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Moving to France


Capital: Paris
Population: 65.7 million (2012)
Area: 211,209 sq miles
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Paris 2. Marseille 3. Lyon 4. Toulouse 5. Nice
Lanuage: French
Climate: Oceanic, Mediterranean and continental.
Motto: “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” / “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”

Moving your household goods to another country can be made easy with Nationwide Van Lines. Our goal is to Guarantee your price, remain above par with our immaculate services and to keep you smiling through your entire venture. Our Certified Packers & Loaders have s professional ethic and training to make your furniture move successful and very memorable. Allow us to express our passion through making your move a success.

Import Requirements and Documentation

As an EU, passing through Customs is extremely easy. Your HHGS duty and taxes are free if those whom are moving permanently to France have resided in another country for over 12 months, owned your household goods (HHGS) for six months or more and you arriving in France within a year of filing your Change of Residence. You do not need to appear at Customs for Customs clearance.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Customs Value Declaration – A document used to calculate duties and taxes that states the value of the entire household shipment.

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) – The EU importers declaration on household goods.

Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles – Since France will allow you not to be present during the Customs clearance, a Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles will be needed if you are not physically at Customs. You can find this document at (

A Change of Residence – You can retrieve a Change of Residence Certification at the French Embassy or your nearest consulate. Some of the documents above will be required to fulfill a Change of Residence document. You will receive a stamp by the French consular and will have up to one year to reside in France.

The following personal documents are required by Customs

  • A copy of your Passport
  • Your Visa
  • Proof of your residency in France
  • A Delivery Address
  • Your sales invoices of any items you’ve purchased within the last 6 months before importing
  • Attestation of non-resale
  • Packing List in English or French
  • Your Original Bill Lading
  • Your Inventory in French and in Euro currency
  • A Certificate of Change showing the French Consulate that you have been living abroad in the origin country for no less than 12 months and is in the motion of permanently residing in France
  • A Certificate of Transfer from your employer showing you’ve been employed for over 12 months with a transfer to France

Additional detailed document requirements

  • Allow yourself 3 to 4 days for Customs clearance of your HHGS
  • HHGS will be charged a Value Added Tax (VAT) at 19.6% if exported from a European Community.
  • If your HHGS are exported from a non-European country, VAT will be 19.6% in addition to duties of about 10%.
  • If you will be primarily residing in France and have used HHGS in your possession or at use for at least 6 months, your HHGS will be duty-free.
  • You do not have to be present for Custom clearance
  • If you are required to pay any duties, you must have authorization from the French Customs before you arrive in France.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in France along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

You will be responsible to pay Duty Tax and Value-Added Tax (VAT) for clearance through Customs. The Duties in France can run from 5 to 17% and the VAT ranges from 5.5 to 19.6%. The VAT is charged the same rate as the sale of the same item within the state of a good that’s similar. Value-Added Tax will be 19.6%.

Duty-free Items

As part of the European Union, there are duty-free opportunities with restrictions. Below you will find the duty-free scenarios: If moving from the United Kingdom, these items will be duty-free:

  • Skincare products
  • Fragrances
  • Champagne
  • Fashion accessories
  • Souvenirs
  • Gifts
  • Cosmetics
  • Selected spirits
  • 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos or 1 kilograms of tobacco
  • 90 liters of wine (if sparkling wine), no more than 60 liters)
  • 10 liters of spirits (over 22%)
  • 20 liters of alcoholic beverages (no more than 22%)
  • 110 liters of beer

If moving from a European Union country, all HHGS will be duty-free with the restrictions below to deem as personal use, not for commercial use or sale:

  • 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos or 1 kilograms of tobacco
  • 90 liters of wine (if sparkling wine), no more than 60 liters)
  • 10 liters of spirits (over 22%)
  • 20 liters of alcoholic beverages (no more than 22%)
  • 110 liters of beer

If moving from a non-European Union country, the following HHGS can be imported by persons 17 years or older duty-free.

  • 16 liters of beer
  • 1 liter of spirits (over 22%)
  • 2 liters of alcohol (less than 22%)
  • 4 liters of wine
  • 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos or 250 grams of tobacco
  • Other HHGS up to $546.47 USD in worth for air and sea travelers, $381.26 USD in worth for other travelers and $190.63 USD in worth for children who are 15 years or younger

Labeling Requirements

All labeling must be done in the English or French Language.

Required information:

  • The Name and Address of the importer
  • The Country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The Quantity

Prohibited Items

Please be aware that not every item is accepted by Customs in France. To avoid any delays and extra charges, please refer to the list of restricted items below.

  • Explosives
  • Matches
  • Live Plants
  • Products made ivory, turtle shells, etc.
  • Gambling machines
  • Obscene articles, publications, videos and/or software’s
  • Controlled drugs and narcotics
  • Any item protected by the 1973 Washington Convention (CITES
  • Counterfeit items
  • Melatonin
  • Ivory
  • Weapons
  • Ammunition
  • Animal Skin
  • Paint
  • Cleaning Solvents
  • Polishes
  • Products of Iran

Restricted Items

Some items are permitted, but still requires either special authorization and/or duties to be paid. Here is a list below of Restricted Items.

  • Items less than 6 months old
  • You have to be 17 years or older to purchase and import alcohol and tobacco
  • Alcohol (must have the quantity and size of the bottles, the brand name and type of alcohol. An Import License / State Liquor License may be needed)
  • You can buy up to 15 bottles duty-free as long as it’s classified as “Fond de Cave”
  • Only 4 liters of still wine and 16 liters of beer are allowed to be imported
  • Alcohol of 2 liters cannot have no more than 22% volume of alcohol
  • Alcohol of 1 liter can exceed 22% volume of alcohol
  • Guns (must include the make, serial number, caliber and reasoning of the arm)
  • Tobacco can be charged duty or taxes
  • Work of Art (must have the Certificate of Authenticity)
  • Prescription Drugs (must have proof of prescription)
  • New Items (items less than six months old)
  • Jewelry of precious metals and/or gems incur extra fees for inspection
  • Video tapes, telex machines, books and fax machines
  • Meat
  • Dairy Products
  • Furs, leather shoes and coats made of any protected animal
  • Allow yourself 3 to 4 days for Customs clearance after documents have been received

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information regarding moving to France, please visit:

Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects
Bureau de l'information et de la communication
11, rue des deux Communes 93558 
93558 Montreuil cedex, France
Phone: +33 1 57 53 49 91 
Fax: + 33 1 57 53 49 37

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.