Moving Overseas to or From France

International Moving


The cost to move a 2-bedroom household to France depends on where you are sending your goods from. If you don’t live near a major port, for example, you may need to pay for shipping overland to the shipping terminal and then for the overseas container shipping. That’s a lot of logistics to keep track of.

To ship a full container to France from New York City, for example, would cost between $7,200-$9,600. From Tokyo, the cost would be ¥1,073,300 – ¥1,436,100.

What do I need to know about importing household goods to France?

Unlike some countries, you do not have to be physically present when your items are cleared through customs. You will need to show that you have lived in your home country for at least a year and that you plan to be in France for at least a year. While you will have a year to import your household goods, you will need to declare all future shipments at the time of your first shipment.

Required Documents:

  • Valid passport
  • French visa – Get this before you arrive. Trying to get one after you arrive in France will just make the process more difficult.
  • Declarations for Entry of Personal Effects and Duty Exemption
  • Valid Residence Card – “Competences et Talents”
  • Proof of Employment
  • Proof of your new residence in France, such as utility bills or a home purchase
  • Bill of lading for your overseas shipment, or, if you are a high roller, an air waybill for your air shipment

You must also provide a written declaration that you have lived in your home country for at least the past consecutive 12 months, that you have owned your household imports for at least the past six months, and that you will not attempt to transfer ownership of any of your tax and duty-free imports for at least a year after your arrival in France

As for your household goods, you will need to create a box-by-box inventory of all your belongings. A detailed inventory of your entire shipment must be valued in Euros and written in French. Here is where working with a shipper is essential.

Are vehicle imports permitted in France?

To qualify for tax and duty-free vehicle imports, you must be able to prove that you have lived in your home country for at least one year and that you have owned the vehicle for at least six months prior to your move.

Most vehicles will need some level of modification to be imported to France. North American vehicles will need extensive modifications. First, they will need to be altered so that they may be safely driven on the left-hand side of the road. In addition, they will need Xenon lights, a weight detection system, and an automatic cleaning system. The cost for these modifications will be several thousand Euros.

Not every vehicle is eligible, so be sure to check with your shipper for more information.

To pass your vehicle through customs, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of French motor vehicle insurance
  • Clean title without liens
  • Proof of purchase
  • License plate numbers

If you not eligible for tax and duty-free imports, you will owe the following taxes based on the age and type of vehicle you are bringing:

  • Car over 50 years old – 5% VAT
  • Car over 30 years old – 5.5% VAT
  • Motorcycles – 9% import tax/20% VAT
  • All others – 10% import tax/20% VAT

Say oui to working with an overseas moving company

When it comes to filling out complex customs paperwork, your high school French may not cut it. Working with an overseas moving company means that you don’t have to spend your next six months juggling your packing list and a French dictionary. We can help you get packed and ensure that your paperwork is done right the first time. Contact Three Men and a Truck today to learn how we can help you get moved to France without a hitch.

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Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at

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