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Do foreign cars need to obtain a Crit’Air sticker to drive in France?

You may need to apply for a sticker depending on where you are going

If you do require a Crit’Air sticker it is advisable to order one well in advance Pic: GERARD BOTTINO / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Do UK registered cars need Crit'Air stickers when visiting France? How would we apply for one?

For those not aware, Crit’Air stickers relate to vehicle emission levels and are used across a number of cities in France.

Depending on the emission level of the vehicle (shown with a colour and number on the stickers), restrictions on driving through or parking in certain areas may be temporarily, at certain times or permanently restricted.

For cars, the stickers are displayed on the vehicle’s windshield, and you must have one (instead of merely having applied for one) before you enter a restricted area.

The stickers are linked to France’s ZFE emission zones, a number of which have already been introduced across France, with more to come. You can find out more about the zones and plans for new ones here.

Read more: Map: See France’s low emission driving zones - and plans for new ones

Do foreign cars need these stickers? 

Yes, virtually all vehicles being used in ZFE zones, even if quickly passing through, need to have a ZFE sticker, regardless of whether the vehicle is registered in France or otherwise.

This includes electric and hybrid vehicles.

There are only very specific exceptions, such as if you own a certified classic car, where you do not need a Crit’Air sticker.

 Certain vehicles, such as those from before 1997 and motorbikes from before 2000, are not eligible to drive in ZFEs at all (unless classed as classic cars). 

If your vehicle does not have a valid Crit’Air sticker in areas and you drive in an area where one is required, fines could reach up to €450.

Read more: Why you need to remain vigilant about Crit’Air fine texts in France

How do I get a Crit’Air sticker for my foreign car? 

The process for applying for a Crit’Air sticker is the same for foreign vehicles as for French ones. 

You should use the official site to order the vignette and on this page click on the Véhicule immatriculé à l'étranger (foreign-registered vehicle) button. The website is available in English (there is a ‘EN’ option button at the top of the page).

You can click on the virtual stickers on the right-hand side of the website to see which classification applies to which type of vehicle.

You can also enter information about your own vehicle (on the left-hand side) to find out its classification, using information from your vehicle registration or date of its first registration.

To apply for the sticker, you will need some supporting documents, such as a scan or photo of your vehicle registration. 

The cost of the sticker is the same for foreign and domestic vehicles (€3.11), but the total cost of the sticker including postage for foreign vehicles is €4.61.

Delivery time for the sticker can take up to six weeks so if you are planning to use your car in France, make sure you order your Crit’Air sticker well in advance. 

You may not end up going to an area where they are needed but it is probably best to be on the safe side and obtain one so you are free to go where you please.

The stickers are a one-off purchase and the same stickers applies in all ZFE zones

Related articles

Crit’Air: Older cars in Toulouse can bypass rules with attestation

What penalties are given for driving in Nice’s low emission zone?

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