Green plates

Applicable to:  Members of the personnel


Members of the personnel taking up residence in France must complete the formalities for the registration of their vehicle in France as soon as they receive their "special French card" (carte spéciale française).

Members of the personnel who meet the conditions of award outlined below enjoy exemption from customs duty and/or tax on new or second-hand vehicles. 
To qualify for this exemption, vehicles must be registered in the special 431 Kxxxx or 431 CDxxxx series, commonly referred to as “green plates”.

Only certain types of vehicle, such as private passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, can be registered in the special series. Motorhomes, vans, trailers, caravans, inter alia, may not be registered in the special series.

1. Conditions of award

Green-plate registration is limited to vehicles belonging to members of the personnel who hold a "special card" (AT or FI-series) or diplomatic card (CD-series) issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter MAEDI).

These series of special cards are notably issued to members of the personnel residing in France and whose contractual working hours are greater than 50%. Details on all the conditions of award of these types of cards are given in the French cards procedure.

2. Entitlements associated with green-plate vehicle registration

Beneficiaries of green-plate vehicle registration have the following entitlements:

  • exemption from the payment of VAT and/or import duties,

  • the carte grise certificate of registration is issued free of charge,

  • exemption from the French contrôle technique (statutory periodic vehicle check-up). 
    Nevertheless, owners of vehicles registered in the special series are still under the obligation to keep their vehicle in good running order and a satisfactory state of repair.

N.B.: in some cases, the taxes and duties payable will have to be settled at the customs office when the vehicle is sold (see details in paragraph 3 of the procedure and in the notes from the customs).

The following table shows the number of vehicles that may be registered with green plates together with the replacement period. Both may vary depending on the type of special card held:

  Holders of a French card of the AT or FI type Holders of a French CD-series diplomatic card
Number of vehicles 1 vehicle

Those who are unmarried, widowed or divorced or whose spouse/partner does not hold a spouse's/partner's diplomatic card 
(e.g. because he or she has French nationality or holds a special card as a member of the CERN personnel or a carte de séjour issued by the Préfecture):

1 vehicle

in other cases:

2 vehicles

Vehicle replacement period A period of two years must elapse before a vehicle registered in a special series may be replaced, if the vehicle was purchased tax-free. 
The deadline runs from the date on which the customs authorities (Direction générale des Douanes et Droits indirects, hereinafter referred to as "DGDDI") authorised the registration. 
This period will not apply, however, in the event of theft or force majeure, duly reported and identified as such.

3. Authorisation to drive vehicles registered with green plates

Vehicles registered with green plates may be driven only by the member of the personnel himself or by family members holding the same valid special French card (AT, FI or CD-series). French citizens and holders of a carte de séjour issued by the Préfecture or of an Attestation de fonctions issued by the MAEDI (FR, AR or CR-series) are not authorised to drive vehicles registered with green plates.


1. Application for a green-plate vehicle registration (K or CD)

The green-plate registration application procedure cannot be initiated until the initial French card has been received.

1.1 Request for authorisation from the MAEDI and the DGDDI

The request can only be made via the CERN Installation Service. The member of the personnel shall complete the appropriate registration documents, namely the MAEDI and DGDDI authorisation requests, as shown in the table below.

  New vehicle bought in the EU New vehicle bought outside the EU Second-hand vehicle Private vehicle 
(already belonging to the member of the personnel upon arrival)

MAEDI form

Forms 1 and 2 must be completed electronically (WORD format). The member of the personnel must submit to the Installation Service the ORIGINAL copy of the form(s) printed on BOTH sides, and 2 photocopies of the other documents required for the vehicle registration.

Demande d’immatriculation d’un véhicule automobile (Form 2 for FI or AT-series cards)
Demande d’immatriculation d’un véhicule automobile (Form 2 for CD-series cards)
Certificat d'exonération de la TVA et/ou des droits d'accise (Formulaire 1) Certificat d'exonération de la TVA et/ou des droits d'accise (Formulaire 1)
if vehicle purchased tax-free.
Copy of the insurance certificate ("carte verte") issued by an approved French or European insurance firm, mentioning the address in France of the owner of the vehicle. YES 
Insurance cover valid for at least three months.
Vehicle document (registration certificate) YES, if the vehicle is registered YES
Original invoice in the name of the beneficiary YES YES, if purchased at a dealership NO
Certificate of transfer of title (Certificat de cession) or deed of sale NO YES, if purchased from a private individual NO
Cancellation of the previous registration (K or CD) YES, except for a first-time registration application.
The vehicle's certificate of conformity YES YES YES YES

It is advisable to read the Information Memorandum of the Installation Service and send the duly completed forms to the Demande d’immatriculation d’un véhicule automobile (Form 2 for FI or AT-series cards) by e-mail before proceeding there in person.

After checking the documents, the Installation Service contacts the applicant and invites him to come and sign them. In signing the document, the applicant undertakes to comply with the obligations specified in Form 2.
The Installation Service sends the application file to the MAEDI.

N.B. In the case of vehicles, whether new or second-hand, that originate in a country that is not a member of the European Union and arrive in France with a transit document, the applicant must present Form No. 2, validated by the DGDDI, in order to obtain authorisation to take delivery of the vehicle without paying taxes. As it takes around two months to receive the validated form, the applicant must remember to ask the seller to specify the vehicle’s fiscal status at the time of placing the order.

1.2 Temporary certificate of registration (Certificat provisoire d'immatriculation - CPI)

If necessary (in particular when the vehicle has no registration plates), the owner can apply for a temporary certificate of registration (Certificat provisoire d'immatriculation - CPI): 
The French authorities grant temporary certificates of registration, which are valid for three months and allow the vehicle to be driven on French territory pending the issue of permanent registration documents.
The application for a temporary certificate of registration, prepared and counter-signed by the Installation Service at the same time as the application for green-plate registration is lodged by the applicant with the Sous-préfecture de Gex (by appointment only ; 26, rue Charles Harent, Gex; tel. +33 (0)4 50 41 84 89) together with the following documents:

  • application for a temporary certificate of registration (Form 2, counter-signed by the Installation Service),

  • one identity document,

  • the vehicle's certificate of conformity (in the case of a new vehicle),

  • the settled invoice (in the case of a new vehicle),

  • the certificate of transfer of title (for second-hand vehicle),

  • vehicle registration certificate (for second-hand vehicle),

  • recent proof of domicile.

The certificate is issued immediately (example of a temporary certificate of registration).

1.3 Obtaining the vehicle registration certificate (carte grise)

This procedure with the French customs is under revision, for more information: Registration and customs clearance of vehicles in the 431 K and CD special series ("green plates").

Once the application has been processed by the MAEDI and DGDDI, the French customs office at Ferney-Voltaire notifies the member of the personnel by e-mail that the special-series registration of the vehicle has been authorised (example).

The member of the personnel must then contact the French customs office within one month in order to submit all the documents specified in the authorisation letter.

The French customs office forwards the documents to the Sous-préfecture in Gex, which draws up the registration certificate, known as the "carte grise" (example of registration certificate). The certificate is posted to the applicant's home address.

N.B.: The applicant must keep a signed copy of Form 2 so that it can be produced in the event of verification.

2. Exchanging 431 K plates for 431 CD plates

Staff members residing in France and holding a French diplomatic CD card following a promotion are obliged to change the registration of their vehicle hitherto registered in the 431K series.

The staff member in question must provide the Installation Service with the following documents:

The procedure for obtaining new plates lasts 10-12 weeks. 
The staff member is allowed to drive his vehicle registered in the K series until he obtains the CD plates.

3. Cancellation of green plates and final settlement of customs duty

Green plates must be cancelled and customs duties settled when:

  • the vehicle is destroyed (including where the owner decides to send the vehicle to be scrapped) (see in paragraph 4 the notes from the French customs),

  • the vehicle is sold to anyone not enjoying the same privilege,

  • the privileged status has been lost (e.g. contract expiry, retirement, CERN working hours lower than 51%, naturalisation through the granting of French nationality),
    N.B.: A member of the personnel whose contract has expired or who is retiring and decides to take up residence in France (main residence) will not be obliged to settle the customs duties on the vehicle if he has owned it for over six months and if he undertakes to keep it for at least a year from the date of termination of his professional activities.

  • theft of the vehicle.

Conversely, no duties or tax are payable if the owner moves either to Switzerland or to another country (in this case the vehicle must be exported according to the procedure in force).

Members of the personnel must contact the French Customs Office to settle any outstanding duties or tax and to surrender the registration plates.

4. Notes from the French customs

N.B.: An appointment must be booked for all services relating to the registration of vehicles at the Gex sous-préfecture. 

4.1 Vehicles with two registration numbers (from 15.4.2009 onwards: green plates and French plates with a SIV number (example))

4.2 Vehicles registered only on green plates (without SIV number)


No revision Modifications Approved
1 Personnel Information notice from the Installation Service. 02.12.2011
2 Additionnal information from the Installation Service ("notes douanières"). Comments from the Relations from the Host States Service. 24.11.2015
3 An appointment must be booked for all services relating to the registration of vehicles at the Gex sous-préfecture.  01.02.2016
4 Information regarding the case of a vehicle that originate in a country that is not a member of the European Union and arrive in France with a transit document. 28.04.2016
5 Notes from the French customs in case the vehicle is destroyed. 29.04.2016