Import Paperwork and Duties When Moving to Paris



Is an upcoming move to the City of Love approaching in your near future? If so, you undoubtedly have many questions about the logistics of it all, and what type of paperwork you’ll need to prepare. You’re also likely curious about the import duties and taxes that French customs imposes, and whether these will apply to your shipment. To help you understand just what relocating to Paris entails, a guest writer in the know has provided us with a quick overview of the process from start to finish. 

Importing Your Belongings



Customs usually refer to your belongings as household goods, and these are just the typical items that you have in your home. This encompasses items such as furniture, furnishings, decorations, clothing, kitchen utensils and small appliances, personal electronics, and so on. French customs allow you to bring these into the country without paying any import duty or tax – as long as you meet certain requirements. However, this exemption doesn’t extend to the value-added tax (VAT) which is usually added to the fees you’ll pay for the handling, moving and storage of your shipment while in port (1).


Requirements For Duty Exemption

In order to be eligible for import duty exemption, you’ll need to be relocating to France for longer than 12 months. You must also have owned your household goods for a minimum of six months prior to moving, and have maintained your permanent place of residence outside of the country for longer than a year. Finally, importation of your goods must be completed within 12 months after transferring residence into the country – though all the belongings you’re importing must be listed on the inventory included with your initial shipment (2).


Customs Paperwork



Mandatory Documentation

In order for your shipment to clear customs without paying duty, you’ll need to submit all the required paperwork. This includes a copy of your passport and visa (if needed). You’ll also need to provide a Certificate of Change of Residence (this can be obtained from the French embassy or consulate in your origin country). A non-resale attestation must also be shown, and this simply states that you won’t sell the goods you’ve imported duty-free for at least a full year after moving to France.

In order to receive the import duty exemption, a full packing list and either your Air Waybill or Original Bill of Lading are also mandatory documents (3). You must also submit proof that you’ve transferred your permanent residence to France. Acceptable paperwork for this purpose includes a copy of your housing lease or a utility bill within France in your name (4).


Purchase Invoices and Inventory List

If any goods in your shipment are ineligible for duty exemption (due to being purchased less than six months ago), then customs will need to see the invoices or receipts for these items. You’ll also need to have a separate signed inventory which includes monetary values (in Euros), and this should be carefully composed to cover all items in your shipment and provide detailed descriptions (5). This inventory should be submitted in triplicate, include your signature and the date and be written in French. It should also have a separate section just for your electronic items, and you must state the manufacturer’s name and serial number for each one.


Additional Forms

Other paperwork includes proof of employment, a Letter of Transfer (written on the company’s letterhead and stating the applicable dates), Work Permit, Residence Card, and delivery address where your shipment will be sent to within France. Finally, you’ll need to provide 2-3 copies of the Declaration of Duty Exemption Form (Cerfa N 10070*01) (6).


EORI Number

The EU enacted a change in importation regulations several years back, and you’re now required to apply for and obtain an Econonmic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Even if you’re only shipping your own personal goods, this document is mandatory and your belongings can’t clear customs without it.


Importing Your Vehicle



Value-Added Tax

Viewed as a separate category from your household belongings, your personal motor vehicle is subject to different regulations and paperwork requirements. Luckily, you can still import your vehicle without paying duty, as long as you meet the requirements.

One caveat is the value-added tax (VAT) – which according to one reputable source, all imported vehicles are subject to (7). Often times if you’ve already paid VAT in the country where you purchased the vehicle, documenting this fact is sufficient to exempt you from paying it again upon entering France. To learn whether VAT does indeed apply to your specific circumstances, contact French customs for the most up-to-date information.


Duty-Free Importation Guidelines

VAT aside, the typical importation duty for vehicles can be waived. Customs guidelines for duty-free vehicle importation include planning to live in France long-term for business reasons, and having resided outside of the country for more than the last 12 months. You must also have owned the car for a minimum of six months, and you’re required to register it as a commercial vehicle (even if it’s only for personal use). Furthermore, you cannot sell, give away, or get rid of your vehicle for a full two years after importing it. Lastly, the vehicle must meet all technical standards and be in acceptable physical condition (8).


Registration and Vehicle Modification

Upon proper authorization by customs to bring your vehicle into the country, you’ll be provided with a 846A document. This enables you to operate the vehicle for the following four months, though you still must have the proper insurance. The reason for this short time frame, is that this is the space needed to complete registration and be granted a French title for your vehicle. UTAC grants the paperwork required, and it is best to contact them directly to discover what documentation you’ll need.

You should expect to pay around 1600 Euros for the necessary technical inspection. In addition, if your vehicle isn’t already fitted with Xenon headlights, weight detection and automated cleaning – these systems must be installed as an after-market modification. The typical expense for these modifications usually runs about 3000 Euros – though modification is not possible with all makes and models (9).


Customs Paperwork For Your Vehicle



Duty-free importation is only possible, if you provide the necessary paperwork showing that you fulfil all the requirements. Customs will ask for your title (the original, sometimes called the certificate of title) and the vehicle registration from the origin country. An import declaration is also needed, along with the receipt or purchase invoice (this should include the taxes paid during the transaction) (10).


Your total shipment inventory must also have your vehicle included, and this should detail the make, model, engine size, year of manufacture, horse power and the registration numbers. Be aware that not all brands of cars are allowed to be imported – so it’s best to speak with French customs directly to verfy that your vehicle is permitted (11).




(1) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into France” pdf

(2) Ibid.


(4) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into France” pdf


(6) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into France” pdf


(8) Found on Moverscom “Customs Regulations – France” page

(9) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into France” pdf


(11) Found on Moverscom “Customs Regulations – France” page


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