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Expanding your business to France: Everything you need to know!

Starting a business in France as a foreign entrepreneur can be a complex process, but with the right information and preparation, it can also be a rewarding one. Here are the main steps an entrepreneur should consider when taking their existing business from a foreign country to France.

Business registration

The first step in starting a business in France is to register it with the French Trade and Companies Register (Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés or RCS). This can be done by submitting the necessary documents, such as a business plan, proof of identity and proof of address, and paying the registration fee.

Obtaining a VAT number

Once the business is registered, the entrepreneur will need to obtain a VAT number from the French VAT office (Service des Impôts des Entreprises). This will allow them to charge and pay VAT, and to invoice their customers in France.

Obtaining licenses and permits

Depending on the type of business, the entrepreneur may need to obtain various licenses and permits before they can start operating. For example, businesses that deal with food or other consumer goods may need to obtain a health and safety permit, while businesses that provide services may need to obtain a professional license.


Hiring employees 

If the entrepreneur plans to hire employees, they will need to comply with French labor laws. This includes registering with the French Social Security and registering their employees with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Setting up a bank account and renting or purchasing a business location

To handle financial transactions, the entrepreneur will need to set up a bank account in France. This can be done through one of the country's many commercial banks. The entrepreneur will need to find a suitable location for their business, whether it be a retail store, office space, or factory.

Establishing a legal entity

The entrepreneur may choose to establish a legal entity in France, such as a company or a partnership. This will provide them with legal protection and help them to comply with local regulations.


Compliance with local laws and regulations

The entrepreneur will need to familiarize themselves with the local laws and regulations that govern their industry and comply with them. This will help them to avoid any legal issues in the future.

Good to keep in mind

The timeline for these steps varies depending on the type of business, the location, and the process of obtaining licenses and permits. Starting the process well in advance is recommended to avoid any delays or complications.

It's important to note that French business regulations are relatively strict and the process may take some time. It's highly recommended to understand the current business environment and to make sure all legal requirements are met. For this, it is useful to talk to one of our advisers at FIRM24! 

In addition, entrepreneurs should also be aware of the local laws and regulations that govern their industry and comply with them, in order to avoid any legal issues in the future. Finally, entrepreneurs should also be aware of the costs associated with starting a business in France, such as legal fees, accounting fees, and other expenses. It's important to have a clear understanding of the budget before starting the process.

Start now!

At Firm24 we are happy to assist you in expanding your business to France. If you need more information or have any questions, please feel free to schedule a consultation through this page. One of our specialists will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

Published on 6 July 2023
Adam Cambridge linkedin
Adam is our English content writer and studies International Business Law at Leiden University

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