Knowledge base

Which documents do I need in France?

Starting a business in France requires careful preparation and a thorough understanding of the necessary procedures and documents required by the French government. From obtaining a business registration certificate to paying social security contributions, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. However, with the right guidance, you can ensure that your business is properly registered and legally compliant from day one. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the essential documents that you need as a business owner to start your business in France, so you can confidently take the first steps towards building a successful business in this vibrant country.

Business Registration Certificate

Before you can start operating your business in France, you must register it with the appropriate government agency. The business registration certificate is the official document that confirms that your business has been registered. This document is obtained from the French trade and companies register (Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés, RCS).

Tax Identification Number

All businesses in France must have a tax identification number (Numéro d’identification fiscale, NIF) to pay taxes. You can obtain a tax identification number from the French tax authority (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques, DGFiP).

Proof of Legal Address for the Business

Your business must have a legal address in France, which is the location where official business correspondence is received. This address must be used in all official documents related to the business, including invoices, contracts, and legal notices.


ID or Passport for Each Business Owner

All individuals who own a business in France must provide a copy of their ID or passport to the French government. This is used to verify their identity and to ensure that they are legally authorized to start a business in France.

Articles of Association or Other Incorporation Documents

Depending on the type of business you wish to start, you may need to provide articles of association or other incorporation documents. For example, if you are starting a limited liability company (Société à responsabilité limitée, SARL), you must provide articles of association.

Initial Capital Contribution Certificate

All businesses in France must provide proof of the initial capital contribution made by the business owners. This certificate is obtained from the French trade and companies register (RCS) and confirms the amount of capital that has been contributed to the business.


Proof of Payment of Social Security Contributions

All businesses in France must pay social security contributions for their employees. To start a business, you must provide proof of payment for these contributions to the French social security agency (Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Maladie des Travailleurs Salariés, CNAMTS).

In addition to these essential documents, you may also need to obtain other permits and licenses, depending on the type of business you are starting and the products or services you will offer. For example, if you are starting a restaurant or other food business, you must obtain a food safety permit from the French food safety authority (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail, ANSES).


Starting a business in France can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is essential to ensure that your business operates legally and transparently. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a professional, such as an expert at FIRM24. Are you in search of more information expanding to France? Or would you like to incorporate your own BV? Schedule a free consultation with one of our advisors!

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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