Collecting possessions from UK

A question. We moved to France three years ago leaving some of our endless stuff in a locked garage in the UK. Now Covid willing we would like to empty that garage and bring the stuff approximately one trailer load over here. What problems are we likely to face at the customs?

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Hi Linda… you might find something interesting in this thread… somewhat similar to you situation…

Yes, you will need to fill in all the forms and if over a small value then probably pay import duty.

Think hard about whether it is worth it, and if not of sentimental value then sell the stuff and buy replacements if you really need to here. If they’ve been there for 3 years are they essential in your life?

Grrrhhhhh Brexit


Thanks Stella not what I wanted to hear. No idea how you value old personal possessions and pieces of my husbands art . We have been renovating for so long and now we have some wall space and probably none of his work to put on it as it’s still in England

probably no value at all… as far as an Import Declaration is concerned…
however, if you’re insuring the cargo/contents… that’s the figure to put, I suppose…

not an easy one… but commonsense tells me that if it’s just family stuff with sentimental value… rather than a monetary one… there must be a category on the Declaration to cover stuff like that… (I hope)

We expect to have a similar issue, but in the reverse direction. I was expecting there to be a category of ‘used household effects’ or ‘of no commercial value’ for items such as these; these options used to appear on customs documents back in the day when we were regular travellers. Doubtless I’ll find out more when we get to the point of actually being able to move them.

If you’re moving back to the UK permanently then it’s much easier with less paperwork to complete which you can do yourself.

Thanks, Tim. It will be a permanent move. Hoping to link up with a local haulier who has a delivery to make 60 kms from our house, while we offer him a return load to UK, so will in practice be using professional.

You can move all your household goods duty free within 12 months of making a permanent move in either direction.

It’s after that it becomes complicated.

For anyone who is minded to move to FR but leave their stuff back in UK till they are ‘ready for it…’

You can benefit from a duty and tax exemption for the importation of your personal goods, when you have been staying in a third country for at least 12 months and you wish to transfer your main residence to France. Your personal goods used in a private capacity for at least 6 months before the transfer of residence, and acquired indifferently, all taxes included or excluded, are admitted free of charge.

Comes from here : Démarche : Vous souhaitez connaître les franchises applicables lors du transfert de votre résidence principale en France | Portail de la Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects.

The moral of this is, bring it with you when you move - don’t let it fester in UK for more than 12 months after you’ve moved to FR.

Hi we purchased a new computer back last Sept in the UK sent to our daughters address. We had hoped to pick it up on a trip back before the end of Dec but due to COVID that was not possible.

The Computer cost £1010 and we bought in UK as we did not want French keyboard etc and we got a very good Uk deal.

I have looked up depreciation and Computers depreciate at 50% per year are we justified in declaring the value at £505 when we are finally able to go get it. Also we have Xmas presents from our daughters (Garden Tools) do we have to list everything we return with in the car?

Back in the 1980,s we moved to France for two years for my wife’s work, we turned up at Dieppe with a car load of our possessions. We had made a list and went to the French Consulate in Liverpool who weren’t interested and said sort it out at Dieppe.

We went to the Douane in Dieppe and the officer asked what we wanted we said we were coming to France to live for a year and here was our list of possessions. He said « so » and we said you need to stamp it, he did so and we then gave him a copy and he again asked what he should do with it we said it was for his records. We think he promptly filed it under « B »
I wonder how long it will take for them to revert to this practice for people bringing in small amount of personal goods?



Under €300 or so (I forget exact figure) you should be fine. Beyond that I imagine right now it depends who you get, and/or what you are bringing.

Post 1973 I don’t really remember many checks at ports.

As ever the rules change along with the shifts. Not sure if what we have is actually worth much of anyone’s money. Most of it is paintings we love and finally have a wall for.

Just reading this thread. Did you bring your belongings over? We are within the 12 months of moving date, but only just. Going to collect a carload of personal belongings in September and know about the cerfa doc and inventory x 2 but not sure where we have to show these documents if we catch the Eurotunnel. Does anybody know whether we hand it to someone in Folkestone or is it Calais?