How to Register your Business and Company Address in France?
Eligibility; Documentation; Administration
When opening a company in a foreign country, you will need to establish a registered address. This can mean opening an office, warehouse, shop or premises if you intend to trade in the country or alternatively procuring a registered address to signify a physical presence in the country. you will have to choose the structure of your company, category, bank for the bank account and how much you want to deposit as well as the city wish for the creation of your company in Ile de France (Paris, Hauts-de-seine, Seine-Saint-Denis ,Val-de-Marne..)
01 Choose your Business Entity
EURL - owned by a single person and run as a limited liability single shareholder company.
SARL – which is the equivalent of a French limited company, or Ltd or LLC company?
SAS – which is a Simplified Stock Company; this type of company is ideal for foreign investors who do not want to become residents of France.
Branch – if you want to extend your existing business and register it as a branch in France.
Import/export – goods internationally, you will need to apply for an EORI number with the French Customs Authorities.
02 Know your category
Commercial or industrial: retail such as shops and factories; food such as cafés or restaurants;
Consulting and services; import and export.
Trades/artisan: art and crafts, building, manual trades and certain types of manufacturing;
Independent or freelance professional: working independently and providing a service for individuals or companies
"Don't Overthink, the Key is to just Start."
03 How much Capital Should I Deposit
• For a EURL, SARL or SAS, the minimum share capital has been reduced to €1 but banks require more than this figure to set up an account.
• The traditional share capital was 7500 euros but a minimum amount could be deposited of around 4000 euros. Please bear in mind that this is "working capital" and can be taken out of the account for use at any time.
• Your share capital will be unblocked as soon as the banker receives the Kbis: the certificate of your new company, which normally takes about two weeks. If you end up not going through with the company formation, then your capital will be returned to you immediately.
04 Incorporation of Your French Business
• There are various documents and evidence you’ll need to get together to incorporate your French company. You will need a completed application form, a certified copy of each director/shareholder's passport
• These documents will then need to be sent to various administrations including the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSE E), the social security office (URSSAF), the Caisses Sociales and Inspection du Travail if you are employing or recruiting staff and the Centre des Formalités des Entreprises or Chambres des Métiers.
• Once your documents have gone to all the right government departments, your application will receive all the official stamps that formalize your French company incorporation.
• In terms of timescales, incorporation usually takes up to two weeks from the time the bank account is opened (as long as all the paperwork is in order) and VAT registration takes up to two weeks.
05 And Voilà!
• When you receive the ‘Extrait Kbis’ (the certificate of incorporation) you will be provided with a unique 14-digit registered number comprised of a SIRET and SIREN number which is your company ID number that must be written on all official documents, invoices and websites.
• The SIRET is your 9-digit SIREN number plus a 5-digit code specific to your company. You will also have an APE (Activite Principale de l’Entreprise) or NAF code which identifies the main activity of your business.
• Once the Kbis arrives, your bank manager can activate your business bank account and your share capital will be unblocked. You will also receive a welcome letter from the tax office with a VAT number and tax officer contact details. Your VAT number starts with the letters FR plus a 2-digit code followed by your SIREN.
• If you wish to import and export goods internationally, you will need to apply for a EORI number with the French Customs Authorities.
06 Hire an Accountant
• French tax law and accountancy can be especially complicated when you’re from a foreign country. Instead of getting into difficulties, the best way to save yourself from trouble from the French taxman is to appoint a professional French accountant called an ‘expert compatible. They will be a regulated professional who is legally obliged to keep you up to date with all the tax laws and is held legally responsible for the good standing of your accounts. He can also help you with VAT returns and payrolls.