France: What you can and can't ship

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An aerial shot of Paris, France including the Eiffel Tower
Here at Pickfords, France is one of our most popular European destinations moving hundreds of customers household belongings 'across the pond' every year. With decades of experience under our belt, you can rely on us to ensure the contents of your consignment are fully compliant with French customs regulations and that you have all the required information to ensure your move to France is as stress-free as possible. 

Carrying out research and having expert support at your fingertips is essential for any international move to ensure you feel confident at every stage of the process. As a result, we have put together a list of items that are prohibited and restricted by French customs so you can plan ahead of time and focus on other aspects of your move. 

This may seem like a really small detail to consider but it's an important piece of the puzzle. If items are included in your consignment that do not comply to the rules they will be destroyed and you will be responsible for covering the expense.

Please note that the list below is not an indicative list. For a complete list of France's prohibited and restricted items, please contact a member of our international team for further guidance. You can also find more information in the French FIDI customs guide

Restricted items

French customs have a range of items which are categorised as restricted,  meaning that these goods are subject to special procedures. These may consist of: declarations, licenses, certificates of ownership etc. If your items do not meet these requirements, they will be destroyed and you will be required to cover this cost.

  • Plant and plant products: These items will be subject to phytosanitary inspection at the first point of entry into France, prior to customs clearance. You also must obtain a phytosanitary certificate from the Veterinary and Phytosanitary Border Inspection Office (SIVEP), General Directorate for Food.  
  • Live animals and animal-based products: These goods are subject to a mandatory health inspection at the first point of entry, prior to customs clearance. The Common Veterinary Entry Document must always be submitted along with your customs declaration. 
  • Cultural goods: Any cultural goods that are leaving the national customs territory must travel with a certificate and must travel with an export authorisation or license. 

Prohibited items

As well as restricted items, French customs also have a list of items which are strictly prohibited, meaning that these items cannot be imported, exported or possessed in the country. If your consignment contains any of the below items, then there will be subsequent consequences. 

Your consignment should not contain the following goods:

  • Counterfeit goods:  These are items which use someone else's trademark without their permission, otherwise known as fake products or unauthorised replicas of real, usually designer, products. You are liable to pay severe penalties if counterfeit goods are found in your possession or within your consignment. These penalties you could face can range from confiscation of the goods, fines of up to twice the price of the original products or even a prison term. 
  • Certain plants or plant products: Plants and plant products can carry harmful organisms which can potentially cause severe damage to the French ecosystem and environment. Exemptions may apply for scientific purposes but this must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food Processing Industry and Forestry. 
  • Narcotics and psychotropic drugs: These goods are prohibited unless accompanied by a prescription, medical certificate or an import or export authorisation. 
  • Certain dog breeds: Dogs that are recognised as 'attack' dog breeds are prohibited to enter France, unless they are registered in a studbook which has been recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Food Processing Industry and Forestry. The following dog breeds that cannot be imported are: American Staffordshire Terriers, Masiffs/Boeberboels, Tosas, Staffidshire Bull Terrier and Molossers. For more information, contact our pet travel consultants.  
  • Pornographic products or objects: These could be pictures or indecent representations.  
You are responsible for getting all the necessary information before you arrive in France and you must acquire all the required permits. If you do fail to do so, your goods will remain in customs' custody until the proper documents are submitted and available. 

By hiring Pickfords as your international mover, you can feel confident that you will have all the support you need to send your belongings to France. If you are considering moving to France, get in touch with us today or get a quote here.