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Volume- and value-based customs and tax allowances

Mise à jour le 20/11/2020

If you travel to France with goods you purchased abroad, there are volume- and value-based customs and tax allowances depending on the type of goods.

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There are different categories of allowances:

  • Purchases made outside the European Union (EU):
    • In a non-EU country
    • In a territory excluded from the EU customs territory, such as France’s overseas communities (French Polynesia, Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, Saint-Barthélémy and Saint-Martin) or the special case of New Caledonia
    • In a fiscally autonomous territory, such France’s overseas departements (French Guiana, Reunion, Mayotte, Guadeloupe and Martinique) or the Channel Islands and the Canary Islands
  • Purchases made in another EU country

You may be stopped for a customs inspection not only at the border, but also anywhere in France or the customs community. The primary purpose of these inspections is to protect your health and safety and the environment.

Customs will inform you of your rights and what you need to do to avoid inadvertently committing a customs violation.

Volume-based allowances

When you enter France, there are volume-based customs and tax allowances for certain types of goods.

These allowances, which apply to goods you’re carrying (purchases or gifts), mean that you don’t have to fill in a customs declaration or pay tax or duty.

If you’re transporting goods in quantities that exceed the limits detailed below, you’ll need to pay the applicable customs duty, value added tax (VAT) and excise duty. These taxes and duties will apply to the purchase price on the receipt.

What quantities can I bring back duty-free?
 

Arriving from a non-EU country

Allowable quantities of tobacco products purchased in a non-EU country
Product 1 Quantity
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes (1 carton)
Cigarillos 100 cigarillos
Cigars 50 cigars
Smoking tobacco 250 grams

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 17.

  • These allowances are set out in the 26 May 2020 circular on the tax treatment of manufactured tobacco products. They only apply to individuals who bring tobacco products into mainland France.
  • These allowances do not apply to tobacco products transported from Andorra. Special rules apply in that case [see Returning from Andorra (Vous revenez d'Andorre) (in French)].
  • These allowances are set out in the Order of 16 July 2009 establishing the conditions for implementing Regulation (EEC) No 918/83 of 28 March 1983 setting up a Community system of reliefs from customs duty, under which Member States may adopt special conditions and limitations for certain cases.

Allowable quantities of alcoholic beverages purchased in a non-EU country
Product Quantity
Still (non-sparkling) wine 4 litres
Beer 16 litres
Beverages with more than 22% ABV 1 litre
Beverages with up to 22% ABV 2 litres

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 17.

Quantities corresponding to the traveller's personal needs.

  • The quantity contained in the standard tank of the vehicle
  • + a spare fuel can with a capacity of no more than 10 litres.

 

Border residents, cross-border commuters and international transport workers

Allowable quantities of tobacco products
Product Quantity
Cigarettes 40 cigarettes
Cigarillos 20 cigarillos
Cigars 10 cigars
Smoking tobacco 50 grams

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 18.

Allowable quantities of alcoholic beverages
Product Quantity
Still (non-sparkling) wine 0.5 litre
Beer 4 litres
Beverages with more than 22% ABV 0.25 litre
Beverages with up to 22% ABV 0.5 litre

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 18.

Quantities corresponding to the traveller's personal needs.

  • The quantity contained in the standard tank of the vehicle
  • + a spare fuel can with a capacity of no more than 10 litres.

 

Arriving from an EU country

Goods transported by yourself for your personal consumption are subject to the following limits, per traveller:

Allowable quantities of tobacco products purchased in an EU country
Product 1 Quantity
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes (1 carton)
Cigarillos 100 cigarillos
Cigars 50 cigars
Smoking tobacco 250 grams

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 18.

Note: You can purchase manufactured tobacco products in one EU Member State and transport them to another, provided it is for your own personal use and you are transporting it yourself.

If you are stopped for an inspection, Customs will evaluate the “personal use” requirement based on factors such as the quantity of tobacco you are transporting.

Example: A single carton of cigarettes for one person is considered personal use, unless there is evidence to the contrary. However, two cartons of cigarettes for one person may be considered an indication of commercial intent.

Allowable quantities of alcoholic beverages purchased in an EU country
Product Quantity
Still (non-sparkling) wine 90 litres (of which no more 60 litres can be sparkling)
Beer 110 litres
Beverages with more than 22% ABV 10 litres
Beverages with up to 22% ABV 20 litres

These allowances do not apply to travellers under age 18.

Quantities corresponding to the traveller’s personal needs.

  • The quantity contained in the standard tank of the vehicle
  • + a spare fuel can with a capacity of no more than 10 litres.
The above quantity limits cannot be combined between multiple travellers for a single purchase.
Value limits cannot be combined for a single item.

Example: A group or family of four people cannot combine their individual allowances for an item valued at €1,720 (€430 per person). Any single item whose value exceeds the allowance limit must be declared, and VAT will be applicable on the full value (no reduction).

Goods that are subject to quantity limits do not count toward value-based allowances.

  • If you’re arriving from the Channel Islands, the Canary Islands or a French overseas departement (Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Mayotte) and you exceed the volume-based allowances, you will not owe any customs duty, but you will owe VAT and excise duty.
  • If you’re arriving from Andorra, special rules apply [see Returning from Andorra (Vous revenez d'Andorre) (in French)].
     

Note :
1
An assortment of different goods within the same category is allowed, so long as quantities remain within the limit on a proportional basis.
Example: If you purchase 100 cigarettes, you’re only using half the allowance for tobacco products. You can therefore use the remainder to purchase half the allowable amount of another tobacco product (50 cigarillos, 25 cigars or 125 grams of smoking tobacco).

Value-based allowances

In addition to volume-based allowances, there are value-based customs and tax allowances on what you can bring into mainland France.

Arriving from a non-EU country, a territory excluded from the EU customs territory or a fiscally autonomous territory

Value-based allowances, which apply to goods you’re carrying (purchases or gifts), mean that you don’t have to fill in a customs declaration or pay tax or duty. You don’t have to declare goods (including gifts) so long as their total value or their quantity doesn’t exceed the allowance limits.

The overall market value of goods cannot exceed the following amounts:

Overall market value limits by age and means of transportation
If you’re under 15 If you’re 15 or older
All means of transportation: €150
  • Arriving by plane or ferry: €430
  • Arriving by car, train or other means: €300

Any item whose value exceeds the limit must be declared and you will need to pay the amount of value added tax (VAT) and customs duties that would usually apply. These duties and taxes apply to the full purchase price on the receipt or an agreed-upon estimated value.

If you are bringing multiple items into the country, each item will count toward your overall limit; once you reach the limit, any surplus goods will be taxed.

Arriving from an overseas departement, the Channel Islands or the Canary Islands

You will not owe any customs duty.

However, value added tax (VAT) will apply on any goods whose value exceeds the following limits:

Overall market value limits by age and means of transportation
If you’re under 15 If you’re 15 or older
All means of transportation: €150
  • Arriving by plane or ferry: €430
  • Arriving by car, train or other means: €300

If you’re arriving from Andorra, special rules apply [see Returning from Andorra (Vous revenez d'Andorre) (in French)].

In addition to these value limits, certain products (alcoholic beverages, tobacco, etc.) are subject to volume-based allowances.

Border residents, cross-border commuters and international transport workers (value-based allowances)

If you are a border resident, a cross-border commuter or an international transport worker (working aboard a means of transportation travelling to France from another country), your personal allowances are lower.

Overall market value limits by age
If you’re under 15 If you’re 15 or older
€40 €75

Prohibited and restricted goods

Applicable regulations

  • Official Customs Bulletin (BOD) 5873 of 28 March 1994 – Text DA 94-05 (unavailable on this website).
  • Article 41 of Regulation (EC) No 1186/2009 and Article 1, item 10° of the Order of 18 June 2009, which refer to Directive 2007/74/EC.
  • Regulation (EC) No 274/2008 of 17 March 2008 amending Regulation (EEC) No 918/83.
  • Order of 18 June 2009 relating to the value added tax exemption regime for the final importation of certain goods (Official Journal of the French Republic of 24 June 2009).