Reader Question: Am I permitted to take paint from the UK to France to use for renovations on my second home? I will be travelling via car and ferry.
You should not encounter problems when taking paint from the UK to France, as long as it is being used for your own home renovations rather than a commercial purpose.
The value of the paint must also be inferior to €300 if you are coming by car (including a car on a ferry) or train. The threshold is €430 if you are travelling by air or sea.
If the paint was worth more than €300 you would be subject to VAT at 20% on the total value of the items transported.
You may also have to pay customs duties of between 0 and 22%, unless the paint was mostly or fully made in the UK. If proof of UK origin is required, it can be in the form of a receipt or invoice from the seller, with information as to where it was manufactured.
Some UK paint companies will also ship to France, but as this would be a commercial delivery it would be subject to VAT at 20% as well as customs duties if the paint was worth more than €150 and not made wholly or mostly in the UK or the EU.
Ferry restrictions on painting products
If you are driving to France and taking the ferry, you should be aware that limits are often placed on the amount of paint and related products that you can carry with you.
Brittany Ferries states that: “If travelling with a vehicle, you are permitted to carry any amount of water-based paint in the vehicle, and up to a maximum of 10 litres of flammable paint.
“However, accompanying items such as methylated or white spirit are not permitted.
“Foot passengers are not allowed to carry any kind of paint.”
Irish Ferries told The Connexion that: “We allow flammable paint and paint-related material (maximum 10 litres combined).”
A DFDS spokesperson said that: “Paint is classed as hazardous goods so would not be able to travel in a tourist vehicle.”
We have also contacted P&O Ferries for further information on their policies regarding paint and related items.