Tidying up the unfinished car administration from years back

When we moved to France we drove our car there with the intention of officially importing it at some stage.

However, we were rather busy in the first few months in France setting things up, then spent the rest of that first year trying to catch up on various bits of administration that we’d put off in the early part of the year. Thus it was quite late on that we started looking into importing the car.

By then we’d become rather wary of the circular path that administration often takes in France and so it was no great surprise to find that it was going to be almost impossible to import our car. Compounding the difficulties was that it was a grey (ie personal) import to the UK so it didn’t have the European type approval. That added another circle of administration to be worked through.

Fortunately in some ways the car developed a couple of what seemed like major problems if the garages were to be believed (which we later found out were relatively trivial things) at around the time when we needed to do something concrete in terms of importing the car. So we ended up just leaving it in the car park for the next six years. It’s not that we intended to do nothing about it, just that one thing or another always had a higher priority and besides the more we looked at the administration required to import it officially, the more we tended to look away.

Anyway, it’s obviously not worth a whole lot now and it’s become one of the French annoyances that need to be cleared up so we thought we’d either sell it or at least get it towed away.

It turns out that thanks to the French love of administration that we can do neither until we can come up with some ownership papers that they will recognise. The ancient log book was never going to be a runner in their eyes even if we could find it so we figured that we’d get the new V5 certificate which is a European style document that they should recognise. Now, those that have read the small print of their own V5 certificate will note that it specifically says that it’s not proof of ownership but seemingly is accepted as such in France as it is here.

So, after finally getting the VIN without which the DVLA said they wouldn’t issue a new one, we set off to Coleraine this morning. We’d a couple of queries so couldn’t use the local offices hence the trip to Coleraine. Nope, can’t issue you that. There’s a note on the record that says the car was exported back in 2005. Well, would you expect anything to do with European administration to be easy?

After some debate, it turns out that they can issue the export certificate which they should have issued back in 2005 though. This contains the same information as the V5 and moreover is free. All being well, the French will accept it.

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