Reader question: Can I post books from the UK to France?

There appears to be some confusion around the post-Brexit rules on sending books and other printed items between France and the UK - we break down the rules.

Reader question: Can I post books from the UK to France?
Posting books from the UK to France is still allowed. Photo by ISABEL INFANTES / AFP

Question: I’ve been told by relatives in the UK that Royal Mail is saying that books can no longer be posted to France because of Brexit, surely that can’t be right?

Brexit has brought in a host of changes to posting things between France and the UK.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period there are things that can no longer be brought into France without appropriate paperwork, and this includes sending things through the post.

Animal products such as meat, some types of fish and diary products cannot be brought in without veterinary certificates and this also covers postage – so for example posting a box of (milk) chocolates would no longer be allowed.

You can find the full list of banned items HERE.

Then there are certain items that are banned in all parcel types because of safety concerns – they include ammunition, lighters and aerosols. Lithium batteries are allowed provided they are installed in a device such as a mobile phone – full details here.

Also banned from being sent through the mail in all circumstances are counterfeit or pirated items, coins or live animals.

None of these lists, however, include books and these can still be posted from the UK to France.

The confusion appears to have stemmed from the British postal service Royal Mail incorrectly advising customers that books cannot be sent to France.

However, a Royal Mail spokesman confirmed to The Local that this is not the case, books can be sent from the UK to France and the Royal Mail advice page has now been updated accordingly.

You can find the full rules here.

Although books can be posted, there are other considerations to bear in mind – all items that are allowed need to be posted with a filled-out customs declaration detailing the contents of the package and its approximate value.

Customs duty applies in some circumstances, so if the sender has not paid this then you will unfortunately be hit with a bill before you can collect your item.

Member comments

  1. Didn’t think there was any doubt about this. Amazon UK and other UK based suppliers have been dispatching books from the UK to France uninterrupted.

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French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.