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What are the Rules for Moving Plants to France?

Apr 25. 2024

Article originally published in French Property News magazine, May/June 2024 issue 387

Question: I’m moving to France and would like to take plants – some in pots, some dug up from the garden – as well as seeds, bulbs and other gardening bits ‘n bobs. What are the rules with regards to bringing in plants to France?”

Answer: Following Brexit transferring plants from the UK into the EU has become expensive and requires a large amount of paperwork. Unlike pre-Brexit when plants could simply be loaded onto the removal vehicle and delivered to the continent, current DEFRA regulations require plants, seedling cuttings, seeds etc to be issued a phytosanitary certificate. This involves having soil samples laboratory tested to ensure they are free of pests.

Aside from the time and effort the process takes, costs are also an important factor in determining the feasibility of importing plants. Each inspection costs £127.60 for the first 30 minutes and thereafter £63.80 for every 15 minutes of an inspector’s time. With the inspection in blocks of 15 minutes for example, if the inspection took 41 minutes you would be required to pay for the full 45 minutes. Then a further £33.56 for each sample laboratory tested. If the samples are clear, you will be issued a phytosanitary certificate costing £25.52.

For example, for a single plant, the minimum cost is £186.68 assuming the inspection can be completed within 30 minutes.

We receive a large number of enquiries from clients about importing their plants, as part of their move to France. However, after gaining a greater insight into the complexities and costs associated with transferring plants, they are often rehomed.

On occasion, customers have trees, for example, that have sentimental value and after fully considering the costs and procedures involved- do opt to proceed with taking this with them. Bear in mind that if this is planted into the ground, a removal company won’t be able to dig them up for you and any roots must be bagged to avoid transferring soil onto the rest of the contents of the van. We are also unable to replant at your new property.

Whether you’re moving household effects only or are opting to take plants with you to France, it’s important to choose an experienced and reputable removal company and to make contact with them with as much notice ahead of the move as you can and maintain a dialogue with them.

Further information on inspection, laboratory and certificate costs can be found here

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