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Customs and Import Duties

France - Customs and Import Duties

When moving to France there are several pieces of documentation needed to show customs upon entering the country. Some of these are standard and expected by most travellers such as a passport and a visa, if one is required. The passport has to be valid and there must be a separate one for each member of the party if more than one person is traveling in the group for example a family travelling together. Depending on your nationality, you may need to show your visa to enter the country plus your residence and work permit. Those travelling into France who are citizens of other countries within the European Union will not need this additional paperwork.

If you are looking to ship property over to France to use in your new home there are also guidelines that must be followed to satisfy customs otherwise delays could be expected. You must have a complete inventory of all items being imported in the France. Electrical goods such as hairdryers, toasters, computers and MP3 players must all be listed separately. You must have purchase receipts for all electrical items that clearly show the brand and serial number. Each box, package and carton needs to be inventoried separately so that customs can easily see what is supposed to be in each box.

Obtaining a Certificate of Change of Residence from the French Consulate is also necessary. This certificate will need to have your signature on and it will show the dates that you have lived abroad. This will prove that you have lived abroad from France for the last 12 months prior to your relocation to France. This means that you should be able to import your goods without having to pay duty on them. However, this only applies to the first shipment. If your first shipment is more than one container worth of property you must inform customs that a second (or more) shipments are due to arrive. If you initially ship one container and then a while later ship a second container then the second container and any future goods being imported will be subject to both VAT and duty.

The VAT free and duty free importing is only relevant on goods that are to furnish homes that will be main residences. If the home you are furnishing is to be a secondary home, such a just for holidays then the goods will be subject to VAT and duty charges. The VAT stands at 19.6% of the declared value of the goods and the duty will be charged at an extra 10%.You can apply to the tax collector who covers the area where your residence is located for duty free entry of goods.

If you are shipping items that were not purchased by yourself there for having no purchase receipt, such as wedding gifts or inherited items then you must provide further documentation to support this. If the items are from an inheritance you need to provide paperwork from a notary stating the date of death, an inventory of the goods, relationship to the deceased and French residence address. The goods should be shipped within one year from the date of death. If the items being shipped are from wedding gifts then you must provide a copy of your marriage certificate and your French residence permit. Items should be shipped within one month of the wedding.

If you want to take your motor vehicle with you when you move to France this is also possible. You are allowed to import one which will be duty free. Any additional vehicles will be charged at standard VAT and duty rates. The car must be correctly registered and been owned for at least 6 months prior to entry into France. The owner also has to have lived abroad in the 12 months prior to moving to France. This can be proved when producing the Certificate of Change of Residence. You will not be allowed to sell the vehicle on within the first 2 years of living in France. Your vehicle will need to pass a complete inspection prior to being accepted as road worthy and to ensure it meets the standard required in France. Also, you must ensure that the vehicle is included in your inventory, with detailed information such as registration number, chassis number and horse power along with the make and model of the car. Documentation for the car must be shown, including ownership documents, purchasing invoice and the registration card, all of which must be the original documents. You will need plate numbers and the insurance certificate from your French insurer proving the car is legally ready to be driven in France.

You can take your pets with you when you move to France. If you are from the UK or other nation that is a part of the ‘pet passport scheme’ then you need to comply with all the rules laid down as part of this programme and have full documentation supporting the fact you pet is fully vaccinated, free of disease and ready to move to a new country. If your country does not take part in the pet passport scheme, it may still possible to arrange the passport for the pet; otherwise the animal will be subject to a quarantine period. Your pet must be at least 3 months old at the time of the move. Certain animals are prohibited from entering France.

Items prohibited from entering France include but are not limited to, paints and solvents, drugs, explosive materials, live plants and animal skins as well as ivory. Some firearms are strictly prohibited, but others, (as long as they are documented correctly) can be brought in if the regulations are adhered to. Firearms cannot be shipped , and France has strict rules on the importing of firearms), and are not shipped with the household items can be imported.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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