Wednesday, March 11, 2009

French Customs and Tax Refunds

For up-to-date and detailed information on what you may bring to France (currency rules, entry requirements for pets, importation rules for variety goods, food products, vehicles or firearms), visit the French Embassy's website customs page.
Minors traveling alone must carry authorization for traveling signed by their parents. No vaccinations are required for entering France.
U.S. citizens who have been in France for more than two days may return to the United States with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For those who wish to bring more of France home with them, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It's a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the United States.

You can  claim you VAT refund--After making a minimum purchase of 175€ in the same store (sometimes purchases requested to have been done in the same day), ask the store for your detaxe papers. On this paperwork, be sure to request that your refund be applied to one of your credit cards (this can be done even if you made the purchase in cash). Fill out the forms before you arrive at the airport for departure. Be sure to have the forms stamped at the clearly indicated airport customs desks. The customs official may ask to see your purchases so it's best to have them in your carry-on bag. Mail the stamped forms at the airport (the store provides an envelope) and the refund process has begun (note - this is only if France is your final point of departure back to the U.S.).


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