Buy a car
What is it?
If you want to buy a car, you have 2 options:
- buy a new car = which has never been used and which has no registration*,
*The registration certificate is also called "grey card", it is an official document which can be considered as the identity card of a car.
- a used car = which has already been driven and which is resold by another person.
The steps change depending on whether the vehicle is new or used.
You can buy a car without a driver's license. On the other hand, to try it and drive it, you must have a valid driver's license!
Good to know: As an asylum seeker, you also have the right to buy a car, register it and drive it.
Who is it for?
What to do?
Define the budget and the type of car you want to buy
The first thing to do is to define your maximum budget as well as the type of car to buy:
- new or used car? (if your budget is less than €10,000, prefer a used car instead)
- what size: how many seats? how many doors? how much trunk space? …
- what engine:
- diesel cars are more expensive to buy and maintain, the fuel is more polluting but cheaper and the cars consume less fuel. It is worth buying a diesel if you drive more than 20 minutes a day on average on national roads and on highways. Be careful because diesel cars are the first to be affected by a traffic ban in the event of a pollution peak. It will be more difficult to sell a diesel vehicle in a few years.
- petrol cars are cheaper to buy and maintain, and pollute less than diesel cars. But the fuel is more expensive (Unleaded 95 or 98).
- electric cars are developing more and more. They are expensive, have a limited autonomy and electrical terminals are not yet present everywhere.
- hybrid cars are a mix of electric and petrol: for starting and short journeys, it is the electric part that works, and it is the petrol engine that works for longer or faster journeys.
Good to know: Be careful, in the budget, remember to take into account the costs of maintenance and repairs, fuel and insurance! Do not hesitate to get information on the Internet and to seek advice from those around you.
Find a car
Feel free to do a lot of research to find the right car for your needs and budget. It may take time.
For a new car , you can:
- go to a dealership (which offers cars of only one brand). You can try the car and sometimes negotiate the purchase price (in a limited way). Keep an eye out for "open days" which can offer great discounts.
- go through an agent (who offers cars to individuals, which he himself has negotiated). Cars are often cheaper than at the dealership. The downside is that you often won't be able to test drive the car and you won't have a trade-in solution for your old vehicle. You will also have to pay attention to the manufacturer's warranty. Agents can sell cars in person or online.
For a used car, you can look around you (word of mouth with people you trust) or go on the Internet. Here are some examples of websites where you can find used vehicles:
- sites with ads verified by professionals:
- all sites for sale between individuals such as Le Bon Coin, Paru Vendu, Facebook marketplace ads or sales groups by city, department, region... on which the ads are less verified but you can find a good deal there! So beware of fake ads and scams.
Check the condition of the car (for used cars)
Once you have chosen a used car and if you can (physical purchase), go see the car!
- Check its general condition, test the elements (belt, pedals, wipers, air conditioning, turn signals, windows, tire condition, etc.), etc.
- Check that the chassis number (present on the bodywork) corresponds to the number indicated on the grey card.
- Look at the technical inspection documents and the maintenance booklet.
- Compare the advertised mileage to the mileage on the documents.
- Ask to test the car for a few kilometres! Check braking, clutch, road holding...
Good to know: If you don't know anything about cars and mechanics, bring someone more expert than you!
For used cars, you can ask the seller to provide you with the history of their vehicle via the Histovec site.
Histovec allows a seller to share data on the vehicle's history with a buyer: date of entry into circulation, changes of ownership, claims, administrative situation, history of technical inspections, etc. This history makes it possible to control certain frauds.
Check the mandatory information and documents
For used cars
There are several important points to check:
- required documents
The detailed list of mandatory labeling information and mandatory documents is available on this site
(the site tells you everything you need to get for a purchase from a professional and for a purchase from an individual).
Good to know: Be careful because these documents will be necessary for you to register the vehicle, in particular the certificate of declaration of transfer, the grey card, the certificate of non-opposition to the transfer of the grey card, the certificate of pledge or non-pledge.
For new cars
New car sellers have also to give you a number of documents and provide you with some warranties. Everything is explained on this site
These documents will be required to register the vehicle.
Insure the car and collect it
Insurance is compulsory for any vehicle that can be driven even if you are not using it.
Your car must be insured by you on the day you pick it up from the seller, so contact and sign a contract with an insurer before picking up the car. Insuring a car is quite simple and quick.
You can compare the different insurance options and prices by visiting the insurers' websites.
Once you have chosen your insurance, you must send several documents.
Register your vehicle
The grey card is the essential document to present during a roadside check. If you do not have one, you are liable to a fine of up to €750 and your car risks being immobilized.
Registering a car has a variable price depending on the age of the vehicle, its power, its CO² emissions, the region... You can evaluate the cost of registration on https://www.service-public.fr/simulateur /calculation/cost-certificate-registration
If you bought a car from a dealer, they were normally able to connect to the national registration system, and assigned a permanent plate number to your new vehicle.
If you bought a second-hand car, you have 1 month to register it and obtain a grey card.
Registration is now done online on the website of the National Agency for Secure Titles: https://ants.gouv.fr/monespace/s-inscription
Documents must be provided electronically, so you need a camera, scanner or phone that takes pictures.
The following documents are requested:
- the Cerfa 13750 form available by clicking here
- proof of address less than 6 months old
- the old vehicle registration document, crossed out with the words "Sold on (day/month/year)" or "Sold on (day/month/year)", and with the signature of the former owner
- if the car is more than 4 years old, proof of the valid technical inspection. The technical control must date from less than 6 months, or less than 2 months if a counter-visit has been prescribed.
- the transfer code provided by the previous owner.
You will have to pay the price of the grey card directly online by credit card.
If you have problems accessing this process, you can go to a digital reception point. You can find the nearest digital welcome point on this online map.
Good to know: You can also register your car with a licensed professional. To find a garage near you, please enter your address or consult the list of departments on the following link.
Don't forget to do your technical checks
You must do technical checks every two years to check that your car has no problem.
The 1st inspection is to be carried out during the 6 months before the 4th anniversary of the 1st entry into service of the vehicle. The date of the next check will depend on the result of this first check.
Good to know: No invitation is sent. The control is at your initiative.
You can do the technical control in any approved center in France.
In the event of a major problem, a new check, called a "counter-visit", is to be carried out after having made the necessary repairs.
Good to know: Please note, if you do not comply with the technical control obligations, you could receive a fine and/or have your registration document temporarily suspended (and therefore no longer be able to use your car).