What are the rules around how long you can spend driving in France with a car that is registered elsewhere in the EU, before you have to go about taxing/registering/etc it?

And does it make any difference if your car is right hand drive, rather than a left hand drive one that you'd normally have in France?

  • thank you for this information. I am a doctoral student from the EU driving my car in France. I not sure if i should change the plates?
    – Emanuel
    Aug 20, 2022 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


In France you have to abide the common EU rules about using non-local, EU registered cars. This means that normally a resident in a country cannot drive a non-local, but EU registered car unless:

  1. If the car is not yours, the registered owner is not a resident in that country, and he is sitting with you in the car (like a car owned by foreign family member, while he is also with you)
  2. If the car belongs to (or to be more precise is registered in the name of) an EU based company, and you are working for that company (that company can be yours though).
  3. If the car is on a lease in an other country (for example it's a car hired from another country)
  4. You are a student and are only studying in the given country. You are also legally enrolled in an educational establishment.

As a non-French resident you can also only drive your car for a maximum of 6 months in a 12 month period before needing to register it. So basically you can drive your EU registered car for up to 6 months, or up to the point where you become a resident in France. After that, you need to register it.

It doesn't matter whether your car is left or right hand drive for registration reasons, but insurance companies might charge more for a right hand drive car (in mainland Europe).

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