Shipping to France From the UK
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As the world’s 5th largest economy, France is a leading global economic player. It is also the third-largest economy in Europe behind Germany and the UK.
The French are also leading consumers of services in the digital, educational, and travel domains.
With high-speed passenger rail, maritime ports, vast road, and public transportation networks, and efficient intermodal connections, the country is known for its world-class infrastructure.
For a UK-based ecommerce business looking to serve customers in Europe, France is a desirable market.
But, cross-border trade comes laden with challenges such as international shipping.
To help you navigate shipping to France from the UK this, this guide offers information on shipping services, leading carriers, and customs and duties.
Cost & delivery speeds for shipping to France from the UK
Are you looking for fast delivery solutions?
Or do you want affordable shipping options, even if they come with longer delivery timelines?
Is the availability of a sizable compensation cover an important shipping requirement for you?
Defining your shipping strategy will help you choose the right shipping carriers to partner with.
To help you get a sense of the variety of services available for shipping to France from the UK, the chart below compares shipping options from six of the top carriers: Royal Mail, UPS, FedEx, DPD local, Evri (The new Hermes), and Parcelforce Worldwide with costs and timelines.
The rates shown here have been calculated using each company’s unique calculator for a sample package of 2 kg. The value of the package was taken as 50 GBP wherever required. The prices are subject to revisions and changes.
Note: These are general options for consumers’ shipping orders directly from a carrier’s store. Rates have been arrived at by using each carrier’s specific calculator for a sample package of 2 kg in the month of July 2022.
To know what ShipBob offers when shipping to other countries like France, please request a quote here.
ShipBob’s exact rates for customers will vary as we charge an all-in ‘total fulfillment cost’ that includes picking, packing, and shipping, among other factors.
|Royal Mail||International Standard||£11.70||3-5 business days|
|Royal Mail||International Tracked||£12.40||3-5 business days|
|Royal Mail||International Economy||£14.25||~12 business days|
|Royal Mail||International Tracked and Signed||£14.95||3-4 business days|
|UPS||Express||£27.37||1-2 business days|
|UPS||Express Saver||£16.37||1-2 business days|
|UPS||Standard||£12.99||2+ business day|
|FedEx||International Priority||£117.55||1 business day|
|FedEx||International Economy||£110.92||3 business days|
|FedEx||International Europe First||£134.23||1 business day|
|FedEx||International Priority Express||£123.04||1 business day|
|Evri||Evri Courier||£12.72||3-7 business days|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalpriority||£26.95||3+ business day|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalexpress||£83.94||1+ business days|
|Parcelforce Worldwide||globalvalue||£19.65||5+ business days|
|DPD local||Air Express||£46.06||1-3 business days|
|DPD local||Air Classic||£39.65||3-5 business days|
Only pick-up service prices for Parcelforce Worldwide, DPD local and Evri are of have been listed here. The package size for calculation was taken as 45cm X 35cm X 16cm (L X W X H) wherever mandatorily requested i.e., Evri, Parcelforce Worldwide, and DPD local shipping options.
There is no difference in the costs for UPS and FedEx pick-up and drop-off options.
How to choose a shipping carrier
Choosing the right shipping carrier depends on a variety of factors.
For shipping to France from the UK, here is an overview of pros and cons of each shipping carrier.
Shipping to France from the UK with Royal Mail
Royal Mail delivers to 230 countries and territories worldwide.
When shipping to France from the UK, International Tracked and Signed, International Tracked, and International Standard all aim to get your package to the recipient in 3-5 business days.
However, the trackability scale and compensation covers vary for these options.
When to use Royal Mail to ship from the UK to France
For those of you looking to send documents or lighter goods of up to 2 kg affordably and reliably, Royal Mail might be the perfect fit.
There are no urgent delivery options available. But most solutions have reasonable delivery timelines of up to 3-5 business days.
Shipping to France from the UK with UPS
UPS has over 48,000+ employees working just within the Europe region to deliver goods efficiently. With a robust network and 45+ years of presence in the region, it has the capabilities to deliver to over 220 countries and territories across the world.
When shipping goods from the UK to France, UPS offers several competitive services.
When to use UPS to ship from the UK to France
Are you looking for cost-effective solutions but do not want to compromise on speed? If so, UPS may be the right fit for you.
It has several competitive solutions for both individuals and businesses looking to send packages to France from the UK that aim to strike a balance when it comes to cost, package weight limit, and speed.
Flat-rate solutions for small businesses, money-back guarantee, customs support, a large weight limit of up to 70 kg, and time-sensitive speedy delivery options are some more reasons that tip the scale in UPS’s balance for shippers looking for an enhanced experience.
Shipping to France from the UK with FedEx
FedEx is a global leader in logistics and transportation. It can deliver packages across 220 countries and territories worldwide.
For those looking to engage FedEx’s services when shipping from the UK to France, there are a few options, but they do come with a premium.
However, the speed of delivery offered by FedEx on this route is among the fastest across a range of carriers.
When to use FedEx to ship from the UK to France
If time is of the essence to you, you want to send a heavy package of up to 68 kg and like your shipments tracked reliably, FedEx would be a good fit for you.
FedEx options tend to be priced high compared to other shipping companies but FedEx account holders may be able to enjoy discounts of up to 40%.
Ecommerce businesses can also enjoy special solutions like FedEx International Connect Plus that bring added convenience, provide greater cost efficiencies, and offer day-definite deliveries.
Shipping to France from the UK with DPD UK
Trusted by millions of senders worldwide, DPD is a reliable name in the world of logistics. It can ship packages to over 230 countries and territories across the globe.
It has a strong network of over 6,000 drop-off shops within the UK.
When shipping from the UK to France, it offers both drop-off and door-to-door services. Also, all options offered come with full trackability.
When to use DPD UK to ship from the UK to France
If you prefer to know the shipment status throughout the journey and would like facilities such as knowing the hour of the delivery window, DPD would be ideal for you. In addition to this, it offers competitive rates and a range of solutions with door-to-door options as well as drop-off options.
To businesses and individuals that appreciate environmentally friendly endeavors, DPD’s efforts in the sustainability space would be encouraging.
Shipping to France from the UK with Evri (The new Hermes)
Evri is an international delivery company that can get packages delivered to over 190 countries and territories worldwide.
It has a nexus of 6,000 parcelshops and lockers within the UK. The timeline for packages delivered from the UK to anywhere in Europe is set between 3-7 business days.
Both collection and drop-off options are offered by the company for shipments from the UK to France.
When to use Evri (The new Hermes) to ship from the UK to France
If you are sending light goods of up to 15 kg and are flexible on delivery timelines but want your shipments tracked, Evri would work for you. The services offered are competitive and affordable.
Businesses can send bulk parcels by connecting Evri accounts to online selling platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.
Shipping to France from the UK with Parcelforce
Parcelforce Worldwide and its forerunner organizations have been delivering mail across the world for decades.
The company has robust capabilities in international shipping and has a network to deliver to 240 countries and territories worldwide.
It handles the delivery of over 490,000 consignments to France every year. Whether you are sending parcels to Bordeaux or Paris or even Lyon, your shipment is in capable hands with Parcelforce Worldwide.
When to use Parcelforce to ship from the UK to France
If you are sending an individual package of up to 30kg, want options with a mix of speed and affordability, and appreciate the availability of a vast drop-off network, Parcelforce Worldwide is a great carrier option.
While collected articles enjoy a higher individual package weight limit of 30 kg, parcels dropped off at a post office carry a maximum individual package weight limit of 20 kg.
Duties & taxes when shipping to France from the UK
All members of the European Union (EU) levy import duties and customs on goods imported from outside of the EU.
The UK is not a member state of the EU since Brexit. However, for the movement of goods unlike Great Britain, Northern Ireland is treated as an EU member state.
This implies that rules laid by the EU for trade with a non-EU member also apply to goods imported to France from the United Kingdom.
Customs’ duties vary depending on the description of goods and the country of origin.
In addition to applicable customs duties, France also levies a Value Added Tax (VAT) on all imports from the UK. VAT is called Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA) in France.
The French rules are based on EU regulations and a 20% VAT is the standard rate levied on goods. There is a reduced rate of VAT on some goods such as certain pharmaceuticals (2.1%), books (5.5%), certain food products (10%), etc.
For goods under the value of €150 ((£135), the buyer can pay VAT at the time of purchase from the online seller. However, this is possible only if the seller uses Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). Goods may still be subject to applicable customs duties at import.
For goods over the value of €150 (£135) or for purchases from merchants that do not use IOSS, applicable VAT is levied at the time of customs clearance itself.
There are some goods such as tobacco and tobacco products and alcohol that require additional excise duties. Import of these goods may also require additional approvals and permissions.
Once duly customs duties and taxes are paid up, the goods are released to the importer or importer’s representative.
Prepare to pay a brokerage fee in the event a carrier is facilitating the clearance of customs on your behalf.
France customs information
Once goods from the UK enter the French territory, they need to be declared to customs authorities as per the Combined Nomenclature (CN) classification set out by the EU.
Products are classified using a tariff code. This tariff code has information on applicable duties and other levies on imports, any protective measures, import formalities, other non-tariff requirements, etc.
Also, written declarations need to be submitted for clearance of customs. A Summary Declaration covering details of the goods is filed once items are presented to the authorities.
Additionally, the Single Administrative Document (SAD), also needs to be submitted. The SAD describes the movement of goods around the world and the goods themselves. It is an essential document for the trade of non-EU goods.
A company must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to submit customs declaration for imports within the EU. Customs regulations are subject to revisions and changes. It is advised to review the official French customs website before exporting goods from the UK to avoid hassles.
Prohibited items when shipping to France
To ensure the safety of its citizens and protect their rights, each country enforces a list of items that it prohibits from importing.
Additionally, some items may be restricted. These are items that are allowed in pre-defined numbers and with necessary certificates/permissions. Only select importers/organizations may be granted approvals for such articles.
In addition to these national lists, each carrier also follows lists of items it does not carry.
It would be wise to review these lists before sending items to a foreign country to avoid unnecessary hiccups.
Items you can’t ship to France from the UK
|Clocks and watches|
|Drugs, prescription, and non-prescription|
|Nightdresses and pajamas made of artificial fibers that are not fire-retardant|
Since these lists may change, it is advised to check the official customs website for the updated prohibited and restricted items’ list before shipping.
What ecommerce businesses need to know about shipping to France
Did you know that the French ecommerce market is the seventh-largest in the world and generate $66.9 billion in 2021?
Home to many top universities, an educated population, and a skilled workforce, France presents a lucrative consumer base.
Ecommerce consumers in France are proportionally more inclined to buy from foreign players than the average online shopper.
Here are some insights worth noting about serving customers in France as a UK-based business.
1. Prepare for a strong and competitive marketplace
France has a large population of over 65 million people.
It has a strong industrial base and many large-scale businesses. The country offers sophisticated financial markets, a contemporary business culture, robust intellectual property protection norms, and more.
France is also an attractive global market for foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. It was the ninth-largest FDI market in the year 2019.
There are over 28,000 foreign-held companies engaged in business in France. Additionally, as many as 29 of the world’s 500 largest companies are housed in France.
Some of the biggest international trade fairs are hosted by the French. This allows a business access to not just French but international buyers as well.
To a cross-border ecommerce business, these statistics can be confidence-inducing. Also, awareness of the French market being a strong global hub may come in handy when planning market entry strategies.
2. Online shoppers purchase on social media and smartphones
Sales on mobile phones and tablets are fast-growing in France. They account for nearly 40% of ecommerce sales on leading sites.
In 2020, things 48% of French consumers bought using mobiles were, groceries on websites (18%), fashion and apparel (15%), and general merchandise from online stores (14%).
A huge number of the country’s population can be found on social media platforms such as YouTube (49.6 million), Facebook (33 million), Instagram (24 million), WhatsApp (24.4 million), and Snapchat (24.5 million), etc.
For a cross-border B2C ecommerce business looking to capture the French population’s interest, it is not only essential to have a well-developed mobile-friendly website but to also have a social media approach with a content calendar in place.
3. Localize communication efforts
According to a survey, the French rank lowest in the European Union (EU) when it comes to English fluency and the official language of business here is, of course, French.
To win in the market, having staff or local representatives with French language capabilities is essential.
A possible way of building a presence in the market is liaising with local agents or distributors with native fluency in French. Owing to the geographical size of the country, you may consider getting multiple representatives in different regions for widespread reach.
Packaging and labeling of goods must be in French. Not just that, user manuals, offers, and terms of service for a product or service also need to compulsorily use French. Even invoices and receipts are to be in French.
For a B2C ecommerce business, it is also beneficial to include major French holidays in the marketing calendars.
While many holidays like Christmas, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day are similar to the UK, there are some holidays like Mother’s Day (the last Sunday of May) that are celebrated on different dates in both countries.
It is also important to note that seasonal sales (“les soldes”) have pre-defined periods for both online and retail stores. These are determined by the French Trade Law.
Therefore, a cross-border business looking for long-term success in this market must localize communication efforts.
Grow your business globally with ShipBob
Looking to serve customers across the globe?
ShipBob is a global omnichannel fulfillment partner that makes selling internationally accessible and affordable.
Selling internationally can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly. But with ShipBob, you’re given everything you need to serve customers across the globe while saving time on logistics.
We not only take care of picking, packing, and shipping your orders to France with a fulfillment center in the UK and other locations across the world, we also offer upfront fulfillment costs that include customs, duties, and additional taxes.
By partnering with ShipBob, you eliminate the need to manage retail fulfillment, logistics operations, and hire labor.
“While we’re based in the US, a quarter of our sales are international. It looks like international sales will overtake US sales in a few short years — so we are definitely using ShipBob’s international fulfillment centers!
We’ve found that there is consistent demand for our products abroad, and ShipBob’s ever-expanding global fulfillment network enables us to tap into that demand much more cost-effectively.
Currently, we have stock in ShipBob’s fulfillment centers in the UK, Canada, and Australia. We’ve also just begun moving into ShipBob’s fulfillment center in Poland, as we have customers in Germany as well! With new locations being added all the time, ShipBob will help us service customers in more and more countries around the world over time.”
Aaron Patterson, COO of The Adventure Challenge
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Shipping to France FAQs
Read on to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about shipping from the UK to France.
What’s the cheapest way to ship to France from the UK?
Royal Mail’s International Standard option is among the cheapest options when shipping to France from the UK. It aims to get the shipment delivered to the destination within 3-5 business days.
What’s the cheapest way to ship large packages to France from the UK?
For those looking to send heavy packages to friends or family in France, Parcelforce Worldwide offers competitive rates to ship an individual package of up to 30 kg from the UK to France.
For packages over this limit but under 70 kg, UPS offers options that are among the most competitively priced vis-à-vis other carriers.
UPS also offers flat-rate solutions for small businesses that want to send goods to customers in France from the UK. The options start at £10.99 and an individual package of up to 70 kg can be shipped using this service.
What’s the fastest way to ship a package to France from the UK?
UPS’s Express Plus and FedEx’s Europe First are two options that can deliver shipments from the UK to France as early as 9:00 am next business day.
Do I have to pay customs duties and fees when shipping to France from the UK?
Since Brexit, goods entering France from the UK are subject to customs duties. Additionally, all goods imported to France from the UK are subject to import VAT.
A standard 20% VAT is charged on all goods. Some products may attract a reduced rate of VAT such as Certain pharmaceuticals (2.1%), books (5.5%), certain foodstuffs (10%), etc.
Customs duties are calculated as per the EU regulations and are based on the description of goods and the country of origin.Some goods like alcohol, tobacco, etc. may attract additional excise duties. These may also require special permissions for trade.
What’s the easiest way to ship something to France from the UK?
Parcelforce Worldwide has a vast domestic drop-off network of depots and also allows shippers access to 11,000+ post office branches for drop offs within the UK. It also offers its users door-to-door solutions.
Additionally, shippers can choose services based on a range of delivery speeds from 1+ business days to 5+ business days.
These solutions can make it the preferred choice for those looking for convenience when shipping from the UK to France.