Motorists Warned To Leave Enough Time When Ordering Emissions Stickers for Trips to France

Motorists travelling to France are being warned to leave enough time to order the relevant emissions sticker. We take a look at what the Air Quality Certificate is and the requirement to ordering one.

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If you are planning on travelling in a vehicle to France, our advice is to apply for your emission sticker as soon as possible as it can take up to six weeks to arrive.

For the time being, Paris, Lyon and Grenoble are the only French destinations that run the scheme in their city centres. However, 22 other towns, including Lille, Bordeaux, Saint-Etienne, Dijon and Toulouse, may adopt the scheme, so it’s important you familiarise yourself and ensure you apply for the sticker with enough time for delivery.

If you’re not familiar with the Air Quality Certificate, as it is referred to in France, we give an explanation of it and how to apply for one below.

What is the Air Quality Certificate?


The Crit’Air scheme was brought in to tackle air pollution in areas known for high pollution and may mean in the future drivers will be banned from using their vehicle on specific days. The Air Quality Certificate is a windscreen sticker displaying how much pollution a vehicle produces. All vehicles, including rented and owned cars, trucks, motorbikes and coaches, are required to have one on display when visiting Paris, Lyon or Grenoble.

Stickers are priced at £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage and come in six categories based on the European Union emission standards for cars, with the Crit’Air green sticker given to electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles and the Crit’Air 5 grey sticker given to those that produce a large amount of pollution.

Do I need an Air Quality Certificate for a Rented Vehicle?

Many drivers will hire cars when visiting France and it is the rental company’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle has the right sticker. Despite responsibility lying with the rental firm, if a vehicle is not displaying the correct certificate, the motorist will likely face the fine and a hefty admin charge from the company.

The simple solution would be to buy a sticker yourself, but because the registration number and document are required for the application, it has to be left to the rental company. Our advice is to let the firm know as soon as possible that you plan on visiting Paris, Lyon or Grenoble on your trip to give them enough time to purchase the right sticker for the vehicle. Ask for written confirmation of your request so, if the wrong sticker is purchased, you are able to prove that it is the fault of the rental company.

How do I apply for one?

Air Quality Certificate

To apply for a sticker online, you must know your vehicle’s European Emissions Standard. For newer vehicles, covered by Euro 5 and 6 standards, this may be included in section D2 of your DVLA V5C registered keeper form. For older vehicles, you will need to check when your vehicle was manufactured and check the emission band on the Crit’Air website.

The RAC recently acquired an Air Quality Certificate to test Crit’Air’s system, which states that stickers should be delivered within 30 days. However, despite ordering the sticker on 6th February and receiving a letter dated 2nd March, it wasn’t actually delivered until 16th March.

This delay in delivery is very concerning for motorists who plan on applying for an emission sticker at least 30 days before their trip as it may not arrive in time, which can result in a fine of from French authorities.

Speaking about the concern, RAC European breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “We would hope the French police would not fine anyone that has ordered a sticker and has email proof of that. However, those motorists who don’t order stickers are in danger of being fined up to £117, although we understand the police will be lenient in the early days, particularly with foreign drivers.”