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The benefits of French Flag Registry!

The French Flag RIF is the French registry for commercial vessels and commercial yachts.
Within the framework of harmonising community policies, reinforcing maritime safety and security, developing competitiveness of shipping companies and maritime employment, a register for overseas commercial vessels, international cabotage and commercial yachts more than 24 metres l overall length, the law of 3 May 2005 was created (consolidated text).

Commercial vessels under the French Flag are in the "white list" of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding [1], thereby confirming the quality of French vessels regarding compliance with international safety standards.

Beyond tax benefits and comprehensive social protection, the French Flag is the modern symbol of France’s commitment to respect for the concept of a "substantial link" between the vessel and the State as proclaimed by the Montego Bay Convention.

Using the Guichet Unique andwith a team involved in developing the fleet, the French Flag offers a registration process which is attractive for commercial vessels and commercial yachts.

The benefits of the French Flag RIF

  • a EU register;
  • a register that offers all the guarantees related to the safety and security of vessels;
  • quick and simple administrative procedures: one single contact within the French Flag RIF’s Guichet Unique for all your procedures related to customs or maritime affairs, also ensuring support for shipping companies in their other relations with the French government authorities, reduced mortgage fees, formalities that are free of charge (the shipping company just pays the inspectors’ overseas travel costs);
  • tax measures or exemptions:
    • exemption from VAT and customs duties on the vessel upon import, the goods for victualling and domestic tax, on petroleum products, on deliveries of goods aimed for incorporation into the vessel and on maintenance, conversion, repair, chartering and hiring operations;
    • exemption from the annual registration under the French Flag and sailing fee;
    • for crews resident in France: employer contributions reduced to 11.6% (instead of 35.6%) under the sailor social protection system - ENIM;
    • for crews resident abroad: social security of the country of residence country in accordance with community regulations;
  • benefits for the crew:
    • full exemption from income tax for sailors fiscally resident in France and who are at sea for more than 183 days out of twelve consecutive months;
    • validation of services with the sailors’ social system covering risks of illness, occupational accidents and retirement contributions;
    • validation of sailing time in order to obtain or maintain STCW certificates;
  • one requirement: a crew made up of 25% of Community nationals.

View the brochure on the benefits of the French Flag RIF

The Guichet Unique: follow the guide

The Guichet Unique is the special point of contact for shipping companies and agents for any transactions or questions regarding the French Flag or the management of vessels and their crews. It brings together the administrative divisions of Customs and Maritime Affairs in one single office.
The Guichet Unique provides you with a personalised welcome point for easy management of administrative measures for all your vessel’s registration formalities and the formalities under the French Flag.
A dynamic team is ready to listen to you, do not hesitate to contact them.

The safety of vessels mattes to us: it’s a public service issue

The Maritime Affairs departments provide all the safety inspections and reviews.
A person dedicated to safety with the team at the Guichet Unique will be your direct contact. Your vessel’s eligibility inspection will be carried out as quickly as possible and will be free of charge (apart from travel costs if a trip outside of France is involved). The French Maritime Authority recognises the following classification societies: Bureau Veritas, Det Norske Veritas, the Germanischer Lloyd’s and the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.

Contact us and cast off!

To start up do not hesitate to involve us in your project as soon as possible.
Get contact details for the French Flag RIF’s Guichet Unique.


[1Paris Memorandum of Understanding
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding brings together 22 maritime administration authorities and covers the waters around the coasts of Europe and the North Atlantic basin, from North America to Europe. Its aim is to eliminate sub-standard vessels through its controls and inspections by the State of the port.

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