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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Set up a French company

July 28, 2010, 4:31 pm

The French business environment is created on the basis of a strong economy, with strategic fields and major investments and, being a member of the G8 group of leading initialized countries, France absorbs and encourages on one hand domestic company foundation and, on the other hand, foreign investments in the form of regular companies or branches.

In this sense, an important advantage for a foreign investor willing to set up a French company is that the state does not impose any specific restrictions, withstanding the same rules, regulations, rights and obligations as for domestic investors. When it comes to setting up French Companies, the most common business forms chosen by entrepreneurs are French joint stock companies (Société Anonyme) and French limited liability companies (Société A Responsabilité Limitée).


Preliminary activities before registering limited liability and joint stock companies in France

Each company set up in France must have a unique name and even though it is not legally provided, it is strongly recommended that the found members to verify the chosen name before registering, as unpredicted consequences may occur when two companies have the same or similar name. In this sense, the name’s uniqueness may be checked online on the “Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI)” site. The procedure is easy to be followed and it is free of charge.

A mandatory phase to be done before registration consists in opening a bank account, deposit the minimum required capital or shares, and obtain a certificate. In case of a company limited by shares, the minimum capital is settled in the articles of association.

The bank account remains blocked during the registration process.

The founders must deposit the initial capital within 8 days of the collection of all funds, either with a Notary Public, either by the Deposit and Consignment Office (Caisse des Depot).

Simultaneously the company's representative must publish a notice of the company and obtain a letter from the legal journal that confirms the publication. For this document to be issued there must be paid a fee of EUR 5.48, plus VAT, for each line of 40 characters.


Registering the limited liability and joint stock companies with the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) in France

The CFE is the competent authority in charge for all the procedures related to registering a company: statistics, tax authorities, social security, labor and health insurance.

This action required as an essential phase of setting up a company in France must be performed by the company’s representative who must file a request for registration. After receiving the necessary forms, the company’s representative must file the articles of association (which must be signed by all members), the capital deposit certification, the proof of publication, a document with the company’s structure and objectives, the addresses of the managing board, and the chosen headquarters of the company.

CFE will then send the necessary information to every office and authority in order to complete the specified formalities.

The company’s entrance into the Registre Nationale des Entreprise for obtaining the SIRENE (Systéme Informatique pour le Répertoire des Entreprises), the SIRET (Systéme Informatique pour le Répertoire des Etablissements) and the NAF (Nomenclature des Activitees Francaises) numbers are obtained automatically, as the CFE sends request to each office mentioned above.

The entrepreneurs are charged with a EUR 83.96 fee for this procedure of company incorporation in the Centre de Formalites des Enterprises. The entire process lasts about four days.


Buying company books in France

The French Law provides that each company activating in France must have a special accounting book, which must be bought from court or from specialized stores. The company books must be certified by the Commercial Court.

The company must pay EUR 45 for three books, plus a EUR 3.11 stamp fee.


Setting up a French company from abroad

Foreign investors can set up a company in France, obeying the same rules as a domestic investor, as there are no administrative restrictions for foreign investment in France.

Most of the foreign entrepreneurs choose to hire a special agent assigned with the company's representation, in order to complete the administrative procedures in France.

Any foreign entrepreneur willing to set up a company in France also has the possibility to form the company himself by registering his company online.

Another option often chosen by foreign investors is to acquire a ready-made company that responds to his needs.

Foreign entrepreneurs may also open branches or subsidiaries of foreign companies. This action is allowed only with the registration with the CFE and with the necessary capital provided by the parent company.


How long does it take to found a French company?

The entire process for setting up a company in France requires about 7 working days, as the registration at the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises is finished in 4 days, while depositing the initial capital, checking the uniqueness of the company's name and publishing a notice in the legal journal take one day each.   


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.

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Lawyers in France


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