Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
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You must be able to prove your identity either by providing documents when asked or within 4 hours at a police station. Identity documents can be a passport, a photo driving licence or other documentation provided by a government body.
Concealing the face in public places in France is illegal. This includes balaclavas, full veils or any other garment or mask that is used to conceal the face. Failure to comply with the ban is punishable by a maximum fine of €150. Under this law, forcing someone to hide their face is also a crime and is punishable by a year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to €30,000. If the person forced to hide their face is a minor, the sentence is doubled. The law does not provide any exemption for tourists.
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons.
Free import to passengers arriving with goods purchased within the EU which are for personal use only (including the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Reunion):
a. tobacco products, for passengers aged 17 and over:
b. alcoholic beverages, for passengers aged 17 years and older:
Free import to passengers arriving from non-EU Member States (including Canary Islands, Channel Islands):
a. tobacco products, for passengers aged 17 years and over:
b. alcoholic beverages, for passengers aged 17 years and older:
c. medicines, sufficient for personal requirements;
d. other goods (for air travelers) up to a total value of EUR 430.- (per adult) or EUR 150.- (per passenger aged under 15 years). Such amounts cannot be cumulated by several people.
e. gold/jewellery: must be declared except personal jewellery not exceeding a total weight of 500 grams if it is in regular situation.
Products of animal origin, not originating from an EU Member State, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino or Switzerland, are not permitted to be imported into an EU Member State, with the exception of limited amounts from Andorra, Faroe Isl., Greenland, Iceland and small amounts of specific products from other countries.
Import regulations vary per category of firearms and per country of origin.
Crew members customs regulations:
Free import of the following:
a. 40 cigarettes, or 20 cigarillos, or 10 cigars, or 50 grams of tobacco;
b. alcoholic beverages (distilled or spirits):
c. 7,5 grams of perfume and 0,375 deciliter of eau de toilette;
d. 100 grams of coffee or 40 grams of coffee extracts or coffee essence and 20 grams of tea or 8 grams of tea extract or tea essence.
e. personal and non-commercial goods may not exceed a total value of EUR 45,73.
Warning: pets without the necessary certificates will be returned to place of origin or destroyed. The regulations below also apply to pets traveling between metropolitan France, French Overseas Departments and regions, French Overseas Collectivities and Territories or transiting if they leave the airport.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE ABOVE RESOLUTION:
a. Cats, dogs and ferrets from French Overseas Departments and Territories (except for French Guiana) must be at least 8 weeks old, and must have a microchip implant. No vaccinations are required.
b. cats and dogs from the United Kingdom do not need a rabies vaccination if holding:
c. pets from the following countries do not require the blood test neutralizing rabies virus: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Isl., Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Cayman Isl., Chile, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Curacao, Falkland Isl. (Malvinas), Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hong Kong (SAR China), Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Fed., San Marino, Singapore, St. Helena, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Pierre and Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City (Holy See), Virgin Isl. (British) and Wallis and Futuna Isl.;
d. for import of more than 5 pets, a certificate of movement issued by the local sanitary authorities is required.
Baggage can be cleared at any airport in France.
Exempt: baggage of passengers with a destination outside of France, in transit via Paris, international airport Charles de Gaulle or Orly.
Currency Import regulations:
Same regulations as for export apply.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Euro – EUR) and foreign currencies: no restrictions if arriving from or traveling to another EU Member State .
If arriving directly from or traveling to a country outside the EU: amounts exceeding EUR 10,000.- or more or the equivalent in another currency (incl. banker’s draft and cheques of any kind) must be declared.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.
France announced they would be restricting travel from the UK from 20 December. Travel restrictions apply to all air, car, ferry and train passengers. Only the following categories of people are authorised to travel to France from the UK:
Arrivals from the UK will need to complete both a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight, and a signed ‘travel certificate’ (attestation), confirming their reason for travel. These can be found on the French government’s website
All travellers from the UK, including children aged 11 and above, will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure. From 18 January, only PCR tests will be accepted for passengers. For hauliers, current testing measures at the border remain unchanged. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. A list of private providers of coronavirus testing is available here.
Passengers arriving in France from the UK will also be required to self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Exit from this self-isolation period is subject to a negative test result. Please find more information on how to obtain a PCR test in France here.
If you were due to travel to France, contact your travel operator. Further updates will be published when they are available. Check our COVID-19 advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.
From 31 January, all air, car, ferry and train passengers arriving from the European area (defined by the French Ministry of the Interior as EU Member States, Andorra, Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland) will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure. Arrivals will also need to present a completed ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form, self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This form can be found on the French government’s website. Travellers should then self-isolate for seven days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Cross-border workers and hauliers from within the European area are exempt from this requirement, as are people travelling within a 30km radius of their home.
You should consult the French government’s advice for foreign nationals in France page for further information.
From 31 January, any international travel – to or from France – from a country outside of the European Union will be prohibited, with the exception of certain essential reasons, including airside transit stops of less than 24 hours.
The French government has put in place COVID-19 travel restrictions on international arrivals. UK travellers/non-EU and EEA nationals resident in the UK will not be permitted entry to France for non-essential purposes due to EU-wide COVID-19 restrictions on arrivals from the UK. Essential travel is still permitted and a list of exemptions for entering France can be found on the French government’s advice for foreign nationals in France page. These restrictions do not apply to persons (including UK nationals) who are legally resident in France. You will be allowed to re-enter the country, but may need to show proof of residence. These restrictions also do not apply to hauliers. Testing measures for hauliers remain unchanged. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. A list of private providers of coronavirus testing is available here.
If you wish to travel from France to a country outside the European area, including the UK, you must also complete a ‘Certificate to leave Metropolitan France’, which specifies exemptions for travel outside the European
Further information on French COVID-19 travel restrictions can be found on the French government’s website.
If you are travelling from a country which is not exempt from French COVID-19 travel restrictions you may only enter France if your journey is essential and meets the criteria for exceptions. You will also need to complete both an exempted international movement certificate and a sworn declaration that you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, which can be found on the French government’s website. You will also be required to present a negative test result, carried out less than 72 hours before departure, upon your arrival in France. If you do not have this result, you could be asked to take this test at your airport of arrival in France. Arrivals will also be required to self-isolate for 7 days on arrival, before taking another PCR test. Further information is available from the French Government’s advice for foreign nationals in France.
Travellers should equip themselves with the necessary attestation whilst travelling to their point of international departure if travel takes place during the daily curfew. Some countries are imposing a compulsory period of quarantine for travellers from France. If you are travelling from or through France, check the situation at your destination before you travel.
All travellers from France to the UK must complete a ‘Certificate to leave Metropolitan France’, which can be found on the French government’s website. This will be requested by the French Border Police on departure.
From 4am on 18 January, if you intend to travel to England, Scotland, or Wales, including UK nationals returning home from travel abroad, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival. You can access tests in France via the French government’s website. Travellers will then be subject to quarantine measures in place in the UK upon entry.
Regular flights between metropolitan France and its overseas territories resumed in late June. Travellers need to provide a negative RT-PCR test taken in the 72 hours preceding arrival, and complete a self-declaration of absence of COVID-19 symptoms and contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days preceding arrival for entry into all French overseas territories. This is available in English on the French Embassy London’s travel and quarantine page.
For travel to certain French Overseas Territories, you must present an international travel certificate confirming that your journey is essential and that you have not been suffering from a set of listed symptoms associated with COVID-19 or in contact with confirmed cases in the 14 days prior to travel. This international travel certificate and further information on travel requirements for the French Overseas Territories is available on the French Ministry of Interior website. The certificate is to be presented to transportation companies before boarding, as well as to border control authorities.
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
Any time you spent in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
The French government has published further information on requirements for British nationals travelling to France, you should consult this before travelling.
At French border control your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You should also be prepared to:
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in France. If you are resident in France, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see the French government’s website for British citizens and our Living in France guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
From 15 January 2017, any child (under the age of 18) who is (a) living in France and (b) leaving France unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, must present the following documents on departure at the French border: (i) the child’s own ID card or passport, (ii) a completed AST authorisation form signed by a parent/guardian (Authorisation de Sortie du Territoire) and (iii) a copy of the ID card or passport of the parent or guardian who has signed the AST form. For more information visit the French Ministry of Interior website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from France.
If you wish to travel with a pet to the EU, please read our guidance.
On arrival in France, pet owners travelling with pets will need to enter through a designated travelers’ point of entry (TPE).
If your pet passport was issued in an EU Member State it remains valid for travel to France.
There are limits on the volume and value amounts for certain goods that you can bring into France as a traveler. You should check the French Directorate General of Customs and Excise website to confirm the latest allowances per traveler.
Limited industrial action continues across France, primarily affecting transport and public services.
If you’re due to travel to or within France, check the website of your chosen operator for the latest information before you set off. In the event of any disruption to Channel crossings, information about alternative routes and operators is available via this interactive map.
Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities.
If you use an individual paper ticket on the bus or on trains, make sure you validate it in the machine on the bus or in the station. If you don’t validate your ticket, you may be fined.
For assistance in any emergency situation, dial 112.
Take sensible precautions against street and car crime. Don’t keep your passport, credit cards and other valuables in the same place; use the inside compartments in bags where possible. Carry your bag across your body rather than on your shoulder.
Pickpockets can work in gangs: one to distract you while the other one goes into your bag. Keep your belongings close to you in restaurants and bars. Don’t be distracted around tourist attractions and cash points.
Be aware of common scams used to obtain money from tourists, there are petition, 3 card trick and gold ring tricks which are all to be avoided, more information can be found here.
Thieves and pickpockets operate on the Paris underground, RER lines and at mainline stations, for example Gare du Nord.
There have been several victims of serious assault on the RER line B, which serves Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and Paris Gare du Nord Eurostar terminus. There have also been serious assaults on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.
Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you’re going to drink, know your limit and take sensible precautions such as not becoming separated from friends.
Motorway journeys are usually trouble-free, but if you’re asked by another motorist to stop and you decide to do so, park your car in a public area with lights – like a service station. If you’re involved in a car accident or witness an accident on the motorway, use the orange emergency phones to ask for help.
Check weather forecasts and conditions and make sure you’re properly equipped. Don’t undertake any activity alone, and consider hiring a guide for expert advice. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone. For travel to mountainous areas, make sure your insurance covers you for extra medical costs, repatriation to your country of residence and in the départements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie possible transfer to Switzerland for treatment.
Observe all warnings regarding avalanches and where appropriate consider carrying avalanche search equipment. You can check the latest avalanche risk areas on the Meteo Alarm website. Conditions on roads in mountainous areas can quickly become difficult in winter. You should carry water, food, warm clothing and medicines in your vehicle.
For sports activities like skiing, potholing and mountaineering, and for sports classed as particularly dangerous (eg off-piste skiing, snow-boarding, mountain biking, climbing, ice-climbing, paragliding), make sure you’re covered by your insurance. This should include mountain rescue services and helicopter costs.
Read more about how to stay safe on the slopes.
Local sea conditions can endanger even strong swimmers on the Atlantic Coast. Many beaches provide lifeguards and warning systems (coloured flags) and you should always follow the advice closely. Get information on the specific Baïne danger on the coast of the Gironde and Landes departments from the Gironde Prefecture website.
Follow local advice if jellyfish are present in the sea.
In 2019 there were 3,239 road deaths in the France (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 4.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
To drive in France you must be 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. If you don’t own the vehicle you’re driving, you should get written permission from the registered owner.
If you’re living in France, check the country Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Driving regulations in France can differ from those in the UK:
Many drivers undertake long journeys in France. Plan your journey carefully, taking into account unknown roads, weather conditions and fatigue. Make sure you take regular breaks.
Keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic and secure your vehicle when it is left unattended.
Information on road safety and potential traffic black spots (in French only) is available on the Bison Futé website. Alternatively, real-time information on road traffic conditions is available on 107.7 FM in French and in English (Motorways radio – Autoroute Info).
All vehicles, including motorbikes, driving in central Paris, Lyon and Grenoble now need to display a special ‘pollution sticker’. You must display a sticker to drive in central Paris from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. The requirement to display a sticker can be implemented at any time, depending on pollution levels. Some older vehicles don’t qualify for a sticker at all due to their high emissions; these vehicles can’t be driven in central Paris at all from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. In order to manage air pollution levels, cities may also limit vehicle access to town centres and main roads, including the Paris region. For more information, and to apply for a sticker, visit the French Ministry of Environment website (in English).
There have been reports of burglaries taking place while lorry drivers have been asleep in their vehicles. Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of unsupervised camping grounds or car parks. Consider installing an alarm in your vehicle.
There have been many attempts by illegal migrants to enter lorries while stationary or in slow moving traffic. Take sensible precautions against attempts to break in to your vehicle.
Heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are banned from driving on roads in France on certain days during the year, including all Sundays and public holidays. Dates are set by the French Ministry of Transport. Full details of restrictions can be found on the Bison Futé website.
British haulage companies and their employees should contact the Road Hauliers Association for further information about driving in France.
There have been reports of burglaries taking place while travellers have been asleep in their caravans, mobile homes and other vehicles. Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of unsupervised camping grounds or car parks and consider installing an alarm in your caravan or mobile home.
There have been many attempts by illegal migrants to enter vehicles while stationary or in slow moving traffic. Take sensible precautions against break in to your vehicle, particularly in Northern France.
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