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Brexit: frequently asked questions

Mise à jour le 21/01/2021

Answers to all your questions about Brexit.

Yes

it is actually the very meaning of Brexit, which implies the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), the European Single Market and the Customs Union. From 1st January 2021, the United Kingdom will again become a third country.

The rules applicable to other third countries with which the EU has a commercial relationship will apply to the United Kingdom from 1st january 2021. These rules will essentially translate into:

  • The restoration of customs formalities with the United Kingdom: It will therefore be necessary to lodge a declaration for the import and export of goods with the United Kingdom, formalities that can be carried out outside the border with existing procedures. Do not hesitate to contact your nearest Business Consulting Unit to find out which procedure is best for your business.
  • Restoration of transit formalities for goods. The UK has expressed its intention to join the Common Transit Convention, once it has withdrawn from the European Union. This Convention is the legal basis of the transit regime for both the European Union and some of its neighbours such as Switzerland. The date of entry into force of the provisions of this Convention with the United Kingdom is not known at this stage, but the Commission is working with the States Parties to the Convention to obtain their agreement as soon as possible. The reinstatement of security/safety formalities (ECS/ICS) when exiting or entering the territory.

The first step is to contact your nearest Business Consulting Unit, in order to carry out a customs diagnosis of your company with regard to Brexit and to discuss with it the best customs organisation possible.

Beyond the customs duties that might apply - and of which nothing is known precisely at this stage, since this is intended to be dealt within the framework of the future free trade agreement - you must at least carry out an import declaration once veterinary checks are conducted by the veterinary services of the Ministry of Agriculture.

You will need to make sure to import your goods from a border point with a veterinary border inspection post.

You have to submit export declarations for your goods, along with an Electronic Administrative Document (EAD).

In addition to the French Customs website, which contains all the information on customs clearance, transit and checks with third countries, as well as simplification procedures and customs procedures, you can:

  • obtain general information from Infos Douane Service (0 811 20 44 44, premium rate number from France or +33 1 72 40 78 50 from abroad);
  • obtain general information or identify your customs contact in your area, by writing to brexit@douane.finances.gouv.fr;
  • obtain detailed information on procedures and formalities, by contacting the Business Consulting Unit closest to your location. It is specially designed to provide you with all the support you need so that your company is best prepared to face Brexit with the greatest efficiency. Individually tailored advice and awareness raising on customs clearance will be offered to economic operators with no experience in customs clearance.

For any questions related to sanitary & phytosanitary controls, you may wish to contact the Ministry of Agriculture/SIVEP.
For any questions regarding immigration controls, please contact the French Ministry of the Interior.
You can also check the notices published online by the European Commission to inform you, your companies, and help you to "prepare for the worst, hoping for the best".

For travellers

From the 1st January 2021, you will be able to reclaim VAT on goods purchased in France.

Check the conditions of eligibility.

At the border, you will find PABLO terminals allowing you to scan your tax refund forms yourself and receive your refund directly in your bank account. You can also go to the nearest tax-operator.

Customs services will be present to help you with your formalities and make sure that you are in possession of the goods for which a tax refund is requested.

Customs officers do not have the capability of giving you back the VAT amount you paid, they can only certify the slip.

When arriving in France from the United Kingdom, you can carry goods purchased or offered to you in your personal baggage, without having to make a declaration or pay duties and taxes. The value of these goods must not exceed the following thresholds.

Maximum values allowed :

  • by ship and by plane : 430 €
  • by car and by train : 300 €
  • children under the age of 15 :150 €

Maximum quantities allowed 

Travelers under the age of 17 are excluded from these allowances

  • Tabacco : 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 250 g smokig or 50 cigars tobacco
  • Alcoholic beverages : 1l if +22° ABV or 2l if -22°, 4l of wine, 16 l of beer
  • Brochure-voyageurs-Brexit [PDF]

Are you travelling with 10 000 euros or more (cash, securities or valuables regardless of the currency)? Before crossing the border, whether you are entering or leaving the EU you have to declare your cash online using DALIA.

How does DALIA work ?

Go to : https://douane.gouv.fr/dalia

1. Log on to DALIA and click on "Déposer une nouvelle déclaration".

2. Create a Dalia account or connect via FranceConnect, Google or Facebook. This way, you will able to:

  • consult your previous declarations
  • amend or cancel your declarations before crossing the border
  • declare online more rapidly for your next trips

3. Otherwise, you can declare without creating a DALIA account.

4. Fill in and validate your declaration of cash and cash equivalents online before crossing the border.

5. Print or download your declaration of cash and cash equivalents : if you are controlled by customs, you must present this declaration, either in printed form or on a screen (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.).

Save time! Plan ahead! You can declare up to 30 days before your departure.

Your pet is a domestic carnivore (dog, cat, ferret)

You must declare it when booking your train or ferry ticket, stating:

  • the type of pet: dog, cat or ferret
  • the number of animals (maximum 5 per person, except proof of registration for a sporting or cultural event)
  • the microchip number
  • the date of rabies vaccination

When boarding, you must show your dog, cat or ferret to ferry company or Eurotunnel officials for:

  • scan the microchip
  • verify the passport of the sanitarian certificate issued by the British
  • identify your vehicule by a marking (sticker or hanger...).

When you arrive in France, go to Customs for a check.

For all other domestic animals (birds, rabbits, etc.) up to five per person

You must show Customs the necessary health certificates.

Products of animal or vegetable origins are controlled at the entry of the EU in order to protect human beings, plants and animals from several diseases and parasites.

You can bring certain products of animal origins in your luggage if they are intended for your personal consumption and if they are not superior to the threshold levels.

The importation of meat, products based on meat, milk and products based on milk, is forbidden.

Vegetable products, because of the dangers they represent for biodiversity, are subject to a mandatory control when you arrive in France.

You must present a Health (phytosanitary) certificate delivered by the UK authorities to the French customs, regardless of the quantity you have in your luggage. The importation of bananas, durians, coconuts, pineapples and dates is allowed without sanitary certificate.

The importation of some vegetables is totally forbidden. You must declare these goods and present them to customs. In case of offense, they will be seized and destroyed.

Do you live outside the European Union? Are you over 16 and are passing through France for less than 6 months? You can obtain a refund of VAT on goods purchased during your stay in France.

Northern Ireland remains subject to Community VAT regulations, so travelers residing there cannot claim tax refund.

Counterfeits are forbidden in France. To avoid any difficulties :

  • Go to official retailers
  • Pay attention to the quality of the product
  • Beware of low prices
  • Look at the label and the logo
  • Check the quality of the packaging

Medicines are allowed in personal baggage, without a prescription for personal use corresponding to 3 months of treatment, and with a prescription for larger quantities.

Free movement card

Ask for a Free movement card (which is a kind of passport for your personnal objects) at the nearest customs office.

Entry/residence

For any questions related to:

  • Visa and identity documents (ID, passport)
  • Exit permit for a minor child living in France and travelling abroad, alone or without one of his parents

Consult the website https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/venir-en-france/ to know the rules applying to travellers from France.