Crit air sticker

How to get a Crit Air Sticker quickly. Learn why you should never buy Crit Air stickers from unofficial sources. We have all the must have information you need. 

This article has the latest list of "Crit Air Pollution Zones" for France in 2024. 

The real price of these stickers is approximately £4.25 but unofficial websites are charging £24 or more for them and you get literally nothing extra in return.*

On this page we show you why you need a Crit Air sticker, where to get it from at the official price, how long it takes to get it, and where to put the Crit Air sticker on your car. We'll also show you how to recognise when you've entered a Low Emission Zone. (LEZ)

We give you a direct link to the Crit Air official website. Don't get them any where else!

Where to buy crit air sticker in UK?

It isn't possible to physically buy one anywhere in the UK but you can order directly online from the official French website. (It is available in English and they accept all UK Credit cards) The link to the French is a little further down this article. 

Main Points

• Crit Air stickers are required in certain areas of France: The Crit Air scheme is a vehicle emissions control system designed to improve air quality in French city centres. To comply all motor vehicles. even ones from the UK must display a Crit Air sticker when entering low emission zones. (LEZ)

• Crit Air splits vehicle's into six categories: They are ranked from the most polluting (Crit Air 5) older motorbikes and older less efficient petrol and diesel cars, to the least polluting (Crit Air 0) for all electric vehicles. 

• Crit Air stickers can be purchased online: They cost approximately €4.80 each (including postage to the UK) and can be purchased online from the official Crit Air website (Link to website below). I got mine direct from the official website to be safe. Not displaying one could result in a fine.

•The number of Low Emission Zones, are on the increase in France and throughout Europe, we show you an up to date list for France below.
Crit Air Stickers France

How to get a Crit Air sticker quickly?

If you're in the UK and wish to buy one quickly, there is no way of getting the actual sticker in your hand very quickly because they have to be posted from France. However further down in this article there is a section called "How long before your Crit Air Sticker arrives?". **

In that section it tells you exactly what to do if you don't have it before you travel. There is a clever trick that you can use that will allow you to travel without actually having the Crit Air sticker, as long as you paid for one online. 

So check that out below. 

We have all the info you need

Luckily for you here at Drive-France we delve into how to get a Crit’Air Sticker if you’re visiting France. Plus, you’ll know the regulations that govern it.

Get set to discover France’s emissions standards! Because if you are planning to drive in France, or any other European country outside the UK then, it’s important to learn about it!

Low emission zones France

Here we keep you as up to date as possible regarding which Cities have Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in France.

We can point you in the right direction if you need accurate information about any other European city. 

We have a business arrangement with the Urban Access Regulations* website, so our information comes directly from them. (*See details of their service and a link directly to their search facility below)

Now that global warming is being taken more seriously, wherever you travel in France you will not be far away from a town or city that wants to know your vehicles air pollutant emissions.
All the items you need to legally drive in France
Full Driving in France Kit

Current French Cities with an LEZ

Which cities in France require an air quality certificate?

Aix-Marseille-Provence
Annecy / Haute-Savoie - Emergency Scheme
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Emergency Scheme
Bordeaux
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté - Emergency Scheme
Bretagne - Emergency Scheme
Centre-Val de Loire - Emergency Scheme
Chambery / Savoie - Emergency Scheme
Clermont-Ferrand
Grand Est - Emergency Scheme
Greater Grenoble
Greater Lyon
Greater Nancy
Greater Paris
Greater Saint-Etienne
Grenoble - Emergency Scheme
Hauts-de-France - Emergency Scheme
Île-de-France - Emergency Scheme
La Rochelle - AR
Lille
Lyon - Villeurbanne - Emergency Scheme
Marseille - Emergency Scheme
Montpellier Mediterranee Metropole
Nantes - Limited Traffic Zone
Nice
Normandie - Emergency Scheme
Nouvelle-Aquitaine - Emergency Scheme
Occitane - Emergency Scheme
Paris
Pays de la Loire - Emergency Scheme
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur - Emergency Scheme
Reims
Rennes
Rouen
Strasbourg
Strasbourg - Delivery
Toulouse
So if visiting any of the above via motorcycle, car, motorhome or van you will certainly need a Crit Air displayed.

Crit Air Stickers France

They're part of the vehicle emissions control program introduced by the French government to reduce air pollution in France. The French have been suffering severe air quality issues recently and are taking strong action to try and reduce harmful emissions.

So the law was passed making it compulsory for all cars, vans, motorcycles etc, who wish to drive in a LEZ to display a sticker. 

Also called a Crit'Air Vignette, the sticker shows the level of air pollutant emissions from your type of vehicle. 

The colour-coded stickers placed on the windscreen of a vehicle, shows which ones are allowed to enter any particular LEZ in France’s major cities.

Basically if you have an old car that chuffs out fumes like a piece of old farm machinery, then they don't want you in their city centres!

Failure to display a sticker can result in fines, between €68 to €135 euros. The size will vary depending on the situation. While driving, make sure you keep the Crit Air vignette in clear view on the vehicle’s windscreen to avoid fines. If you're old enough to remember "Tax Discs" you'd place it in the corner of the windscreen like that.

If you plan to travel to France in your vehicle, it is important to purchase and display the appropriate Crit Air on your car. If hiring a car whilst in Europe make sure the car has one before you leave the car rental office.

You can buy the Crit Air online, and it is advisable to order it well in advance of your trip. They are supposed to arrive in about 2 weeks but you should allow three to four weeks for it to arrive.

During summer months (peak demand) and postage strikes it may certainly stretch the official 2 weeks timescale. 

If you are cutting it fine to order one, read the "What should I do if it doesn't arrive in time" section below. 

With a little preparation and adherence to these regulations, you can enjoy a hassle-free and eco-friendly trip to France.

The scheme was originally implemented in 2016 to combat the high levels of pollutants in the air, particularly in major cities like Paris. The scheme assigns a colour-coded sticker to vehicles based on their Euro emissions standards and other factors.

Crit Air sticker where to buy

Apparently it is possible to buy the stickers from certain shops in person whilst in France. Though it would be best to get one before you travel, because physically driving into town to buy a sticker, whilst not displaying one would mean you're breaking the rules!

Where to buy crit air sticker in France in person?

I can't actually tell you in which shops and where they are available to buy in person as I've never actually done it. Though I'm told that shops such as car dealerships and auto parts centres have them. 

Best option is buy a Crit Air sticker online. (See Below)

I strongly recommend you buy them in advance so you have it on your vehicle when you emerge from the Eurotunnel or roll off the ferry. That way you can enjoy your trip and not worry about it.

Crit air sticker application process

Online purchase method

If you are planning ahead for your trip to drive in France or any other European country, the best way to apply for the sticker is to use the crit air sticker official website

Although it is a French website it is available in English and if you follow the link below it should detect you're in England and automatically show you the info in English. (If it doesn't at the top of the page there is the option to choose what language you want)

The official website  is “https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/” and it has recently been updated to include most European languages to make ordering as easy as possible. 

They cost around £4.25 for British users via the official site. (Inc postage to the UK)

*Do not buy from unofficial websites, some of which are adding £20 extra onto the price. I could put a link to the websites doing it to show you, but I don't want to appear to be promoting them in anyway. Use the link to the official website below. 
Link to Official Websites
It is far better to use the official website above. Beware of 3rd party sites that charge extra and offer no extra value. Some websites are downright fraudulent. 
crit air sticker application

How long before your Crit Air Sticker arrives? **

Here I cover when you should expect it to arrive and how to get the crit air sticker quickly and what to do if it doesn't get to you in time. If you follow this process you can still travel without the sticker in your possession as long as you've paid for one. 

I'm not going to talk you through the process of actually buying it as the official site is fairly intuitive but here is what t expect once you've clicked the pay button.

1. You will get a confirmation email almost straight away but it could take up to 4 hours. (Check your Spam folder)

2. The invoice will arrive in a second email within 24 hours (again probably less). In this email there will be a tracking code so you can see where your sticker is in the postal system. 

What to do if it doesn't arrive in time?

If you think you'll need to leave for France before it arrives by post then you MUST print off this 2nd email and the invoice

The invoice email shows an image of your Crit'Air Sticker, so in the event it doesn't arrive before you leave for your trip, you can take it with you as proof of purchase.

The image will show the classification of your vehicle and that with the invoice will prove the fact that you've bought one. I can't guarantee you will not get a fine, (for failure to display) but it shows willingness on your part to comply with the law so you should be ok.

Just make sure you've given your full address and postcode (and added UK) and be very careful to give them your correct email address.

The Air Quality Certificate (Crit'Air) will normally take about 2 weeks to arrive by post, though it can take longer at high demand periods. (Summer Holidays etc)

Current Rules

The idea is to treat cars based on emissions not age. Some old cars can be low polluters and just because a car is new, it doesn't necessarily follow that it is efficient regarding the exhaust fumes it emits.

If your car is deemed so bad that it doesn't qualify for a sticker at all, then you simply will not be allowed to drive in the city during peak hours. (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm.)

These rules are to improve air quality, and reduce pollutants in major cities by only allowing the least polluting vehicles on the roads. Drivers are advised to adhere to these new rules and obtain the appropriate Crit Air sticker for their vehicle to avoid any penalties.

So, if you plan on driving in France post-pandemic, be sure to familiarize yourself with the updated Crit Air scheme and ensure that your vehicle adheres to the Euro emissions standards required for your car’s category.

Crit Air Categories

Crit Air Stickers France

Does my car need a Crit Air sticker?

Almost certainly yes, if you are going into any LEZ, and it's worth remembering that the number of these areas are being increased year on year. So much so that I get updates on the list of cities every six months to try and keep track of them all.

The implementation of these categories is relatively new in France. Introduced in January 2016 in Paris because of high levels of air pollution, they have now been adopted by several other French cities.

Initially the scheme was voluntary, but the Crit’Air stickers are now, meaning that all drivers must display a valid sticker on their vehicle when driving through certain areas in French cities. 

Drivers must ensure they have the correct Crit'Air sticker for their vehicle type. No excuses.

Low emission zones France map

Here is a low emission zones map for France showing the current locations, so you will know "where are the low emission zones in France?" For the "Live Version" visit the Urban Access Regulations website.
crit air zones france map

How do I know I'm in a LEZ

Shown here is what the road sign for a LEZ looks like and if you visit our French Road Signs page you will see many other French road signs that you should be aware of.
Clean Air Zone France

LEZ's in other European Countries

OK so here's the bad news, there is not one unified system throughout the entire European Union!

So your "Crit Air sticker France" isn't valid in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, etc, they all have their own schemes. (Yeah I know)

Only Switzerland uses the same system as Crit air sticker France, so if you're travelling through other countries you will need to get a different sticker for them.

If I buy a sticker how long does it last?

Assuming the Crit Air sticker is still legible, then it's valid for the lifetime of the vehicle. 

My daughter bought a second hand Toyota Yaris about two years ago, and it had one in it already because the previous owner had driven to Switzerland!

Crit Air Sticker FAQ

1. What is a Crit'Air sticker?

A Crit'Air sticker, also known as a Clean Air sticker, is a vehicle pollution indicator so authorities can easily identify what the emissions rating of your vehicle is.

It’s a government initiative aimed at controlling the levels of air pollution in several cities in France.

2. What is the purpose of Crit'Air stickers?

The purpose of them is to help improve air quality in cities throughout France. It is so high polluters can be denied access to urban areas, during peak pollution periods.

3. Who needs a Crit'Air sticker?

The owner/driver of all cars, motorbikes, lorries, buses, and coaches. 

4. How can I get a Crit'Air sticker?

Online from the official Crit'Air website or from authorized retailers in France. It is advisable to order the sticker well in advance of your travel date to allow enough time for delivery. (3-4weeks)

5. Do vehicles registered in France need a Crit'Air sticker?

Yes, all vehicles registered in France, including those with foreign registration, need to display one.

6. What happens if I drive in France without a Crit'Air sticker?

If you get caught in a LEZ without one, you will get a €68 fine. The fine can increase to €135 for larger vehicles that are more polluting.

7. When is the Crit'Air sticker system in operation?

Usually peak times 8 am to 8 pm, but this can vary depending on the city and location.

Summary

In a bid to fight air pollution cities in France have introduced a Low Emission Zone scheme whereby all vehicles must display a Crit Air Sticker determining its carbon emissions. Failure to do so will result in a fine currently ranging from €68 to €135 euros.

In this article we covered which vehicles need them, where to buy them from at the best price, where to place on your vehicle and how long the process takes from start to finish.

The scheme started some years ago and only covered Paris, but now as the number of cities insisting on them is growing rapidly, so only now it seems are UK drivers starting to realise they need them.

For our guide for driving in France see our driving in France see our checklist.

Police were originally advised to show leniency with the policy in its infancy but those days are long gone.

There are also complete bans in Paris from 0800 – 2000hrs on weekdays for the following

• Cars registered prior to 1997

• Motorbikes & Scooters registered prior to June 1st 2000

• Lorries, trucks and buses registered prior to 2001

The policy hopes to combat the rising cost of urban air pollution to public health which claims an estimated 48,000 lives per annum. As the pollution levels of the city are monitored the plan is to restrict the higher polluting vehicles at times when the air quality is at its worst. 

Paris has suffered with increasing smog levels and this move is seen to be more effective than previous short term measures of allowing free public transport and general vehicle restrictions.

Such measures are commonplace across Europe with around 200 towns and cities using similar schemes to control their air quality as best they can.

As those of you who have visited Paris before will know, the centre is very compact and rammed with cars and scooters, so there is a general weary consensus in the capital that this plan is necessary although some motoring groups aren’t best pleased and would like some amendments; in particular the scope for modified vehicles registered before 1997 to be allowed into the city.

British visitors should pay heed to the requirements if they wish to avoid the fines. As previously mentioned, the police have been instructed to show leniency as the measures were only announced in late 2016 but it shouldn’t be taken as a given that all you’ll end up with is a little slap on the wrist if you fail to comply with the regulations.

Hopefully most visitors will agree that an attempt to clean up the air of our major cities is worth the minor inconvenience of ordering a £4.25 sticker online and displaying it while you are abroad. After all, it’s really no different than displaying a UK sticker on your vehicle or carrying the other items required as we drive through France.

Whether this policy works or not remains to be seen but data from Berlin, which has had a similar scheme since 2008 has shown that it probably will. So this scheme isn't going away. 

The sticker lasts for the lifetime of the vehicle, which is a small mercy. Anyway I hope you found this useful.

Finally

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So I'd be very grateful if you could share this page via your social media accounts, to help me grow the readership, or buy me a coffee to show your support.

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