- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals France Guide (PDF)
Expats will find shipping to France a fairly painless affair. The country has plenty of ports, a high-density rail system and is home to one of the largest international airports in the world, Charles de Gaulle.
Expats can therefore choose to ship by sea, by air or by land. There are plenty of service providers who can help to ship goods door to door, or who can take responsibility for just a part of the process.
Despite the apparent ease of sending goods abroad, expats should note that shipping is usually expensive. It’s often the case that one can purchase new or used household goods upon arrival for less, or can simply find furnished accommodation.
Those committed to keeping their furniture should pay attention to a few key points if planning to ship to France. First, expats should seek at least three quotes from shipping service providers, and make sure that their chosen provider ticks all the boxes.
Common services to look for in a shipper
Pick-up of goods at your location
Basic disassembly and reassembly of furniture
Border clearance and customs formalities at the destination
Professional wrapping of all wooden, metal and fabric furniture
Export documents for household goods only
Wooden crate lift van or palletising
Preparing a professional inventory list
Unloading of all items to destination residence, and setting all items per request
Agent fees and NVOCC deconsolidation charges
Removal of packing debris from destination resident
Most shippers will charge by the weight and/or volume of the items. Expats should be aware that shippers often tack on additional expenses for certain packing materials, handling and hoisting of excessively large items, as well as for certain processing requirements.
Expats are advised to purchase insurance from a company other than the shipping company used, thus ensuring reliable coverage for broken cargo.
Shipping duty-free to France
Expats can ship used household goods and personal belongings duty free to France, provided the goods are more than six months old and they have lived outside the EU for more than a year. In order to do so though, expats must have proof of residency in France along with additional paperwork.
Because such stipulations are subject to change at short notice, expats are advised to check with the relevant government department for an up-to-date list of terms and requirements before shipping duty free to France.
►Find out more about moving to France
Are you an expat living in France?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to France. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.