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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 06:34 Thread Starter
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Buy a Camping car in Germany.

Hi all,

Currently we are planning our next tour of Europe by campervan, this isn't new to us as we have toured 4 times before and have absoultly loved it , each time we have travelled abroad we have bought a vehicle and registered the car in my cousins name, this time we intend to stay for 3-5yrs and would prefer to register the van in our name. We will be based in France for 6mths and then head to Spain Portugal for the next six mths then back to France and then Italy and beyond . We have found that in our travels Germany has been the cheapest to buy a used camper and most with low mileage and looked after interior.

Q, Can the van be bought in Germany and then reregister in France where we will have somewhat of a permanent address.
Q, Do we need permits to leave Germany to reregister the van in
And will it be helpful if my wife holds duel passports (UK, Aus )
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 08:45
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I'm no expert, but my understanding of this process is that you'd purchase the vehicle in Germany where you would have to register it as part of the vehicle registration document that the current owner (or dealer) will need to fill in when you take ownership.

Put your French address down on the German registration document.

When you get to France, if you will need to register the vehicle with them within (I think) 6 months. To do this the vehicle has to be tested as meeting French laws (which are pretty much the same as German so providing you purchase a regular, standard, manufactured motorhome you should have no problem). If the French test is ok you will be given a Grey Card (Cart Gris) which you can take to your local registration office (each province of France has it's own) and fill in all the forms.

After this your vehicle becomes French registered.

Note - when you register in France, you will need to be seen as resident. As I understand it. This means appearing on the council register, utility bills, etc. Also, the process is not quick - not many things (involving the authorities) are.

Might be better to purchase the M'H in France if this where you are going to be based. Although I guess you're looking at the cost prices/resale prices.

Again, I'm no expert and this is just a laymans overview of the process. Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 10:35
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ok, i've just successfully *YEAH* registered a 21 year old van here in France, was a struggle and I've got some words of wisdom to offer...

To register any vehicle in France you need an address, you need an edf (electricity) bill and it would no doubt be easier if you have a UK passport as your a member of the EU :O) and you need to provide that for identification.

Before buying a vehicle, make sure you can get a certificate of conformity for it (this may mean one from e.g fiat and another from e.g hymer) and the whole process will be alot easier. If it doesn't conform or you can't get hold of the COC the process becomes do-able but more time consuming... our van didn't have the COC from LMC(Hymer) and so we had to go down a completely different path which if you haven't ever registered any vehicles here can be difficult to understand....

It has to go to the Veritas to prove the gas/electric/window openings/ventilation conforms... German plug sockets need changing, gas pipes etc etc...

It has to have a MOT (Controle Technique) within the last 6 months to go to the prefecture,

tax office for a customs form and then off to the prefecture, if it's 10 years old the tax for registering the vehicle is halved, on a 10cv over 10 years old it was 171E

We worked out last night with the tax charge it's cost us 800E and we bought our van for 5500E in the UK, resale value now here in France is 10000E so a nice little profit should we want to sell....

If you want an easy life, check out and buy a van in France, then its just a case of going to the prefecture, sometimes you can get really good bargains and importing it's a good 2 months of work and can be more,

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 13:01
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I had never heard of the site meOwpOO above mentions, so had a quick look

Came across this:

Can you believe the price €8500 for a 2002 Rapido.....



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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 13:33
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That's a phantom, any of the unbelievable prices are phantom sellers, never have mobile numbers, rarely have names, always have just email us and often you'll see the van somewhere else on the site for 20,000E more...
but there are still good vans on there alot of the time
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 14:49
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Just a slight addition to what's already been said, the info so far is correct but dependant on age of vehicle, if the vehicle is newer than 2003 the maker of the conversion i.e. Pilote, Hymer or whoever (so long as they are not one of the UK based companies dragging their heels) will supply a single certificate of Conformity (at a price around €130) which will enable you trouble free and very quick registration to you with a French address, simply take the documents and money to the Prefecture and you will leave a short while later with the registration.
Reference the buying in Germany subject, if from a dealer then very easy as they will do the paperwork for you and you will get a temporary registration valid two weeks which will cover you with third party insurance and allow transit to another country for final registration; if buying privately a little more complicated because you'll need to do the paperwork yourself and will possibly take you a day or so to complete.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 15:38
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It still has to have a controle technique if over 4 years old and the quittance fiscale before you can get the registration at the prefecture
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 22:11
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Hi me0wp00, I totally agree, which is why I started by saying that "the info so far is correct", and then added my bit

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 22:17
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Sorry John,
The way I read your reply
"the info so far is correct but dependant on age of vehicle," it seemed it was just a case of the COC and off to the prefecture, if only things were that simple eh....
C'est la vie
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 20-03-2011, 22:33
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I suspect it would be easier to either:

Buy a LHD van in the UK
Buy a German van and import into the UK.

If your wife holds a UK passport do you also have relatives in the UK who could help you for a registered address?

I suspect the process of importing and registering in a country which you do not permanently reside would be difficult, this is doable in the UK and made easier that everything is in your native language.

If buying a van from Germany, check out - great german site for used motorhomes.
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