Where do I need a Crit’Air sticker for my French car?

Vehicles in some parts of France require stickers to show pollution levels

It is not just French-plated cars that may require the sticker

Reader Question: I am a second-home owner and have a French registered car. Do I need a Crit’Air certificate and how do I get one?

Crit’Air certificates come in the form of coloured windscreen stickers that show the government’s estimate of the atmospheric pollution (mainly smoke, small particle and nitrogen dioxide emissions) caused by the vehicle.

A sliding scale operates from 0 (for 100% electric or hydrogen vehicles) up to 5 (for the most polluting vehicles).

The stickers are now obligatory for all vehicles (both French and foreign-plated) in several French urban areas where low-emission zones (zones à faibles émissions mobilité – ZFE) are in force.

So far, Clermont, Strasbourg, Lyon, Grand Reims, Grenoble, Grand Paris, Rouen, Aix-Marseille, Nice, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse all have these zones, and in theory you need a Crit’Air sticker to drive in them, even if only passing through.

The rules differ even within these areas with certain Crit’Air level vehicles able to drive in some places but not in others. Each city now has their own pathway to reducing the most polluting cars in their area.

All urban conglomerations with more than 150,000 residents are supposed to bring a ZFE into force by January 1, 2025, although many local authorities seem unwilling to do so.

Read more: 2024 MAP: Where are low emission zones in France and what are rules?

You are also asked to obey Crit’Air rules that ban vehicles with a high Crit’Air designation from certain areas, whether all the time or just some of the time.

If you do not drive in these areas, you do not need a sticker.

The penalty for breaking Crit’Air rules is a flat-rate fine of €68. However, hardly any have been issued so far because the system is designed to be policed by roadside cameras, funded by the government, and very few have been installed.

When fines have occasionally been issued, they have been issued on the spot by municipal police officers.

How do you get a sticker?

You can order a Crit’Air sticker at certificat-air.gouv.fr for €3.77 (the site is available in English).

Beware: there are a number of other websites piggybacking on this that cost more, as well as a number of scam sites.

Enter the number plate of your vehicle, the date it was first registered, your address, and pay for the sticker.

You should receive this within a few days.

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