If you are taking a vehicle into France this summer, either on holiday or for work, please make sure you are not liable for an on-the-spot fine of up to €135 for not displaying a Crit'Air (Air Quality Certificate) sticker.
The Crit'Air scheme covers all vehicle types including motorcycles and is designed to allow local councils in France to provide incentives for lower polluting vehicles and restrict the use of higher emission engines, either all of the time or specifically when pollution levels are higher.
Full details on how to apply are covered at the bottom of this article.
Your vehicle must display the correct category of sticker on the lower, right-hand corner of your windscreen in order to be compliant and the category is determined either by the Euro standard if it has one or the vehicle registration date if it does not. Each category has a colour from green (zero emission) through to dark grey for the highest polluting vehicles.
|Electric or hydrogen vehicle|
|Category 1 |
Rechargeable gas or Hybrid vehicle
Petrol - Euro 5/Euro 6 or registered after 1 January 2011.
|Category 2 |
Petrol - Euro 4 or registered between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2010
Diesel - Euro 5/6 or registered after 1 January 2011.
|Category 3 |
Petrol - Euro 2/Euro 3 or registered between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 2005
Diesel - Euro 4 or registered between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2010.
|Category 4 |
Diesel - Euro 3 or registered between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2005.
|Category 5 |
Diesel - Euro 2 or registered between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 2000.
Vehicles registered prior to 1 January 1997 are effectively banned where Crit'Air is enforced as no type sticker is available.
France has two types of environmental zones where Crit'Air is enforced.
|ZCR - Zone à circulation restreinte |
Vehicles must permanently display the Crit’Air sticker and certain classes of vehicles are permanently excluded from driving in such zones.
*The Central Paris ZCR only permits vehicles displaying E, 1 or 2 between 08:00 an 20:00 Monday to Friday. From January 2024, it becomes more restrictive and only vehicles displaying E and 1 will be allowed.
|ZPA - Zone de protection de l'air |
ZPA's tend to be much much larger areas than ZCR zones and a Crit'Air is only required during high pollution times and this is notified via public announcements.
It is important to note that the information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication and that other towns and cities may introduce zones in response to weather conditions and pollution levels and so please always check before setting off for the latest information.
|The start and end of zones are identified with these signs. |
|Any specific restrictions for a zone will be denoted on a plate beneath the zone entry sign. Additional plates may show specific dates and times when the zone is in operation. |
Applying for a Crit'Air Sticker
It is not possible to purchase a Crit'Air sticker in France for a UK registered vehicle and so you should allow sufficient time to order your sticker online prior to travelling.
The cost is a reasonable €4.61 (including postage to the UK) and you can place your order on the official site at https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/
Please be aware that there are third party intermediary companies offering to apply on your behalf and such charges can reach €20-30.
Choose the EN bubble at the top of the page unless you are fluent in French and then choose the tab for 'Vehicle registered abroad'
You will need to provide a scanned copy of your V5 registration certificate as part of the application process and provide some values from that document. Most fields as part of the application process are self-explanatory, but there are some translations you may need to be aware of
The website suggests to allow up to two weeks for delivery but there are reports that this can take as long as four to five weeks and so please take this into consideration.
It is always difficult to keep up with ever changing rules in countries we do not live in and the French system has the advantage of being a nationwide scheme ensuring more consistent rules for overseas visitors. Furthermore, their implementation is cheap for the end-user and thankfully valid for the lifetime of the vehicle and so you can pretty much effect it just the once as long as your sticker remains clear and legible.
If you are likely to visit France in the future with your current vehicle, you may also like to consider purchasing a sticker now even if it wont be used imminently. The cost is largely insignificant and you can leave it in your glove box in readiness.