resident or Not?

Proving residency in France unless you actually live here can be very tricky

Are you able to prove residency in France?

There is a lot of misinformation available on this topic via the internet, much of which dates back to when it was easier to defeat the administration systems but it is vitally important that you understand how the law applies to your own circumstances.

Wherever you consider your home to be in the world, the rules which apply to everyone regarding vehicle registration in France are very clear. As a private individual, to register a vehicle here you must be resident in France and be able to prove your residency. To avoid any ambiguity, the registration authorities have a specific list of documents which must be produced in order to complete the registration of a vehicle, without which you simply will not get the all-important registration certificate.

As an individual, you must be able to show at least one of the following documents to the authorities in order to register a vehicle:-

Un titre de propriété – the title deeds (in your name) to the house where the vehicle will be registered

Un avis d’imposition ou de non-imposition de l’année précédente – An annual French tax return which must also be addressed to you at the address where the vehicle will be registered

Une quittance de loyer de moins de 6 mois – a residential property rental agreement (dated in the last 6 months) for a property where you purport to live in France (a holiday rental agreement does not satisfy this requirement)

Une facture de gaz, d’électricité, de téléphone fixe ou de téléphone portable de moins de 6 mois – a utilities bill in your name for the property where you wish to register the vehicle (gas, electricity, phone line or contract mobile phone bill in your name)

Une attestation d’assurance logement – a current house insurance certificate in your name at the address where you want to register the vehicle

The list of documents and other information about registering vehicles (in French only) can be found on the official government website here.

Obtaining a visa, paying tax in France or having an address to use does not entitle you to claim you are resident and without one of the specific documents above you will be very hard pressed to convince the authorities to accept residency status.

Many people have tried (and failed!) to use a pay-as-you-go mobile phone contract, a letter from a friend/relative or a variety of other papers to achieve vehicle registration without success because they simply haven’t supplied one of the documents from the definitive list. In particular, one would think that a mobile phone bill would be an easy route to accessing the system but in order to get a mobile phone contract here, you must first prove residency so the process becomes a looped nightmare!

A word of warning to add…

It is possible that with a fair amount of creativity you could produce one of the documents you need to cheat the system but you have to consider the potential consequences of choosing this route.

Falsifying documents or making false declarations is a criminal offence which could land you in serious trouble if discovered but perhaps of greater concern is that you may also invalidate your insurance by falsely declaring residency.

This might not trouble you until you are facing a big claim (for damage to your own vehicle or worse still, for a third party claim against you which could run into hundreds of thousands of euros) at which point the insurance company can simply refuse to pay your claim and you will be in effect, uninsured.  This is both illegal and potentially ruinous so we don’t think it is a risk anyone should take.

So if I cannot claim to be resident, what is the solution?

Our unique scheme to facilitate legal RV ownership for overseas visitors does not require you to claim residency in France or make any false declarations so we can ensure you have legal title to the vehicle you buy, that you can be fully insured and that you have the right to sell your motorhome at the end of your trip.

Get in touch with us so we can share the full details and costs of our scheme with you.

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