Country Guide: France

Print Friendly and PDF
Updated: August 25, 2016

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required 

  • Copy of passport
  • Visa, if applicable 
  • Packing List  
  • Detailed Inventory valued in Euro and signed by the owner of the goods
  • Certificate of change of residence by the French Consulate
  • Certificate of Transfer
  • Non-resale attestation
  • Proof of residence in France
  • Bill of lading (express release) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Sales invoices for items purchased within 6 months prior to import

 

Specific Information

  • Owner of the goods’ presence for Customs clearance is not required.
  • A visa is only necessary if other documentation cannot be provided.
  • Packing list is not required for Customs clearance, but is required at time of delivery.
  • Certificate of change of residence by the French Consulate must show that the owner of the goods has established primary residence in origin country for at least 12 months.
    • If less than 12 months abroad, the shipment is subject to more duties and taxes.
  • Certificate of transfer must be on employer letterhead with date of employment in the origin country and date of transfer.
    • Certificate of transfer must also show proof of at least 12 months abroad and primary residence in origin country.
    • This document may not be accepted by all Customs office for free entry.
  • Non-resale attestation must be completed, dated, and signed by the owner of the goods and must mention a vehicle when applicable.
  • Proof of residence in France, such as last phone or electricity bill, rental contract (less than 3 months old).
  • Sales invoices must clearly identify items, date, year and place of purchase.
  • Used household goods in the owner of the goods’ possession or use for at least 6 months are duty free if the owner of the goods’ primary residence will be in France.
  • If the payment of duties is required, authorization must be obtained from French Customs prior to arrival.
  • For countries outside Europe items are subject to VAT of 20% plus duties (about 10%).
  • Customs clearance takes approximately 3 to 4 days to clear the effects.
  • For free entry, transfer of primary residence and the owner of the goods must have spent at least 12 months abroad.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required 

  • Original certificate of title
  • Current vehicle registration
  • Import declaration
  • Copy of vehicle purchase invoice showing taxes paid 

 

Specific Information

  • Customs duties are dependent on the vehicle’s country of origin; however, all imported vehicles are subject to value added tax (VAT).
  • Duties and taxes are paid when the vehicle is cleared through Customs.
  • The owner of the goods qualifies for duty and tax free entry if the following conditions are met:
    • They have spent more than 12 months abroad
    • They are transferring primary residence to France
    • They have owned / used the car for at least 6 months prior to shipment 

Pets

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate
  •  

Specific Information 

  • Pets must be identifiable through tattoo or electronic identification, such as microchip.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Alcoholic beverages must be registered and are permitted within the limits indicated by persons 17 years and older as accompanied baggage (include a separate and detailed inventory of each item and an import license / state liquor license may be required):
    • Wine (4 L)
    • Beer (16 L)
    • Alcohol not exceeding 22% alcohol by volume (2 L)
    • Alcohol exceeding 22% alcohol by volume (1 L)
  • Only "Fond de Cave" (15 bottles)
  • Tobacco products are subject to duty or tax payments and can be imported by persons 17 years and older as accompanied baggage.
  • Firearms and weapons (proof of ownership, registration / certificates / licenses are required and must be obtained prior to import); contact agent for specific information as some weapons are prohibited.
  • Medications for personal use only are permitted.
  • Customs clearance takes approximately 3 to 4 days once required documentation is obtained.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons, ammunitions and explosives
  • Products made from animals (ivory, turtle shell, etc.)
  • Endangered flora and fauna species and products made from them
  • Items protected by the 1973 Washington Convention  (CITES)
  • Narcotics and drugs

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

 

Helpful Website(s):

http://www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/fr

http://www.ambafrance-us.org

 

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.