Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Air Quality Certificate?

  • The certificate is a round sticker that must be displayed in a prominent position on your vehicle. It is a secure document.
    There are 6 different types of certificates.
    Each certificate corresponds to a vehicle class defined according to air pollutant emissions.
    Older vehicles covered by less stringent emissions standards are not eligible for a certificate.
    This site is the official site for issuing Air Quality Certificates.

  • Air Quality Certificates are compulsory for:
    - vehicles driving and parking in restricted traffic zones as designated by the local authorities;
    - vehicles driving while temporary traffic restrictions apply, as decided by local Prefects at times when pollution levels are high.

    Local authorities experiencing acute pollution problems have the option to introduce restricted traffic zones that rely on Crit’Air certificates, for the purpose of reducing traffic and bringing about a long-lasting improvement in air quality. Once such a zone is established, the certificate is essential for driving in it. Crit’Air is first and foremost a tool for use by local authorities undertaking voluntary measures aimed at improving air quality.

    For more information about the arrangements currently in force, you can contact the Town Hall or the Prefecture.
    Information is also available at the Ministry website: https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/certificats-qualite-lair-critair#e5 [FRENCH]

    The restrictions in these zones apply to all road vehicles driving in them.
    Having an Air Quality Certificate affixed is mandatory, even for vehicles and purposes that are exempt from the restrictions applicable in restricted traffic zones or introduced on a temporary basis.

  • A vehicle retains the same environmental classification throughout its lifetime.
    Once acquired, the certificate is valid for as long as it remains legible.

    The ink and materials used for the certificate have been chosen to last as long as possible.
    When the vehicle has its contrôle technique (statutory routine inspection for vehicles registered in France), the certificate’s legibility will be checked and, depending on the result, a replacement may be required.

  • The Air Quality Certificate indicates the vehicle’s pollution level. The higher the number of the certificate, the higher the level of pollutants produced by the vehicle.
    Air Quality Certificates thus help, in the most heavily polluted areas or in the event of pollution spikes, to encourage the use of less-polluting vehicles and restrict the use of the most polluting vehicles, with the aim of reducing the impact on people’s health. For more information about the arrangements currently in force, you can contact the Town Hall or the Prefecture.

    Atmospheric pollution is a major health issue in France. Road transport is one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution [FRENCH], especially in built-up areas.

    The effects of pollution on health are well known: they may be immediate or long term (respiratory ailments, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.). Santé Publique France (the French National Health Agency) estimates that atmospheric pollution is responsible for 48,000 premature deaths annually (as calculated in 2016), which may represent a reduction in life expectancy of over two years. In October 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classed outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic for humans

  • The certificate takes into account local air pollutant emissions, principally the fine particles and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from vehicle exhaust pipes. These pollutants have a direct impact on people's health, especially if they live near very busy roads.
    The certificates are based on the “Euro” standards. These are European standards which set pollutant emission thresholds for new vehicles sold. These standards are periodically made more stringent.

    The certificate does not take into account greenhouse gas emissions, which are a global, not a local, issue and which do not directly affect people’s health. This issue is dealt with elsewhere.

  • Air quality certificates help combat local pollution caused by pollutants, including fine particles and nitrogen oxides, that are hazardous to human health (respiratory infections, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc.). The certificate does not take into account greenhouse gas emissions, which are a global, not a local, issue and which do not directly affect people’s health. This issue is dealt with elsewhere, as is the issue of insurance premium reductions and penalties.
    There is no correlation between fine particle and nitrogen oxide emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst greenhouse gas emissions are directly correlated with fuel consumption, this is not the case for fine particle and nitrogen oxide emissions, which depend to a very considerable extent on engine configuration and the performance of emission control systems (particle filter, catalytic conversion systems, etc.). It is, therefore, not unusual for a vehicle to be awarded different classifications for air pollution and for greenhouse gas emissions.

  • YES. Classification is the same across the entire country, but individual local authorities can determine the incentives, restrictions and vehicles concerned, according to local circumstances. For restricted traffic zones, road signs are put in place to ensure the scheme is clear to all users.

  • The Crit’Air vehicle classification is defined by the Decree of 21 June 2016, which sets out a list of vehicles classed according to their levels of atmospheric pollutant emissions under Clause R. 318-2 of the Code de la Route (the French Highway Code).
    The certificates are based on the “Euro” standards. These are European standards which set pollutant emission thresholds for new vehicles sold. These standards are periodically made more stringent.

    To see the Crit’Air classification:Accessing the vehicle classification tables [FRENCH]
    A simulation tool for finding out your vehicle’s classification is available here : Determining the classification of my vehicle

    Vehicles are initially rated by category (cars, 2-wheeled vehicles, light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles).
    Within each vehicle category, each vehicle is assigned an environmental classification, ranging from the lowest emitters of atmospheric pollutants (electric or hydrogen classification) to the highest emitters (category 5 and unclassified). The environmental classification assigned depends on the type of energy or fuel (electric, diesel, petrol, etc.) and the vehicle’s Euro standard (or, by default, the date of first registration).

    The oldest vehicles are not classified and are not eligible for an Air Quality Certificate.

    The Euro standard introduced by the European Union sets restrictive standards for manufacturers, who are obliged to put ever less polluting vehicles on the market.
    Electric vehicles do not emit any pollutants from the exhaust and thus have the most favourable classification.
    Vehicles with a combustion engine (petrol, diesel, etc.), which contribute heavily to air pollution by emitting particles and nitrogen oxides, are classed from 1 to 5, or even unclassified. In fact, due to tightening-up of the regulations, the most recent cars are fitted with more effective depollution technology (catalytic converters, particle filters, etc.) and are therefore less polluting.
    Vehicles using more than one source of energy (a hybrid vehicle, for example) are classed according to the pollutant emissions of their main fuel.
    Lastly, although the contrôle technique (statutory routine inspection for vehicles registered in France) enables the vehicle to be checked for any serious malfunction, including anything affecting the atmospheric pollutant emissions it produces, a more favourable classification cannot be obtained as a result.

    Retrofitted vehicles (i.e. with a device for treating pollutant emissions that was fitted after the vehicle was first put on the road) can be given a higher classification under the provisions of the Decree of 15 May 2013. The eligible vehicles are coaches, buses and lorries with compression-ignition engines, and cars or vans with compression-ignition engines that have been listed as heavy goods vehicles due to their pollutant emissions.

    For further details and to declare your device: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/bonification

  • The following offences are subject to penalties:
    o Driving in contravention either of the restrictions in restricted traffic zones, or of temporary restrictions introduced during pollution spikes;
    o Driving in a restricted traffic zone or when temporary restrictions apply, in a vehicle not displaying an Air Quality Certificate;
    o Parking in a restricted traffic zone (when it is active) without an Air Quality Certificate, if the vehicle is eligible for one.

    The penalties are a 3rd-class fine for light vehicles (a simple fine of 68 euros) and a 4th-class fine for heavy goods vehicles (a simple fine of 135 euros), in accordance with Clauses R. 318-2 and R. 411-19-1 of the Code de la Route.

  • The price of the certificate is intended only to cover the costs of issuing it, namely the setting-up and ongoing operation of the issuing service, plus the costs of designing, producing and despatching certificates and handling applications for them.
    With effect from 1 March 2018, the price of the certificate is €3.11 plus postage. This price covers the costs of producing and posting the certificate, including administrative costs. It is not a tax and the State does not receive any revenue from it.
    The price of posting is different for addresses outside France. It is shown on your order.
    The tariff for providing an Air Quality Certificate is set by the Decree of 29 June 2016, as amended by the Decree of 14 February 2018 in relation to applications made from 1 March 2018 onwards.
    In accordance with the General Terms of Use to which you have agreed, the prices for Certificates are those in force at the time the order is placed.
    Please note: rival websites (which are not connected in any way with the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition) offer to provide the Crit’Air sticker at a much higher price than the true price.

  • This site is defined as the official site by the order of 29 June 2016 concerning the issuance and affixing of Air Quality Certificates, which identifies the site www.certificat-air.gouv.fr as the only way to remotely submit Air Quality Certificate applications.

  • The Air Quality Certificate contains a number of security elements: microprinting, individualised QR code, etc.
    The certificate is also made in such a way that once stuck down it cannot be removed without tearing.

  • The QR code is a security technology recognised by the Ministry of the Interior. It contains non-personal, non-confidential information relating to your vehicle, as well as an electronic signature confirming its authenticity.
    It can therefore be checked quickly and efficiently.
    The QR code can be read on a smartphone via a free app.
    For further information about the QR code [FRENCH]

  • Different countries use different classifications. Having another country’s sticker does not therefore exempt you from the obligation to have an Air Quality Certificate when local regulations require it.

Do I have to use an Air Quality Certificate ?

  • Air Quality Certificates are compulsory for:
    - vehicles driving and parking in restricted traffic zones as designated by the local authorities, such as inside the périphérique (the Paris ring road),
    - vehicles driving while temporary traffic restrictions apply, as determined by local Prefects during periods when pollution levels are high.

    Local authorities experiencing acute pollution problems have the option to introduce restricted traffic zones that rely on Crit’Air certificates, for the purpose of reducing traffic and bringing about a long-lasting improvement in air quality. Once such a zone is established, the certificate is essential for driving in it. Crit’Air is first and foremost a tool for use by local authorities undertaking voluntary measures aimed at improving air quality.

    For more information about the arrangements currently in force, you can contact the Town Hall or the Prefecture.

    Information is also available on the website of the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition:
    https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/certificats-qualite-lair-critair#e5[FRENCH].

    The restrictions in these zones apply to all road vehicles driving in them.

    Having an Air Quality Certificate affixed is mandatory, even for vehicles and purposes that are exempt from the restrictions applicable in restricted traffic zones or introduced on a temporary basis.

  • YES. Having an Air Quality Certificate affixed is mandatory in the circumstances that call for it, even for vehicles with a parking permit for disabled persons or a mobility inclusion card. These vehicles are not however subject to the traffic restrictions.

  • Having an Air Quality Certificate affixed is mandatory, even for vehicles and purposes that are exempt from the restrictions that apply in restricted traffic zones or on a temporary basis.

  • This is because of less strict anti-pollution standards, meaning the technology is more polluting. The vehicle is not eligible for a certificate. It is therefore unclassified.

  • The regulations make no mention of this. Responsibility for purchasing the certificate is thus a matter to be agreed between the hire firm and hire customer.
    Any penalty applies to the person driving the vehicle.

I want to determine my vehicle's classification

  • In accordance with the Decree of 21 June 2016, the information about the Euro standard appearing in field V.9 of the registration document is used to classify the vehicle, the date of first registration being used only when information about the Euro standard is not supplied when placing the order.

    Our simulator enables you to identify the Air Quality Certificate applicable to your vehicle.
    https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/simulation.
    Please note that the sticker affixed during the simulation is shown for illustration purposes only and has no contractual validity.

  • The vehicle’s Euro standard is recorded in the “V.9” field on your registration document. If the field has been left blank, your vehicle will be classified according to the date of first registration

  • In field P.3 of your registration document you will find a 2-letter fuel (or energy source) code.
    This code corresponds with your vehicle’s energy source. It is used to attribute the corresponding Air Quality Certificate.
    In the simulation tool, this code appears in one of the energy “bubbles” when you hover your mouse over it for a few moments. Choose the “bubble” that corresponds to your code.
    A “Know my energy source” simulator available on this page enables you to quickly access your energy source.
    Our simulator enables you to identify the Air Quality Certificate applicable to your vehicle.
    Please note that the sticker affixed during the simulation is shown for illustration purposes only and has no contractual validity.

I want to apply for an Air Quality Certificate

  • You can apply for your certificate here (€3.11 + postage)

  • Retrofitted vehicles (i.e. with a device for treating pollutant emissions that was fitted after the vehicle was first put on the road) can be given a higher classification under the provisions of the Decree of 15 May 2013. The eligible vehicles are coaches, buses and lorries with compression-ignition engines, and cars or vans with compression-ignition engines that have been listed as heavy goods vehicles due to their pollutant emissions.
    For further details and to declare your device: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/bonification.

I have a problem with my application for an Air Quality Certificate application

  • Your registration document must be up to date and be sent to us as an attachment in pdf, png or jpeg format. It must not exceed 400 KB.

  • Please check you have ticked the “I’m not a robot” box and followed the instructions.
    This system enables orders to be made securely, so do please follow the instructions. If they do not appear in English, you can change the language by adjusting your browser’s settings.

I have applied for my Air Quality Certificate

  • After placing your order you will receive:
    - A confirmation e-mail (within 4 hours)
    - An electronic invoice by e-mail (within around 24 hours)
    - An Air Quality Certificate by mail (within around a 10 days)
    Once you’ve received the invoice, you’ll be able to track your application by clicking on the “Tracking my application”
    tab. The invoice clearly displays an image of the Air Quality Certificate that is being produced and the corresponding category.

    N.B.: This invoice should not be confused with the direct debit authorisation (which does not contain the Air Quality Certificate image but does contain the transaction reference). The direct debit authorisation means your application has been processed. You will therefore not be debited if your application is cancelled (for example, because of an input error).

  • Your certificate will arrive within 10 days after your application.
    You can track your certificate by clicking on the "Tracking my application" tab .
    You will need to enter the registration number of the vehicle concerned.

  • Each application for a certificate has a corresponding application reference number (1 per vehicle). This is a 14-digit number starting with the year of the order (16, 17, 18 or 19).
    This number appears in the confirmation e-mail you received, and also on the confirmatory invoices (top left) you received by e-mail.

    N.B.: Take care not to confuse these documents with the direct debit authorisation (which does not contain the Air Quality Certificate image but does contain the transaction reference). The direct debit authorisation does not contain the order number.

  • This image can be used as proof of your application and your vehicle’s classification until you receive your certificate in the post.

  • For a vehicle registered abroad, your certificate will go to the address you gave us.

I am experiencing a problem after applying for an Air Quality Certificate

  • Each time you make an application, you receive a confirmatory e-mail sent from noreply@certificat-air.gouv.fr. This e-mail usually arrives the same day
    If you have not received a confirmatory e-mail within 24 hours of submitting your application (remember to check your junk mail!), this means your application has not been registered. Your payment has been cancelled and you will not be debited.
    Please therefore submit your application again.

    You can contact us for assistance here.

  • Your application has definitely been registered.
    Processing begins within 24 hours. Within this time you will receive either a confirmatory invoice or, if applicable, information about a problem (such as an input error).
    Do check that this message, sent by noreply@certificat-air.fr, has not been sent to your junk mail (spam).
    If you don’t receive a reply within the above timeframes, please contact us via our form.

  • You can track the progress of your certificate application by clicking on the "Tracking my application"

  • In this case, please contact us here for assistance.

  • There is a delay in processing your request. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
    While waiting for your certificate to arrive you have the invoice confirming your application, sent by e-mail from noreply@certificat-air.fr.

    You can contact us for assistance here

I have a question now I've received my Air Quality Certificate

  • The Air Quality Certificate must be affixed on the front of the vehicle so that it can be read from the outside by enforcement officers. More specifically:
    - for cars, light commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, it is affixed inside the vehicle so that the front is visible from the outside, on the lower right-hand corner of the windscreen;
    - for motor-powered two-wheeled vehicles, tricycles and quadricycles, it is affixed to any surface at the front of the flat surface formed by the fork.
    Instructions for affixing your certificate are available on the "Affixing your certificate" tab.They are also on the back of the letter sent with your certificate.

  • Under the General Conditions of Use to which you agreed, no refund can be given in relation to your Air Quality Certificate, nor can it be re-issued. Please therefore submit a fresh application.
    The same conditions apply in the event of a windscreen being replaced.

  • Air Quality Certificates are produced based on the information you gave us.

    In the event of an error when applying, under the General Conditions of Use to which you agreed, no refund can be given in relation to your Air Quality Certificate, nor can it be re-issued.

  • Under the General Conditions of Use to which you agreed, no refund can be given in relation to your Air Quality Certificate, nor can it be re-issued.

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