Registering a company in France is a methodical process involving selecting a company type, choosing a name, preparing documentation, and registering with the French Commercial Court Registry and French Tax Administration. By following this guide and utilizing the provided resources, you should be well on your way to successfully establishing your business in France. Be sure to adhere to the requirements and guidelines to ensure a smooth registration process and a successful start for your company in this economically vibrant and business-friendly country.
Step 1: Choose your company type
The first step in registering a company in France is to decide on the type of company you want to register. The most common types are:
- Limited Liability Company (Société à responsabilité limitée - SARL)
- Joint Stock Company (Société Anonyme - SA)
- Simplified Joint Stock Company (Société par actions simplifiée - SAS)
- Sole Proprietorship with Limited Liability (Entreprise individuelle à responsabilité limitée - EIRL)
- Branch of a foreign company
Step 2: Choose a company name
Choosing a suitable name for your company is the next step. The French National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) provides guidelines for acceptable names, accessible at this link: https://www.inpi.fr
Step 3: Prepare the required documents
Next, assemble the necessary documentation for your chosen company type. The key documents typically include:
- Articles of Association (for SARL, SA, SAS, and EIRL)
- Application for Company Registration (for all types)
- These forms can be downloaded from the French Commercial Court Registry's website: https://www.infogreffe.fr
Step 4: Identify company officers and shareholders
You will need to identify at least one director (for SARL, SA, SAS, and EIRL) or one representative (for Branch of a foreign company). Directors or representatives must be at least 18 years old. Shareholders can be individuals or corporate entities.
Step 5: Capital requirements
France requires a minimum capital of €1 for SARLs, €37,000 for SAs, €1 for SASs, and no minimum capital requirement for EIRLs or branches of foreign companies.
Step 6: Register your company
After preparing your documents, you can submit your application to the French Commercial Court Registry. This can be done in person at the local Commercial Court or online via the following link: https://www.infogreffe.fr
The fees for registering a company vary according to the type of company and the amount of capital:
- SARL: around €40 - €210
- SA: around €225
- SAS: around €40 - €210
- EIRL: around €60
- Branch of a foreign company: around €210
Step 7: Register for taxes
After your company is registered, you must register for taxes with the French Tax Administration (Direction générale des Finances publiques). This can be done in person at the local Tax Office or online via the following link: https://www.impots.gouv.fr
Step 8: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain additional permits or licenses. Check with the relevant authorities and industry regulators for specific requirements.
The entire registration process, from preparing documents to receiving your Certificate of Incorporation, can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the complexity of your application.