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 "French card" (carte spéciale).
Members of the personnel who meet the conditions of award outlined below enjoy exemption from customs duty and/or tax on new and 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 residence permit (AT-, FI- or CD-series) issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter MAE).
These special permits are issued to members of the personnel residing in France whose contractual working hours are more than 50%. Details of the conditions of award of these permits 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,
issue of the vehicle registration certificate free of charge,
exemption from the French contrôle technique (statutory periodic vehicle test).
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 French customs office when the vehicle is sold (see details in paragraph 4 of the procedure and in the notes from the French customs below).
The following table shows the number of vehicles that may be registered on green plates, together with the permitted frequency of replacement, depending on the type of French card held:
|Holders of an AT- or FI- series French card||Holders of a CD-series diplomatic French card|
|Number of vehicles||1 vehicle||
if unmarried, widowed or divorced, or if the spouse/partner does not hold a spouse/partner diplomatic card
in all other cases:
|Permitted frequency of replacement||A period of two years must elapse before a vehicle bought tax free and registered in a special series may be replaced.
This period 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 does not apply, however, in the event of theft or force majeure, duly reported and identified as such.
3. Driving the vehicle
Vehicles registered with green plates may be driven only by the member of the personnel or by family members holding the same valid French card (AT-, FI- or CD-series). In particular, French citizens and holders of a carte de séjour issued by the Préfecture or of an Attestation de fonctions issued (FR-, AR- or CR-series) by the MAE are not authorised to drive vehicles registered on green plates.
1. Application for green-plate vehicle registration (K or CD)
The application for green-plate registration cannot be initiated until the initial special residence permit (French card) has been received.
1.1 Putting together an application file
The request can only be made via the CERN Installation Service, to which the member of the personnel must submit the necessary documents, as listed below, in a single application file:
|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)
|Copy of the special residence permit||In all cases|
|Copy of identity document (passport)||In all cases|
|Proof of place of residence||In all cases|
Forms 1 and 2 must be completed electronically (WORD format). The member of the personnel must submit to the Installation Service four original copies of the form(s) printed on both sides, and two 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 the vehicle is purchased tax free.
|Copy of the insurance certificate (carte verte) issued by an approved French or European insurance company, specifying the owner’s address in France.||YES
Insurance cover valid for at least three months.
|Original registration certificate||YES, if the vehicle is registered||YES|
|Original invoice in the name of the beneficiary, in French or English*||YES||YES, if purchased at a dealership||NO|
|Certificate of transfer of title (Certificat de cession) / deed of sale (certificat de vente) (Cerfa No. 15776*01)||NO||YES, if purchased from a private individual||NO|
|Cancellation of the previous registration (K or CD series or if registered in a country other than France)||YES, except in the case of first-time registrations.|
|Compliance certificate (certificat de conformité)||YES||YES||YES||YES|
* The invoice must include the tax-free price and the intra-community VAT number where applicable.
You are advise to read this Information Memorandum of the Installation Service and to send the duly completed forms to the Installation Service by e-mail before proceeding there in person.
After checking the documents, the Installation Service will invite the member of the personnel to come and sign them. In signing the forms, the applicant undertakes to comply with all the obligations specified therein, in particular those regarding administrative and customs clearance in the event of the export, destruction, sale or theft of the vehicle.
The Installation Service then sends the application form to the MAE, which forwards it to the DGDDI and then to the Préfecture de police in Paris.
N.B. In the case of vehicles 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 2, validated by the DGDDI, in order to obtain authorisation to take delivery of the vehicle without paying taxes. The applicant must remember to ask the seller to specify the vehicle’s fiscal status (i.e. whether or not duties and taxes have been paid) at the time of placing the order, as it takes around two months to receive the validated form.
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 obtain a temporary certificate of registration (Certificat provisoire d'immatriculation - CPI), which is valid for two months. The CPI allows the vehicle to be driven on French territory until the definitive registration is complete.
The Installation Service sends the request to the Préfecture de police in Paris by post, as soon as it receives the MAE’s acknowledgement of receipt of the application file.
The Préfecture de police in Paris sends the CPI by e-mail to the Installation Service, which then forwards it to the member of the personnel (sample temporary certificate of registration).
1.3 Obtaining the vehicle registration certificate (CIV/carte grise)
After the application has been processed by the MAE and the DGDDI, the vehicle registration certificate is issued by the Agence nationale des titres sécurisés (ANTS) and sent by post to the Installation Service. The CIV allows special number plates to be obtained and fitted to the vehicle.
N.B. The applicant must keep and carry a signed copy of Form 2 so that it can be produced in the event of a customs check.
2. Exchanging 431 K plates for 431 CD plates
Staff members residing in France who are issued with a CD-series diplomatic special residence permit following a promotion are obliged to change the registration of any vehicle previously registered in the 431 K series.
The staff member concerned should first go to the French customs office in Ferney-Voltaire to hand in the existing number plates, and then submit the following documents to the Installation Service:
Demande d’immatriculation d’un véhicule automobile (Form 2 for CD-series cards), completed electronically, printed on both sides and signed;
two photocopies of the French CD-series diplomatic card;
two photocopies of a French insurance certificate for the vehicle concerned;
two photocopies of the certificate of cancellation of the registration in the 431 K series, issued by the French customs office at Ferney-Voltaire;
a copy of the certificate confirming that the green plates have been handed in;
the original of the old vehicle registration certificate (431 K XXXX), minus the detachable coupon allowing the vehicle to be used temporarily.
Until the new CIV is received and “CD” series plates are obtained, the member of the personnel must register the vehicle under its normal “SIV” number. The procedure for obtaining new plates takes 10 to 12 weeks.
3. Transfer of vehicle
In the event of the vehicle being sold to another person eligible for green plates, the owner must make an appointment at the customs office in Ferney-Voltaire or visit the office during its usual opening hours, to submit Form 2 and the vehicle registration certificate (CIV) and, if applicable, to hand in the green plates.
The owner then gives the buyer Form 2, the CIV, the certificate of transfer of title (certificat de cession) and the certificate issued by the customs office confirming that the green plates have been handed in, all of which must be included in the application file for the new registration.
Green plates must be cancelled and customs duties settled when:
the vehicle is destroyed (including voluntary scrapping) (see Notes from the French customs office in paragraph 5),
the vehicle is sold to anyone not eligible for green plates,
the vehicle owner loses his or her privileged status (e.g. end of contract, retirement, CERN working hours less than 51%, French naturalisation),
N.B.: Members of the personnel whose contract has expired or who are retiring and who decide to take up residence in France (main residence) may obtain free customs clearance for their vehicle if they have owned it for over six months and if they undertake to keep it for at least a year from the date of termination of their professional activities,
a new vehicle is purchased for registration in the special series and the owner already owns one or two vehicles (as applicable) with green plates,
the vehicle is stolen.
However, no duties or taxes are payable if the owner moves to Switzerland or to another country (in this case the vehicle must be exported according to the procedure in force).
The member of the personnel must contact the French customs office in Ferney-Voltaire directly to submit the file, settle any duties or taxes that may be payable and hand in the registration plates. The customs office will provide the member of the personnel with a certificate confirming that the green plates have been surrendered and will validate the relevant documents, depending on the vehicle’s destination.
The formalities for registration on normal registration plates must be completed via the Installation Service.
N.B.: Since September 2017, the formalities for the registration of vehicles in the special series have been the responsibility of the Préfecture de police in Paris, using the single application file procedure outlined above. The formalities for registration in the normal series must be completed online via the following website: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1050.
|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|
|6||Since September 2017, the formalities for the registration of vehicles in the special series have been the responsibility of the Préfecture de police in Paris.||31.01.2018|