After Brexit, many different rules and regulations came into force, some of which were ambiguous, and others unexpected. So not only has moving to live in an EU country become much more difficult in terms of visas, but there are also rules in place to limit what you can bring to your new or second home. Let’s explore whether you can take furniture to France and what other restrictions are in place so you can be prepared for your move. 

Living in Europe Post-Brexit

Since the UK decided to leave the EU in June 2016 and the finalisation of the split in December 2020, British people have lost the right to free movement across Europe and face restrictions on how long they travel for, how often and what they bring with them. If you owned property in Europe before the Brexit vote, you don’t have to sell your property as some people alleged during the campaigning, you can keep your holiday homes. However, British citizens can only spend up to 90 days within a 180-day period in the EU, so your time spent in your second home is restricted. 

If you want to live in the EU full-time, you’ll need to get residency in that country, which is easier said than done in some cases. You’ll usually need to meet a minimum income threshold or have sufficient savings to get residency in EU countries, but owning property will help your application as it removes the cost of rent. You’ll also need health insurance as you can no longer use European public services with your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). 

However, owning a second property for holidays and moving to an EU country like Spain or France full-time is still possible and a great idea if you love sunshine and great food. 

How to Move Your Belongings to France

Moving your belongings to France is easier if you have residency, as you can move house from the UK easily, without paying any import fees. All you need is proof of residency to show at the border. 

However, whether you have residency or not, you will need to fill out a customs declaration form with a full inventory of your items with a description of each and their estimated value. The estimated value should be if they were sold second-hand, not the price you paid for them when they were brand new. You should have two copies of this form, one for export from the UK and one in case you need to show it at French customs. 

You should also bring documentation showing the address you are moving your items from and to, as well as your tenancy agreement or proof of ownership of the property to make customs processing easier. 

If you don’t have residency, you may need to pay import fees when moving your belongings to Europe

Customs Declarations and Fees

You may need to fill out extra forms and pay certain customs fees depending on how you are moving your items to France (air, sea, land). So it’s crucial to hire a removal company with expertise in international removals or country-specific expertise, so they can ensure you have the right customs forms filled out accurately to transport your belongings. 

You don’t normally need to pay any import fees on your items if they are older than 6 months old and belong to you. However, it’s normal not to keep receipts for every single purchase, and it’s unlikely that the French border will query your belongings if you’re clearly moving house and don’t simply have several sparklingly new items in a van that look like they’ll be sold. The French border website specifically states that items must not imply commercial purposes. 

Can I Take Furniture to France After Brexit?

So, you’re packing up your house in the UK and moving to France with a moving company, or simply loading up your car with a few things to take to your holiday home for your comfort while you stay there. Naturally, you don’t have the receipts for many of your things as they’ve been used in your home since you bought them, but you still have a full dining table and chair set, or a sofa and armchairs – can you take your furniture to France?

Thankfully, yes you can take your furniture to France after Brexit, even if it’s a full set and you may think it looks like you’ll sell it, and you don’t have the receipts, you can bring furniture into the country. When moving bulky items like furniture, it’s best to hire a removal company to pack up your things carefully, transport them into Europe with all the necessary inventory and customs forms filled out correctly, and even have them stored safely if your property isn’t ready yet. 

When moving house abroad, it’s likely that you’ll have more than chairs and tables, but also other furniture items as well as clothes, lamps, books and plenty of other belongings, so it will be clear to any customs agent that you’re moving house, rather than transporting items to sell them. 

What You Can’t Take to France After Brexit

For some items, you’ll be given a personal allowance, so if you go over the number of these items, you have to declare them at customs and pay an import fee. 

These items include:

  • Cigarettes – 200 cigarettes
  • Cigars – 50 cigars
  • Smoking tobacco – 250 grams
  • Still (non-sparkling) wine – 4 litres
  • Beer – 16 litres
  • Alcoholic drinks with an alcohol percentage of over 22% – 1 litre
  • Alcoholic drinks with an alcohol percentage below 22% – 2 litres

Otherwise, when moving abroad, most of your personal belongings will be fine to transport, although there are some restrictions on certain items that cannot be imported at all, including:

  • Prohibited items, including drugs, counterfeit goods, or offensive materials
  • Restricted items, such as firearms, specific medicines, plants, and cultural or historical items

Offensive materials include those that relate to hate speech or discrimination, obscene imagery, illegal drug paraphernalia or things that may be a threat to public health or safety. 

When moving abroad with certain medicines, you should check the restrictions regarding that medicine, as some countries have different restrictions on quantities and types of products you can import. If you plan to stay in France for a while and need to take the medicine regularly, you should bring a letter from your doctor explaining why you need it as well as the prescription note with your name on it. 

Moving with Plants and Pets

Plants and pets also have restrictions on them so if you’re packing up your house to be taken by a removal team, they’ll let you know what you can’t bring when you fill out your inventory. 

If you have an unusual pet, you’ll need to check the official regulations for the transport of that animal to France as there are strict regulations to prevent the spread of animal diseases and stop invasive species from taking over areas of threatening local wildlife populations. 

Dogs and cats can be brought over to France from the UK, provided they have a pet passport, are microchipped, fully vaccinated and are given worm treatment. Other animals may face different regulations, so check before you bring your pet on holiday. 

Plants also face many regulations to stop the spread of insects as well as invasive plant species, so it’s better to give your plants away to friends and family and buy new ones abroad than have to dispose of them at the border. Check the specific regulations before attempting to bring any plants to France with you. 

Weston and Edwards – International Movers

Moving house to another country can be stressful with plenty of regulations to adhere to and potential fees to pay. So rather than trying to manage it all yourself, get the help of an experienced international moving company to move your whole house, or fill up a lorry with just some things. Weston and Edwards can pack up and move your belongings from the UK to France with no hassle.