Motorists should plan enough time when ordering environmental stickers for trips to France

Motorists traveling to France are warned to allow sufficient time to order the appropriate environmental sticker. We take a look at what the air quality certificate is and the requirements for ordering a certificate.
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If you are planning to travel to France with a vehicle, we recommend that you apply for your environmental badge as soon as possible as it can take up to six weeks to arrive.

Currently, Paris, Lyon and Grenoble are the only French destinations running the program in their city centres. However, 22 other cities including Lille, Bordeaux, Saint-Etienne, Dijon and Toulouse can adopt the system so it is important that you familiarize yourself with the sticker and ensure you apply for the sticker well in advance of delivery.

If you are not familiar with the air quality certificate as it is called in France, below we provide an explanation of it and how you can apply for it.

What is Air Quality Certificate?


The Crit'Air program was introduced to tackle air pollution in areas known for high levels of air pollution and in the future may mean that drivers will be banned from using their vehicle on certain days. The air quality certificate is a sticker on the windshield that shows how much air pollution a vehicle causes. All vehicles, including rented and owned cars, trucks, motorcycles and coaches, must be on display when visiting Paris, Lyon or Grenoble.

The decals cost £3.60 (€4.18) each including postage and are available in six categories based on European Union car emissions standards, with the green Crit'Air decal for electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles and the Crit' Air 5 gray is sticker for those who cause a large amount of pollution.

Do I need an air quality certificate for a rental vehicle?

Many drivers hire cars when visiting France and it is the rental company's responsibility to ensure the vehicle has the correct sticker. Despite the responsibility that rests with the rental company, if a vehicle does not display the correct certificate, the motorist is likely to face a fine and a hefty administration fee from the company.

The simple solution would be to buy a sticker yourself, but as the license plate and document are required to apply, this must be left to the landlord. We recommend letting the company know as soon as possible that you intend to visit Paris, Lyon or Grenoble on your trip so they have enough time to purchase the correct sticker for the vehicle. Request written confirmation of your request so that if you buy a fake sticker, you can prove it's the rental company's fault.

How do I request one?

Air Quality Certificate

To apply for a sticker online, you need to know your vehicle's European emissions standard. For newer vehicles covered by the Euro 5 and 6 standards, this may be included in section D2 of your DVLA V5C Registered Keeper form. For older vehicles, you need to check when your vehicle was manufactured and the emission range on the Crit'Air website check over.

The RAC recently acquired an air quality certificate to test Crit'Air's system, stating stickers should be delivered within 30 days. Although the sticker was ordered on February 6th and received a letter dated March 2nd, it was not actually delivered until March 16th.

This delivery delay is of great concern to motorists wishing to apply for an environmental badge at least 30 days before driving, as it may not arrive on time, which could result in a fine from the French authorities.

Speaking of the concern, Simon Williams, spokesman for RAC European Breakdowns, said: "We hope French police do not fine anyone who has ordered a sticker and has email proof of it. However, motorists who fail to order stickers face a fine of up to £117, although we understand that in the early days police will be lenient, particularly with foreign drivers.”