Importing a used compact tractor to France


Just before a Brexit I thought wasn’t going to happen, (or if it did, surely we wouldn’t leave the single market), I took my compact tractor back to the UK. I had bought the tractor new a year before in Correze where I have some land. Well, Brexit happened, and then Covid, and finally, I’m trying to bring the tractor back to France.

I’ve learned I need a phytosanitary certificate, and having talked to the guy who is coming to inspect the tractor, I’ve spent the last 3 days cleaning off every speck of soil. After a lot of research and some phone calls, I STILL don’t understand if the certificate is all I need, or do I need to get an EU login, register with TRACES, and what else? I can drive a tractor, but that doesn’t qualify me to understand this: Getting Started

Has anyone any knowledge about bringing used farm machinery into France from the UK?



Wow John, I can’t help but I can commiserate. Crazy stuff.

You have the original invoice, when you paid for the hand tractor in France, so it is in accordance with the local regulation. You paid the French VAT!
That the equipment is free of soil and other debris is a requirement to prevent the import of soil borne diseases and that is a requirement regardless from where it gets imported.

Are you sure? I thought this would only apply to plants etc, not vehicles.
Will this mean that every vehicle that might have mud on it (trucks delivering to farms, 4x4s & diggers etc) must get one?
I know Australia & New Zealand are very particular but I have never heard of this for Europe.

Quite sure. I think we have it sorted now. Hopefully I’ll get time tomorrow to post some links to the documents needed and a description of the process.

Does this help?
note-to-operators-health-and-customs-treatment-of-sps-goods-veterinary-and-phytosanitary-for-brexit.pdf (227.9 KB)

Hmm, just notice the title of this thread - ‘hand tractor’! Oops. Was meant to be compact tractor.

Anyway, Mark, that link you sent kind of does help. It’s what we’ve been working through to try to understand, filling in forms, making phone calls, registering on various systems.

Something worked though, as someone from the plant health inspectorate called and asked me to undo some of the things we’d done. The route we’d been going down was a route designed for exporters, not individuals doing a one-off.

So we were asked to complete a paper form instead, as the new system can’t cope with individuals yet. This is the form:

There’s another form that I’m afraid I’ve lost the link to which entitles you to a 50% discount on the inspector’s services for a one-off.

I think that’s all we have to do. Once we’ve passed the inspection, we’ll be given a plant health certificate for the tractor, and I think that will be accompanied by another bit of paper to give to the border people in France which authorises us to export the tractor.

It took three days to clean the tractor. Pressure washer, washing up brush, and finally, a toothbrush for the tight spots. Ironically, all the soil on it is French soil, as I never used the tractor in the UK.

Still, sovereignty eh?

Here’s a more detailed and better informed account of what is needed, written by my wife, who actually did the investigating. I just did the one job, repeatedly. If soil, scrub…

We’ve had written confirmation from the Director General at French Customs that we officially need a PHYTOSANITARY CERTIFICATE to cross the border with used agricultural machinery - compact tractors, small diggers, cherry pickers, lawn mowers and rollers etc. They also said we don’t need anything for ‘gardening tools’. Clearly there may be a fuzzy area!! !:slightly_smiling_face:
But with our micro-tractor it doesn’t seem sensible to take the risk of being turned back.

As they also sent the specific list of items so I thought I’d post it here - link below.

Also, we now understand we have to get the phyto certificate no more than 14 days before crossing.

And we also have to register for an electronic ‘ticket’ from EU TRACES. Individual exporters like us can simply do this by emailing the address below telling them what you’re taking. They return you a ‘ticket’ with a consignment number.

TRACES is the European Commission’s online platform for sanitary and phytosanitary certification required for importation.

It’s taken me the best part of a week’s research to find the correct forms so I hope they will be useful to others…! ![:slightly_smiling_face:|

Paper form to apply for phytosanitary certificates…/form-hh36a.pdf

Traces email to register movement of goods <>

English translations of EU Annex XI list of things that need phytosanitary certificates:


Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 of 28 November 2019 establishing uniform conditions for the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and the Council, as regards protective measures against pests of…

There, clear as mud!

I’m afraid that I can’t get your links to work but I did take a quick look at the subject matter.
I could not find anything that refers to the need for agricultural machinery to be inspected & indeed, when dealing with such, it has not been a requirement. There is plenty of references to plants as in the growing kind.
Can I ask what prompted you to investigate this in the first place?

This is all I can find on the French government site - 2.1. Goods subject to SPS checks
The Veterinary and Phytosanitary Border Inspection Office (SIVEP) carries out official checks
for each consignment8 at the BCP of the first point of entry into the EU on:

  • Live animals,
  • Products of animal origin, germinal products, animal by-products, hay and straw,
    and foodstuffs containing both products of plant origin and processed products of animal
    origin (‘composite products’),
  • Feed of non-animal origin to be released for free circulation in the EU,
  • Plants, plant products and other objects as referred to in the lists established
    pursuant to Articles 72(1) and 74(1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/2031.

Hi Mark,

Sorry, there was a bad link which I have now removed.

The last link lists everything that needs a phytosanitary certificate, which is basically all second hand farm machinery as well as plants and seeds.


interesting thread all thanks for posting all this , im thinking of buying a used john deer mower here in the uk and taking it it france next week to solve my grass and mower issue as lead times on new ones in france are soo long and occasions are so expensive,. I dont mind paying a bit of import duty but the mnower im looking at is 1500£ so shouldnt be too bad . has anybody tried this will it be a lot of grief and what do i need to do to get my paperwork done before i go. ? any ideas welcome


I imported my used tractor into France yesterday. I have to say that trying to find out what I needed to do was quite a nightmare of contradictory advise.

In the end, it was made clear that I certainly needed a phytosanitary certificate anyway. This meant 4 days of cleaning every part of the tractor to remove soil, twigs and leaves and then getting an inspector to come and approve the work. This cosy6 £60 or so, plus another £12.50 for the embossed bit of paper with a hologram on it. By the way, it was £60 and not the advertised £120 (per 15 minutes) because I also applied for a discount, being qualified for that by not importing more than £5000 with of goods a year.

I must say, I was still a bit uncertain about what was needed when we disembarked at Roscoff. But I needn’t have worried as the border people there didn’t seem to be aware of the apparent need for a phytosanitary certificate. They didn’t ask for it. I didn’t have to pay any duty or tax because I bought the tractor in France a couple of years ago and they just checked the receipt.

Maybe that’s just how it is on Roscoff. A bit laid back. I expect it might be a different story in Calais.

hi all I bought a lawnmower john deer tL120 here in uk off ebay and want to take it over to france next month, from the list of items it seems exempt from the study. Has anybody had experience of this recently ill be going portsmouth caen i guess , duty to pay do i need to prep any docs etc ? any help welcome

Hi We would like to take our tractor and implements to France when we move. We have some quotes for transport but, can’t seem to find out about custom duties does anyone on here know where to get this information? Many Thanks

@Pir8ped although yours is a French origin used tractor… are you able to help @Shufy with his enquiry…???

and steer him through the minefield of documents and registrations etc etc… pretty please. :wink: :+1: :crossed_fingers:

Hi Stella,

I did notice this enquiry, but there was no minefield for me to navigate, so I doin’t have much to contribute here. I originally bought the tractor in France, and all customs wanted to see was my french receipt. That was it.

Legally, I needed a phytosanitary certificate too, which required I remove every speck of soil from the tractor - that took me 3 days, and it cost a fair bit too, but the nice customs people in Roscoff didn’t mention the certificate or look for any nasty soil contamination. I reckon I got off lightly, probably because I entered France via Roscoff, where they seem a little more laid back than perhaps the channel ports. I don’t know if that will remain the way of it there.

As for importing a tractor originating in the UK, I’m afraid I haven’t a clue, apart from the apparent need for that phyto certificate.


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does your tractor have a carte grise?

No carte grise yet.

When I bought the tractor I didn’t have an address in France, so couldn’t get one. I expect to have an address in a couple of weeks and will ask the dealer where I bought it if they would still be prepared to sort out the carte grise for me .

Thank you for trying for us Stella

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