What you need to know about exporting parcels to France

23 August, 2017

Looking up towards the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The EU operates as a single market and while the UK remains within it that means the benefit of free movement of goods for all businesses. So, if your business is considering exporting parcels to France most of the deliveries you need to arrange should be able to travel without restrictions.

Direct exports to France

Businesses handling all aspects of a delivery to a customer in France – i.e. the selling process, the logistics and the payments – are designated direct exporters. For e-commerce entities selling directly online to French customers, once business income reaches €35,000 then there is a requirement for you to register your business for VAT with the French tax office.


Goods being supplied from one EU country to another are technically called ‘dispatches,’ as opposed to exports. Dispatches between two VAT-registered businesses in the EU are not subject to VAT – however, you should charge VAT when sending to someone who is not VAT registered.


A Royal Mail survey found that the availability of free returns is a key influence in buying decisions for 77% of people in France. Consumers also value being able to track their delivery, as well as receiving an item in good condition. Businesses seeking to achieve high rates of customer satisfaction with French customers need to bear these service needs in mind.

Export licences

As the UK is currently within the EU there is only a small group of items that require an export licence for France – these include products such as antiques, certain chemicals, medicines and controlled drugs.

Currency issues

If you’re exporting parcels to France then – particularly given the recent fluctuations in Sterling – it’s important to fix your exchange rate at the point of sale. If the exchange rate isn’t fixed then neither is the price. Prohibitively expensive delivery is a big obstacle for French consumers (62% said it would be a barrier to purchase) so transparency on currencies and up front pricing is key.


Customs documents are not required for goods travelling between EU countries. There is no duty to pay on goods that originate from inside the EU and which are made from parts that are also EU sourced. If some materials originate from outside the EU but have been put into free circulation inside it then no duty is due on those items either. The only customs duties that may need to be considered for exporting parcels to France is where parts have come from outside the EU and haven’t been put into free circulation.