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France - Customs Regulations

If you are coming from a EU country, you will need an inventory list  detailing all items you are bringing into France.

Beware that there are exceptions and you might not be allowed to import certain items like:

- medicine and medical products (unless for personal use, which has to be proven by a medical prescription)
- some sensitive computerware and technology
- firearms and ammunition (you will have to ask for a specific permit to import them)
- art and collectors' items
- wild animals and wild plants (houseplants should not be considered part of the restricted items and you should not have any problem importing them)
- animal products.
Check on the website below for a more comprehensive list and instructions.

If you are coming from a country outside the E.U., where you have lived for at least 12 months, and you wish to transfer your main residence to France, you can import your personal belongings free of sales taxes (this includes vehicles like cars, caravans, boats etc., but they must have been owned by you for at least six months prior you entering France, or if you can prove that the goods were purchased in the EU and sales tax has been paid.

For items that you owned less than six months and purchased outside of the EU, you will have to pay sales tax or VAT.

You must transfer your goods to France within the 12 month period which follows the date of transfer of your residence.
The importation of goods can take place in one or more than one stage; in the latter case, the inventory given to the customs at the time of the first importation must include the totality of the goods for which the exemption is required.
You cannot sell, hire, loan, pawn, etc.  goods benefitting from the exemption, before they have been in France a full 12 months. 

The list of documents required by French customs:

  1. two copies of a signed and dated inventory containing all the items to be imported, with descriptions (car make and model, year and ID number etc.) and estimate of value;
  2. the application form (Cerfa n° 10070*01) to import your household goods, which can be obtained at your local customs office or Direction Régionale des Douanes;
  3. any document proving that your last home was abroad and a document proving that you are coming to live in France (work contract for example)

Upon receipt of the above documentation, the French customs will give you back:
- a copy of the inventory - signed
- a certificate 846 A in order to immatriculate your vehicle, if there is one in the inventory.

The paperwork can be handled by a shipping company if you have given them the task to transport your goods.

Visitors (those staying only 90 days or less) may bring their belongings, including vehicles such as cars, campers, boats, caravans etc. but these cannot be sold or even given away. All imported items must be also exported before the expiration of the 90 day period.

For more information you can contact:
Tel: + 33 (0) 8 2530 8263 from a land line telehone
Tel: + 33 (0) 8 2536 8263 from a mobile
French customs website: 

Direction générale des douanes
Hôtel Cambacérès
2 rue de Montalembert 
Paris 07 SP 
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 4004 0404
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 5504 6557