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Requesting a French vehicle registration document: Essential things to know !

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The legal steps to receive your car registration certificate
The registration certificate for a vehicle in France, formerly known as the "carte grise", is an official document that identifies a vehicle. Every owner of a motor vehicle, whether it’s a moped, car, trailer or truck, must necessarily possess it in order to legally circulate on public roads. Here are the essential things you need to know about the formalities for obtaining a car registration document.

Why do I have to apply for a car registration document?
Several situations require you to apply for a vehicle registration document. When you buy a new vehicle, you have to apply for a new registration. The same goes if you’ve moved, or in the case of a lost or stolen registration document. These steps will allow you to update your information.

The request for a vehicle registration document must be made to a vehicle registration service within a maximum of 30 days from the date of purchase of a new vehicle, your change of address, or the loss or theft of your vehicle registration document. It should be specified that in the event of a vehicle sale, the former owner must declare the transfer within 15 days. The registration formalities are all the more important as they are compulsory and you risk paying a fine of up to 750 Euros if they are not carried out on time.

Car registration procedures: what is it all about?
To apply for a car registration document, you previously had to go to the prefecture. However, since the closure of the prefecture's registration services, as part of the Plan Préfectures Nouvelle Génération (PPNG), all procedures for new registrations, changes of ownership and other procedures must be carried out online.

In fact, a reform was implemented in November 2017 to modernize State services in France, which involves the “onlining” of certain administrative procedures. The main aim of this reform is to eliminate long queues at government offices and reduce the waiting time to receive a car registration document. Thus, you no longer need to travel to apply for a car registration document.

The government has set up an online platform to receive and process applications. This is the site of l’Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS), under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior.

How is the car registration document delivered?
To receive your registration certificate, you’ll first need to create a personal account on the ANTS website or log in with a France Connect password. You will then have to prepare all the documents required for your file and then follow the instructions that will be given to you to apply for your car registration certificate online, whether it’s for a new registration, a duplicate, a change of owner or a change of address.

As soon as your application has been paid for and validated, you will instantly receive a provisional registration certificate (CPI) by e-mail, which will allow you to drive legally for one month until you have your definitive title.

However, even if the deadline for obtaining the definitive registration certificate had been set at 3 days on average, this is not always the case in practice. Indeed, due to high traffic on the ANTS portal, the latter is experiencing some computer bugs that can put car registration application files on hold for as much as several weeks, thus preventing users from receiving their title within the legal deadlines.

How can you receive your car registration card more quickly?
As mentioned above, the ANTS site is the only portal of the French State that receives and processes all registration applications. However, given its malfunctions, you can use another means to receive your vehicle registration document more quickly. In fact, since 2009, you can take the registration procedures online, on specialised sites of private service providers approved by the Ministry of the Interior.

These service providers are authorized to check the documents that make up your car registration application file, whether for a new registration, a change of owner or address, or a request for a duplicate vehicle registration document.