Moving to France from the US

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Moving to France from the US
Moving to France from the US

It is hard to imagine a country more connected. France is bordered by Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Luxembourg, and Belgium. What’s more, France is also bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, and Northern Sea. France is home to many American expats, drawn to the high quality of life, rich European multiculturalism, and healthy Mediterranean food and lifestyle. 

French residents enjoy all the modern amenities of life, and even a few that Americans are unfamiliar with. Even so, you are likely to want to bring your personal goods with you when you move to France

The purpose of this brief guide is to give you the fundamentals of shipping your vehicle and personal goods to France. You will learn what is necessary to import personal items and vehicles, from paperwork to the fine print. As always, before you attempt to import goods to any country, you should check with local customs officials for the most current guidance. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

How do I Import Personal Items to France?

If you have been a resident of another country for at least the past year and intend to move your primary personal residence to France, you can import your personal goods tax and duty free. 

If you are not moving your primary personal residence to France but are establishing a second home in the country, you will need to pay customs duty, VAT, and potentially other taxes on your imported personal goods. 

Taxes will be calculated based on the declared value of your inventoried goods. 

The Fine Print

  • Unlike some countries, you can import your goods in multiple shipments. However, you must transfer your personal goods to France within a year of becoming a resident.
  • Anything you import into the country cannot be sold, loaned, assigned, or leased for at least a year after you imported the goods into France.

The Paperwork

  • Two copies of a detailed inventory or manifest of your imported goods.
  • Cerfa 10070 form (declaration)
  • Documentation to prove your previous residence in another country, and your new residence in France.

How Do I Import a Vehicle to France?

Importing a vehicle to France from America can be complicated. French Customs officials, called Douanes, maintain stringent guidelines for imports. All imported vehicles must meet French regulations and all paperwork must be complete. 

You will be responsible for: 

  • Providing a bill of sale for your vehicle, as well as valid vehicle registration.
  • Ensuring that your vehicle is clean of foreign soil
  • Freight and insurance fees
  • Duties, taxes, and other fees (import processing, logistical services, customs brokers)
    • Car over 50 years old – no import tax/5% VAT
    • Car over 30 years old – no import tax/5.5% VAT
    • Motorcycles – 9% import tax/20% VAT
    • All others – 10% import tax/20% VAT
  • Registration and insurance requirements (These are specific to the individual French State or Territory you are moving to.)
  • Even more fees for transport, storage, and delivery charges to get your car from wharf to wharf.

Want a Convenient Way to Import Your Belongings? 

It’s a lot, isn’t it? Does it sound like too much of a hassle? Are you worried that you will get the paperwork wrong and mess up your move entirely? We get it. At A-1 Auto Transport, we have an experienced team that specializes in the regulations governing international imports.  Our international shipping experts are ready to handle all the details, making your move easy and stress-free. 

Complete the form at the top of this page to receive a free overseas shipping quote. You can also get in contact with our international shipping specialists or give us a call. We have the expertise to get your imports handled quickly and efficiently. 

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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