How long does a car take to clear customs?

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How long does a car take to clear customs?

How long does it take to get a car through customs in France? In this comprehensive guide, we aim to clarify the vehicle customs clearance procedure by elucidating each step and the associated timelines. Understanding this process is essential to avoid delays and unexpected costs.

A well-prepared customs clearance ensures peace of mind for any importer.

Let's move on to the practical details to help you easily navigate through this process.

  • Understanding the necessary documents for customs clearance
  • Knowing the methods for calculating customs clearance fees

Steps for clearing a car through customs

In this section, we will detail the various necessary steps in clearing a car through customs, from importation to obtaining the customs clearance certificate. Understanding each phase is crucial for a hassle-free and compliant customs clearance process in France.

Document preparation

To clear a car through customs in France, several documents are required:

  • Customs clearance certificate 846A : This document proves that VAT has been paid.
  • Purchase invoice : Indicates the purchase price and details of the vehicle.
  • European Certificate of Conformity (COC) : Certifies that the vehicle meets European standards.
  • Foreign registration certificate : Proof of ownership in the country of origin.
  • Proof of identity and residence : Required for administrative formalities.

Typical customs clearance timelines

The timelines for customs clearance vary depending on several factors:

  • Country of origin : Vehicles from the EU are generally quicker to clear (2-3 days) compared to non-EU countries (1-2 weeks).
  • Type of vehicle : New cars may require additional checks compared to used vehicles.

Jean Dupont, who imported a car from the United States, shares:

The process took about three weeks, mainly due to customs inspections.

According to French Customs statistics, the average time for complete customs clearance is 7 to 10 business days.

Cost of clearing a car through customs

Clearing a car through customs involves several costs, which can vary depending on the country of origin and the type of vehicle:

  1. Customs duties : Generally, 10% of the vehicle's value for non-EU imports.
  2. TVA : In France, VAT is 20% on the vehicle's value and customs duties.
  3. Administrative fees : These can include costs for document preparation, inspections, and necessary certificates.

For example, for a car purchased for €20,000, customs duties would be €2,000, and VAT would be €4,400, bringing the total cost to €26,400 excluding administrative fees. For an exact estimate based on your situation, contact our customs experts.

How to calculate the customs clearance price of a vehicle

To calculate the customs clearance price of a vehicle, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the vehicle's value : Use the purchase invoice.
  2. Calculate customs duties : Generally 10% of the value for non-EU imports.
  3. Add VAT : In France, this is 20% of the vehicle's value plus customs duties.
  4. Include administrative fees : These can vary depending on providers and necessary inspections.

Use online calculators to simplify this process, such as those available on the official French Customs website.

Avoiding common mistakes

For a smooth customs clearance, avoid these common errors:

  • Missing or incorrect documents : Ensure you have all the required documents, such as the customs clearance certificate 846A and the purchase invoice.
  • Underestimating the vehicle's value : An incorrect estimation can lead to penalties.
  • Non-payment of taxes and duties : Ensure all fees are settled before importation.

As Marie Martin, a customs specialist, points out:

Careful preparation and document verification can avoid most issues.

How to register a vehicle from abroad

Registering an imported vehicle in France after customs clearance involves several steps:

  1. Obtain the Certificate of Conformity (COC) : This document proves that the vehicle meets European standards. It can be requested from the manufacturer or an authorized body.
  2. Technical inspection : If the vehicle is over four years old, a valid technical inspection is required. This inspection must be done in France.
  3. Customs clearance certificate 846A : Obtained during customs clearance, this certificate proves that VAT has been paid.
  4. Request a fiscal certificate : This document, issued by the tax office, certifies that the vehicle is fiscally compliant in France.
  5. Registration dossier : Compile a dossier with all the mentioned documents, including the foreign registration certificate, an identity document, proof of residence, and a registration application form (CERFA No. 13750*05).

Paul, who recently imported a car from Germany, shares his experience:

The longest part was obtaining the Certificate of Conformity. Once all the documents were in hand, registration took less than a week.

Useful links

  • Service Public – Immatriculation
  • Douane française

Registering an imported vehicle may seem complex, but with proper preparation and a clear understanding of the steps, the process becomes much more manageable.

Need to estimate customs clearance fees?

In summary, clearing and registering an imported vehicle requires rigorous preparation and knowledge of the administrative steps and associated costs. By following the advice and avoiding common mistakes, you can streamline this often complex process.

Contact us today to simulate costs and receive personalized advice from our experts. We are here to help you navigate the customs clearance process with ease.

For additional information and answers to all your questions, consult our Customs Services FAQ. You will find a wealth of useful information to guide you through each step of your customs clearance process.


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