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Do cars with foreign number plates need a French Crit’Air sticker?

A Crit’Air certificate is a pollution rating which must be displayed on car windscreens in a growing number of French cities

The Crit’Air windscreen sticker is compulsory for all vehicles moving around certain areas of several French cities. Pic: Hadrian / Shutterstock

Reader question: Do I need a Crit’Air sticker to drive in France if my car has a foreign number plate?

Crit’Air stickers are compulsory for all motor vehicles driven inside the Paris périphérique and in several other French cities – and the rule also applies to foreign-plated vehicles.

The stickers are needed even if no pollution warning is in force.

Crit’Air certificates take the form of a round coloured sticker which drivers must display on their windscreen in cities including Paris, Lille, Marseille, Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Nice.

Read more: Where you need to have a Crit’Air sticker in France

Read more: Nice, Cannes and nearby towns bring in Crit'Air pollution car stickers

Further information on the restrictions in place in each city is available on the French government website.

The sticker displays a rating indicating the amount of pollution that the vehicle produces, based on its age and engine type. This ranges from E (Green) for electric vehicles with zero emissions through to five (Dark Grey) for the oldest and least efficient vehicles. 

Cars, buses, vans and lorries with a higher rating – normally four and over – will be subject to restrictions. 

For example, in Paris, vehicles with Crit’Air 4 stickers are banned from certain areas from 08:00 until 20:00 on weekdays, while driving a Crit’Air 5 vehicle is completely forbidden.  

However, in other towns and cities such as Nice and Cannes, restrictions will only come into force from 06:00 until 20:00 on days when there is a pollution alert. 

Not all vehicles are eligible for the stickers. Cars registered before January 1997, motorbikes and mopeds registered before June 2000 and trucks and buses registered before 2001 cannot be given a pollutant rating and therefore cannot be driven in these urban low-emissions zones at all.

How do I get a sticker?

You can apply for a Crit’Air certificate online by visiting this French government website, entering your vehicle’s details and paying a fee of €3.67 if you are based in France. 

For those with foreign addresses, the price will be around €3.11 plus international postage.

If you would prefer to complete a paper form and apply by post, you can download this here. Remember to include a cheque by way of payment.

For those who do not have access to the internet, you can purchase your air quality certificate from the mairie instead.

The certificate is valid for the length of the vehicle’s life. 

Motorists who do not display Crit’Air stickers where they are required, or who drive through a restricted zone unpermitted, could be subject to a fine of  €68-€135

Related articles 

Paris speed limit set to 30kph across most of capital

French government fined record €10m for inaction on air pollution

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