Step by step guide to buying a motorhome in France

Step-by-step guide to buying a motorhome in France as a non-resident

Buying a motorhome in France as a non-resident

Here is our step-by-step guide to buying a motorhome or campervan in France as a non-resident.

Step 1 – Document checklist

To navigate the whole process of buying and registering a motorhome in France you will need to provide the following documents at various stages.

For the société civile:

– Valid passport.
– Proof of current address from your country of residence (mobile phone contract or utility bill or property rates only).
– Birth certificate (unless city of birth is stated on your passport).
– Marriage certificate (if applicable).

For an insurance quote:

– Valid driving licence.
– If non-EU, an International driving permit provided by your country of residence (category B stamp for 3500kg motorhomes, category C stamp for above).
– Proof of no claims discount provided by your country of residence (standard vehicle policies are accepted).
– If possible, to maximise your premium discount, a statement from your insurer detailing your full history of claims / absence of claims.

Before committing to a vehicle purchase, be sure you have:

– Your société civile KBIS document from the completed registration process.
– Insurance quote which we arrange for you.

Step 2 – Domicile Address

When purchasing a motorhome in France you will need to produce proof of an address here, often the problem for non-residents.

This is where our motorhome registration method comes in.

Although non-residents cannot purchase a motorhome directly, they are permitted to set up a legal structure called a société civile. This legal entity has a specific, non-commercial activity attached to it, in this case owning and driving a motorhome.

In partnership with our accountant, this société civile is created in your name with a domicile address they provide and manage here in France. At the completion, you are provided with documentation (KBIS) that you can use to complete the carte grise registration and take full ownership of your preferred motorhome.

This process is currently taking between 8-12 weeks, we recommend starting the application as early in the trip planning as possible to avoid timing issues.

Step 3 – Finding your vehicle

Used motorhomes

1) Visit our used motorhomes currently for sale.

2) Use our motorhome source and support service to assist you in purchasing through another dealer.

3) Conduct the purchase yourself. The registration method is completely separate and allows you to purchase any motorhome with no further input or commitment from France Motorhome Sales required.

New Motorhomes

If you have a new vehicle in mind you would like to order then you can use our motorhome sourcing and support service. We arrange the purchase using our network of dealers who can place the order or reserve one of their existing orders.

Currently wait times are a minimum of 12 months and manufacturers are not able to guarantee a fixed delivery date due to the recent disruptions.

Step 4 – Insurance

When you have identified the vehicle you want and before agreeing on the purchase, you’ll need to obtain an insurance quote in the name of the société civile ahead of time to ensure you qualify for coverage.

As part of our sourcing and support service we will instruct our English speaking AXA or Allianz agency to draft a quote for you. You can activate insurance over the phone to enable you to drive away your vehicle once you decided to buy.

If you don’t intend to travel far, you can reduce your premium with a 7000km or 9000km yearly limit.

Step 5 – Carte grise

Once a vehicle is paid for in full, it is necessary to complete the carte grise registration change documents. If the vehicle is new, a temporary certificate will be issued to allow for insurance followed by the full version a few weeks later. If used, the old carte grise will be crossed out and application forms for a new one prepared.

It is important to check at each stage that any drafted paperwork is in the name of the societe civile and its correspondence address, not any personal names.

We recommend buying from dealers wherever possible and they will handle this process for you. If buying privately it is the responsibility of the buyer and the seller to both sign and submit their relevant documents.

On rare occasion you may be required to provide an official document stamp like this example so it is a good idea to have one made in your home country before arriving in France. You simply include your societe civile name, SIRET number and address once complete.

Step 6 – Receipt of documentation

Both the carte grise and insurance certificate will be posted to your societe civile’s registered address then redirected address to any address in France.

A very convenient option is to use La Poste and have it sent to a post office in the area you plan to be staying. You simply take your ID and collect it within 15 days.

Step 7 – Driving in France

After all the hard work, you are now fully registered, insured and the proud owner of your motorhome. The road awaits but before you depart read through our driving a motorhome in France section covering the basic mandatory insurance and road rules.

Total costs involved

To get a complete idea of all the major costs involved, visit our dedicated page.


Our frequently asked questions page goes into greater detail for the particularly thorough and curious folks out here.