France Company Formation

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Company Formation and Related Services



Buying a European shelf company with VAT number

Whenever you need to start doing business immediately in a European country and you need a company with a VAT number, you don’t have to wait for the bureaucratic procedures.

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Partner Law Firms

We encourage you to contact our partner law firms in Bucharest: Rolegal and E&C, both part of our legal network.

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Tax Minimization Structures

BridgeWest is specialized in special corporate structures designed for tax minimization. No matter where you want to incorporate your company, you will need to consider how you can legally minimize costs.

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Open Company Branch or Subsidiary in France

October 25, 2010, 3:30 pm

Foreign investors who wish to incorporate a business may do so by establishing a brand new company, and going through the incorporation procedure or extend their business through a branch established in France. Foreign investment is encouraged in France, and entrepreneurs will benefit from a non-discriminatory environment. The process of French company branch formation is more complex then for an ordinary company, requiring more documentation. However there are many advantages to setting up a branch, France having a strong economical environment.

A French company branch does not have identity itself, representing an extension of the parent foreign company. Because this company does not have separate identity it is subject to all laws applicable to the foreign parent company to which is related. Before registering a company branch the foreign commercial company must file two copies of its articles of incorporation which should be translated into French to the Commercial Court. The foreign company must authorize a person to represent the company and carry out the incorporation procedures. A certified copy of this decision along with an act certifying the existence of the parent company and other documents must be notarized and translated into French in order to be accepted for registration with the Commercial Court.

In order to register a French branch of a foreign company there are some procedures to be taken care off. The company must have an address in France, where it will develop its business activities. The evidence has to be supported with a lease or certificate from a domiciliation company. Registering with the Trade Register of France is done through an application containing Certificate of Incorporation translated into French, Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company, also translated. The statutes need to be notarized, and the Trade Register of France has to submit a document certifying the company has the right to use the premises in which it is registered. The registration process is quickly completed, and the registration certificate is issued.

After registration the company comes to existence, but the incorporation process is not over. The company must be registered for VAT tax and obtain a statistical number. This is done through submission of application to the relevant Tax Authorities which must contain certificate of registration issued by the Trade Register of France and information on the branch company, as address, object of activity etc. If the company has employees they must be registered for Social Security. This procedure is completed through submission of information of each employee.

While the process is straightforward there are many hurdles that need to be surpassed, and much more documentation to be prepared and notarized, than for a simple limited liability company. Registering with the French Trade Register is usually completed in one week. Registering for VAT also requires some time, usually for days, but the application can be filed immediately after obtaining the certificate of registration. Setting up a French branch of a foreign company takes approximately 10 days, but the time period might vary depending on the object of activity of the company, accuracy of the documentation etc.

Set up a subsidiary in France

Setting up a company in France can be done as a subsidiary of the parent company. It has the same status as a regular Limited Liability Company, has its own share capital and the foreign parent company as sole or main shareholder.

Companies set up in France must have a unique name. It is advisable for the representatives of the parent company to verify the choice before initiating the registration process. This procedure can be done online and it is free of charge. It is a safe step to follow, as unpredicted situations and consequences may occur for two companies sharing the same name.

Before the registration, the subsidiary must have a bank account opened to host the minimum capital or shares. The certificate of the account is requested. In the same time, the representative of the subsidiary must publish a notice of the company. This should be confirmed by a letter from the legal journal.

To set up a French limited liability company, there can be between two and one hundred members (at maximum). They can be individuals or legal entities. Their liability doesn’t go beyond their contributions and they are not considered merchants. The limited liability company in France has no mandatory minimum share capital. This is stated in the articles of association and it is divided into shares. This type of company is suitable for small sized businesses and must be entered for registration at the Trade Register.

Open Business in France
We guarantee a cost-efficient solution for full company setup, bank account and VAT registration
Company Formation in France


Setting up a company in France can be done in a short amount of time and implies low costs.

Any person - no matter his or her nationality or residency - can be a director or a shareholder in a company in France. Shareholders of a Fren ... [More]

Lawyers in France


BridgeWest provides a wide range of legal services in France through our affiliated French lawyers and Law Firms in Paris and other major cities in France. We are mainly specialized in the main aspects of French Commercial Law, including Company F ... [More]