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What should I know about French customs regulations?

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Place du Vieux Marche, cafes France, Normandy
Walter Bibikow/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Question: What should I know about French customs regulations?

First off, note that this information pertains only to individuals traveling to France as tourists. Organizations and individuals traveling on business should consult this page (in French) for more information.

Answer:

Duty-Free Items

U.S. and Canadian citizens may bring goods into or from France and the rest of the European Union up to a certain value before having to pay custom duties, excise taxes, or VAT (Value-Added Tax). You should keep the following in mind:

  • U.S. and Canadian citizens aged 15 and over and traveling by air or sea may bring articles totaling 430 Euros (approx.$545) into France duty and tax-free. Land and inland waterway travelers can bring duty-free goods worth 300 Euros (approx. $380) in their personal luggage

  • Individuals over 17 may also purchase and import certain duty-free items from France up to a certain limit. This includes tobacco and alcoholic beverages, motor fuel, and medications. Fragrances, coffee, and tea may now be imported into the EU with no restriction on amounts, as long as the value does not exceed the monetary limits listed above. Limits for other items are:

    • Cigarettes: 200 units
    • Cigarillos: 100 units (max. 3 grams each)
    • Cigars: 50 units
    • Still wines: 4 liters
    • Beer: 16 liters
    • Spirits over 22 degrees volume: 1 liter
    • Fortified wines, 22 degrees volume or less: 2 liters
    • Medications: Varies according to traveler's health requirements
    • Motor fuel: Quantities equal to that found in a normal full fuel tank, or in an emergency can, not exceeding 10 liters.

    Please note that cigarette and alcohol allowances are not made for travelers under the age of 17; these passengers are not allowed to bring any amount of these goods into France.

  • Duty and tax exemptions are strictly individual. You cannot apply them to a group.

  • Items worth more than the maximum exempt amount will be subject to duties and taxes.

  • You can bring personal items such as guitars or bicycles to France and not be charged any taxes or fees as long as the items are clearly for personal use. You may not sell or dispose of these while in France. All personal items declared to customs upon entry into France must be transported back with you.

Money and currency

Since 2007, travelers carrying more than the equivalent of 10,000 Euros in cash or traveler's checks into or out of the EU must declare the funds with customs officials, as part of anti-terrorism and money laundering controls.

Other Items

For more detailed information on French customs regulations, including information on bringing pets, plants, or fresh food items into and out of France, consult the French Embassy Customs FAQ page.

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