Moving post Brexit

Friends of our moved from USA and it was difficult ré customs.

We moved our stuff from Oz and did all the paper work ourselves. was upsetting how much we had to pay to pick it up ourselves from port (over €900) but didn’t have to employ anyone to do it.

Hi Karen, I am moving with a removal van but also taking a horsebox and trailer separately. It’s all perfectly do-able if you want to move yourself. You just have to make sure all the paperwork is in order. So that means a comprehensive Inventory of goods for the whole lot - even though you may be doing several different trips. On this first inventory (triplicate in English and French) you must also include your car (s) and any horsebox or caravan which will all need to be re registered in France. Customs will give you a certificate for you to use as part of re -registration. (you must have previously applied to the manufacturer for a Certificate of Conformity - I just emailed them and it should be free). You will not pay duty or VAT. You must be really careful not to take in anything that is on the prohibited list as they are more likely to dismantle you at the port and will confiscate anything outside the list. You also need to apply to the French Consulate for a Certificate of movement - this is a bit ‘frontier’ but they are getting better. I asked the Consulate in French and they are very helpful. You apply three weeks before your move and the certificate costs £21. You present this with your Inventory to customs. Plants have to have a phytosanitary certificate. register on gateway and look for ALPHA . You have up to 12 months to move all your chattels after residency. Just a last minute warning… I have heard from friends that border control are particularly sensitive to movement at the moment because of Covid restrictions so leaving it until restrictions are eased and they are less confrontational might be a good idea .


Just another link - as I see that you are confused about the protocol. so its all on 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

We are in similar situation. Physically moved us and our animals last November, plus some clothes etc.
Now we are planning our large amount of furniture!!
To do it ourselves we have to employ a “customs agent” this is the rule on the French border to submit the paperwork that has been explained to us.
Getting quotes from professionals is highlighting that most don’t want to do it because of the sheer frustration of getting across the channel!!
Those that do are expensive but frankly we’ve decided we’re only doing this once, do it properly!!
My Mum kept telling me, you get what you pay for, it’s true. !!!

Not sure where that rule is written…this is what is needed

Vous devez fournir à la douane les documents suivants :

  • un inventaire détaillé, estimatif, daté et signé (en 2 exemplaires) des effets et objets mobiliers dont l’importation est envisagée ;
  • le formulaire cerfa 10070 de déclaration d’entrée en France en franchise de biens personnels en provenance de pays tiers, si vous importez des biens comportant des moyens de transport et/ou des effets et objets mobiliers de valeur ;
  • tout document prouvant que :
    • vous possédiez votre résidence principale dans un pays tiers ;
    • vous vous installez en France (certificat de changement de résidence, ordre de mutation pour les militaires et les fonctionnaires français ou carte de résident, d’immigrant, etc.).

I moved part of our “stuff” last year with no hassle. 2nd part was heading to the ferry at 4am on 21Dec when we saw the M-way gantries " Channel Ports Closed". Couldn’t rebook before New Year’s Eve. I have HGV licence and was happy to return to England but couldn’t square it between Covid and needing a Customs Agent. I did see adverts at £15 a load but in the end used “Europe’s first no frills removals company” Vanone - a complete fiasco, avoid like the plague! Chestnuts pulled from fire by a Polish Customs Agent in Belfast

Ahhhh for the good old days :wink: 7 trips in 21 days and 13,000 miles, all ferries at night, custom’s lady "So your still moving then, on you go and I take it I will see you again in a couple of day’s

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That must have cost a fortune

I was bringing a lot of DIY (cabling, boiler, radiators, etc) back as well though for the renovations.
Around £450 a trip I think, all the time in the world and I love driving.

I put “I believe” being modest but I was told by Douane in Cahors that this was the case. They also said that the first inventory presented to them must include EVERYTHING you hope to bring in during the first 12 months (the max to avoid duty) ESPECIALLY any vehicles.
This didn’t happen in my experience last week, indeed the removals company completely failed to grasp the concept. The (excellent) customs agent used by the (horrific) removals company (Vanone) got clearance from French Customs on the basis of pretty much “a van load of personal effects” (30 cubic metres) and over it came! I was very nervous until it was on my driveway.
The Official in Cahors obviously could only tell us what the rules say. From experience I had hoped that the reality would be practical but no-one does a “work to rule” as well as the French (remember the Video Recorders?) and a few of the Douane are happy to “stick it to the Brits” for Brexit and for making extra work for them. It seems the current rules for personal effects (transfer of residence) are indeed exactly what they are for commercial freight. I was even assured by the Home Office “help” line that I couldn’t travel (under Covid rules) with a van myself unless I was booked as “Freight”, not even repatriating and paying for two tests and quarantining for 10 days.
I couldn’t find a Customs Agent to process my own van but I’ll ask the one who got our things through if I can pass on his name. He is busy as well and may only want business customers. I don’t know what President Macron makes of it but passing a law in mid January requiring the use of an Agent who is not available is hardly “welcoming with open arms” (IMHO).
I hope this is helpful to somebody, I’ve been having a very fraught time since 21 December.

Again thanks for all the input all helpful it is a bit of a mine field what with visas which we can’t book with due to current lockdown and moving house and bringing 2 cars a trailer and motorbike and the dog which is also a nightmare need new paperwork as with everything else which the vets dont yet have !! Its very trying . We tried to move last year what with Brexit and covid that did t happen :flushed::neutral_face:

Sorry to hear how tough and frustrating things have been for you Karen. Good luck with it this time. I remember how stressful it was for us 13 years ago and we didn’t have anything like this to contend with. Bon courage!

I would question employing an Agent on the french side. That is not how I read it. Only removal companies - because they are classified as
moving Freight have to employ an agent. As an individual you can do it yourself as long as your paperwork is all in order as above.

Its interesting what you say your info from the home office was. Totally incorrect. Moving house is one of the few reasons you can move at all during the pandemic. You don’t need a customs agent either. If you have all your paperwork in order and the certificate from the French Consulate you can do it yourself and you have 12 months to do it in stages. What you can’t do is employ someone else to drive it over for you. You then have to employ an agent because they are then classified as freight

Well I’m glad it’s finally done, and you can de-stress now…

The official in Cahors can only tell you what they understand by the rules, or how they interpret them! French officials are equally renowned for local “variations” of the rules as many, many court cases show! Or the big fuss among UK community last year when one departmental CPAM decided to interpret the S1 rules in their own special way.

You may well be right, as I haven’t looked for the legislation myself, but I do know other third country nationals (not british from UK) who have brought their personal goods into France by themselves by following the guidance on the paperwork needed. As you weren’t doing it yourself, but using a commercial removals company then I can imagine it could be different.

Thanks for the reply can you advise on the paperwork that you spoke of

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Weve not decided yet who to use to mone cost wise its cheaper to do it ourselves even if we rent 3 vans and use the ferry etc. Have to look up.whats needed and how to get it all

It’s a tough decision of course. In pounds shillings and pence it may be cheaper to do it yourself yes, but once you factor in the extra workload you may have to endure, both physical and in potential stress and hassle sorting bureaucracy and such, the cost benefits may significantly reduce. It really is dependent on how much you can cope with doing yourself. Some may treat it as a challenge I suppose, for me even though on a tight budget it was one of those jobs I felt it was worth handing off to others as one less thing on my list. But good luck either way!

It’s all 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