If you come from a country in the European Union
When you move to France from another EU country, there are no particular customs procedures that need to be observed.
If you come from a country that is not a member of the European Union
You may be exempt from paying duties and taxes when you import your personal belongings if you stayed in a non-EU country for at least one year and you wish to transfer your primary residence to France.
Your personal belongings are exempt if you have used them privately for at least six months prior to the transfer of residence, regardless of how you acquired them: inclusive of tax or tax-free.
Please note: to qualify for exemption, any customs duties and/or taxes on saddle animals (horses, donkeys, ponies, etc.), bicycles and motorbikes, private motor vehicles and their trailers, camping caravans, pleasure craft and private aeroplanes must already have been paid in the country of origin.
The exemption does not apply to alcoholic products, tobacco and tobacco products, commercial means of transport, vehicles intended for mixed use, mobile homes, articles for use in the exercise of a trade or profession other than portable instruments of the applied or liberal arts, stocks of raw materials and finished or semi-finished products.
Please note: employees of embassies and international organisations may be subject to different regimes and should contact the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
The specific cases of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy
Saint Martin is part of the customs territory of the European Union, but remains excluded from the tax territory of the EU.
Since 1 January 2012, Saint Barthélemy has no longer been part of the EU customs territory.
Inasmuch as neither customs duties, VAT nor dock dues are payable within these islands or on items imported there, goods sent from these islands to another part of the EU customs territory are subject to all duties and taxes due.
Therefore, if you previously resided in Saint Martin or Saint Barthélemy and you transfer your principal residence to mainland France, any means of transport acquired on or imported into either of these two islands will be subject to effective duties and taxes (based on their origin) when they are imported into mainland France.
- You must transfer your property to France within 12 months from the date of transfer of your residence.
- You may import your property all at once or in several stages. In the latter case, the inventory provided to French Customs for the first import must include all belongings for which an exemption is being requested.
- You may not divest yourself (sale or rental, loan, pledge, etc.) of any exempt belongings within 12 months of the date of their entry into France.
Documents to provide to French Customs
- A detailed, estimated inventory (dated, signed and in two copies) of the belongings and household items you wish to import.
- Cerfa form no. 10070 [www.formulaires.modernisation.gouv.fr] for declaration of duty-free entry into France of personal property from non-EU countries, if you import goods constituting means of transport and/or valuable belongings and household items.
- Any documentation proving that:
- You primary residence was in a non-EU country.
- You are moving to France (change of residence certificate, transfer order for French civil servants and members of the military, residency card, immigration card, etc.).
In exchange French Customs will give you:
- A stamped copy of the inventory.
- A copy of Certificate 846A, so that you can register your vehicle with a standard registration number.
- A free circulation card, which can be drawn up at your request.