Moving to France after Brexit. What has changed?

Has the process of moving household goods to France changed since Brexit?

Case Scenario

Paul and Emily made the move from the West Midlands, UK to the Dordogne region to start their retirement in France. They had household contents and a vehicle to take with them.
As there are export documents and import documents required to enable household goods to be customs cleared, Paul and Emily researched a reputable removal company to handle these extra processes and procedures. They also had to supply paperwork, essentially to provide proof of who they are, proof of purchase/ rental agreement etc to prove where they were going to. They ensured that they had as much paperwork to hand as possible early on to avoid problems later in the process.

When it comes to duty and tax; used household goods are not subject to duty and tax but any brand new goods are likely to be liable for customs duty. Paul and Emily were able to move their existing household contents without being subject to duty and tax as the effects were more than six months old, but they also purchased a new bathroom suite in the UK for installation in the property in France. For this they had to provide receipts and pay duty and tax.
They decided to take their car with them as they calculated that it would cost more to replace it in France. As it was over six months old, it wasn’t subject to duty and tax. (A vehicle less than six months old will be subject to duty and tax.)

Historically, many people took their plants with them to France but since Brexit garden plants are no longer freely admitted. Plants either from gardens or purchased from garden centres now require a phytosanitary certificate to be arranged before they can be taken to France. Paul and Emily didn’t want to go through the process of obtaining this, so decided not to take their plants and shrubs with them.
It was necessary for them to pay customs fees in order for the remover to clear customs, that weren’t applicable whilst in the EU.

Top tips

  1. Contact the removal company early in the process. The increase in documents and restrictions invariably increases transit times and the amount of paperwork that as a customer, a removal company will need you to complete. This means that you need to make contact with a, carefully chosen, removal company with as much notice ahead of the move as you can. Supply the documentation that they request as early on as you can. In particular, bear in mind that bureaucracy in local French town halls can often cause a delay.
  2. Don’t go quiet. It’s important to maintain a dialogue with the moving company and keep them updated on how progress is being made. The removal company will be a good source of reference during the moving process, so if there is anything that you’re unsure of - ask them.
    The main advice to take from all of this is that now, more than ever, it’s vital to select the right remover. An experienced and reputable removal company will be your best ally in navigating the maze. Calling on the services of a professional really will save a lot of heartache in the long run.

    Burke Bros Moving Group are an international moving company based in the UK, specialised in household (and vehicle) removals to and from France, operating services to and from all departments of France on a weekly basis.


First published: 1st July 2022