How do I get Single Vehicle Approval
for my car in France?
Great! My vehicle is finally back in France! Only registering the car remains to be done.
Hmm… this might be a little bit more complicated than I’d expected.
In fact, many of us get stuck in this stage because in order to obtain a certificate of conformity for a vehicle either older than 30 years, bought outside of the EU or never imported directly into its configuration by the manufacturer in Europe, it is necessary to go through what is called a Single Vehicle Approval procedure: the famous “RTI” (or réception à titre isolé).
Single or individual vehicle approval represents an essential prerequisite for obtaining a registration certificate from ANTS (the National Agency for Secure Documents, or Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés) and is done at the DREAL – Regional Directorate for Environment, Development and Housing (former “les Mines”), in the department of the section for transport of the particular region.
- Only the original purchaser of the vehicle is eligible to make a request for a Single Vehicle Approval as all vehicle documents, because the proof of purchase and taxes are in the name of the original purchaser.
- “Offering a car for sale or selling it […] without being subject to the Single Vehicle Approval shall be punishable by a fine for fifth class offences, without prejudice to administrative measures that could be undertaken by the Minister of Transport“ Article 321-4 of the Highway Code and Article 132-11 of the Penal Code.
- Single Vehicle Approval procedure applies to one specific vehicle only. Even if you see a vehicle identical to yours and which has been well registered in France, there is no guarantee the same will apply to your vehicle as there is no jurisprudence covering this area. This is mainly due to the acceptance or non-acceptance of an exemption based on technical criteria, where permitted by law.
How do I request for a Single Vehicle Approval for my imported car at the DREAL in my region?
Firstly, you must have the vehicle registration certificate from the country of origin or the document certifying the withdrawal thereof issued by the country of origin or a valid international automobile certificate issued by the authorities of the country of origin.
Secondly, you need to contact the manufacturer or its official representative in France in order to get a certificate of non-conformity which may be partial or complete. The certificate of non-conformity generally sets out the main problematic points not compliant with French regulations and is very useful for filling out the Single Vehicle Approval form.
- Step 1: Download and fill out the RTI01.2 form for imported vehicles not compliant with French regulations.
- Step 2: The complete file is to be sent to the DREAL departmental office in my region. In case of an admissible file, an appointment at a DREAL local office will be set up.
- Step 3: You will receive an appointment date for a technical inspection of my vehicle.
The vehicle must be in perfect technical condition, well-cleaned and compliant with the French regulations.
Before the inspection, I need to identify and clean the following:
- The homologation label
- The serial number located on the body or chassis of the vehicle
- Vehicle identification plate or engine number.
Useful tip: In case of problems with locating these elements, ask your car mechanic for help.
Important: The vehicle must meet the essential safety regulations listed in Annex IV of Directive 2007/46/EC and in the texts adopted for its application, applicable at the time of its first entry into service for the purpose of obtaining the Single Vehicle Approval.
During the technical inspection, all points required by the regulations will be checked in terms of its compliance or non-compliance, including the possibility to request one or more exemptions.
Compliance of certain items identified by tests conducted by a recognised testing centre may be allowed an exemption of the French Highway Code rules provided required control by a DREAL agent.
The UTAC CERAM (private road vehicle testing company) performs, at the request of the DREAL, DRIEE and DEAL, the Single Vehicle Approval tests of imported vehicles which don’t comply partially or entirely with a vehicle type approved in accordance with the manufacturer’s certificate of non-conformity in France.
The most common tests include a brake test, driver’s visibility to the rear and indirect vision devices, sound emissions test, emissions and electromagnetic compatibility test (noise elimination). Permissible towable mass test or a xenon headlight levelling system test may also be required. For example, the price of 5 standard tests (one attempt per test) is about € 2000.
Remark: if you have an imported vehicle not conforming to a European type but it has a registration certificate from an EU country, DREAL can request the country in which the vehicle has been registered, to provide them with the reports on the examinations and tests performed on the vehicle pursuant to the Decision of 19 July 1954 on the type-approval of motor vehicles (please see the Article 14 bis. of the consolidated version of 16 March 2019.
- Step 4: Follow the progress of your request.Having gone through the technical inspection, you can check the progress of your request:
- By logging in to OCTAVE (explanatory brochure)
- In order for the request to be forwarded to the departmental unit, it is necessary to contact the DREAL departmental unit of your place of residence and indicate the vehicle identification number, which generally comprises 17 characters usually indicated on the foreign registration certificate, or the file reference number composed of the RTI or RI prefix, followed by 11 digits.
- Step 5: You will obtain a report on the Single Vehicle Approval.
Single Vehicle Approval – how much does it cost?
The price for a single or individual vehicle approval is set by the Decision of 10 March, 1994.
The minimum fee is set to € 86.90 (the minimum fee is set to € 173.79 for a complete approval procedure). The fee is to be paid to a DREAL agent upon the beginning of the Single Vehicle Approval process at the latest.
The copy of the report on the Single Vehicle Approval indicating the fee is the only receipt provided by the DREAL.
Single Vehicle Approval – how long does it take?
Decision n°2014-1273 of 30 October 2014 regarding the exceptions to the “silence is deemed to signal acceptance” principle sets the 4-month deadline within which the silence of the administrative authorities is considered rejection of the Single Vehicle Approval and exemptions.
Remark: DREAL’s goal is to handle and complete 80% of all files within 30 days.
In conclusion, if you feel that you don’t have the tenacity to go through Single Vehicle Approval on your own, you can still contact a specialized service provider.
If you would like to add some information, share your experience or get additional information, do not hesitate to leave a comment.