Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in France. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare France to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Check name for uniqueness with the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI)

    Agency: Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI)

    Although it is not legally mandatory to check the proposed company name for uniqueness before registering a company, this procedure is included because legal consequences may follow if this step is omitted. The name can be checked online at http://www.boutique.inpi.fr/inpiboutic.

    A summary check is free of charge, but fees are charged for copies of trademark filings found. For an optional search of similar trademarks, fees are EUR 50 for three classes and EUR 500 for all classes.

    Less than one day (online procedure) no charge

    Deposit the initial capital

    Agency: Bank

    Within 8 days of the collection of all funds, the initial capital must be deposited with a notary public, the bank, or the Deposit and Consignment Office (Caisse des Dépôt). The initial capital is blocked during the registration period and released upon presentation of a K-bis form.

    1 day no charge
    * 3

    Publish a notice of incorporation of the company

    Agency: Newspaper authorized to publish legal notices

    This notice must provide the name of the company and its manager (gérant), share capital, the object of the company and registered office. The founder needs only a letter from the newspaper confirming the planned publication. The publication fee is EUR 5.48 (VAT excluded) per line of 40 characters.

    For most newspapers, the publication of the notice can be ordered online.

    Less than one day (online procedure, simultaneous with previous procedure) EUR 5.50 per line of 40 characters (assuming 30 lines)

    File a request for a company’s registration with the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)

    Agency: Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)

    The Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) handles all formalities related to the trade register in the court (RCS, Tribunal de Commerce), statistics (INSEE), tax authorities (Centre des Impôts), social security (URSSAF), labor (Direction Departemental du Travail et de L’emploi), health insurance (Caisse regionale D’assurance Maladie), unemployment insurance, pension, Employment Pole (Pole Emploi), and similar bodies.

    The company's Articles of Association and bylaws, lease, attestation of receipt of funds, documents concerning the manager, ad hoc forms, evidence of publication, and so forth must be filed in a single file. After receiving the request, the CFE must process the documents and transfer them to the respective offices and authorities. If the request is incomplete, the CFE has 15 days to return the documents for completion. The CFE automatically enters the information in the Registre Nationale des Entreprise (Répertoire SIRENE) and obtains identification numbers from the RNE: SIRENE number (Systéme Informatique pour le Répertoire des Entreprises), SIRET number (Systéme Informatique pour le Répertoire des Etablissements), and NAF number (Nomenclature des Activitees Francaises). The SIRET is used, among other things, by the tax authorities.

    Since the Dutreil Law, the CFE or the Commercial Registry can deliver a receipt for company creation (récepissé de creation d’entreprise) as soon as they have received the documents, so that the company can start operations without having to wait for its RCS number.

    The registration process can be done online via the Guichet Unique portal or Infogreffe web portal after creating a personal account to connect, unless there is a regulated activity (for example, hairdresser, butcher, Realtor or lawyer) requiring prior authorization not yet possible on the website for all regulated professions.

    Though the CFE does not charge the entrepreneurs for this procedure, 49.92 euros must be paid at the CFE to register in the Commercial Court.

    Less than one day (online procedure) EUR 49.92
    * 5

    Buy company books and have them initialed by the clerk of the Commercial Court

    Agency: Commercial Court

    Special accounting company books must be bought from the court or specialized stores. Inventory books are no longer required, but the company must purchase the minutes of the records and the ledger and have these books initialed by the clerk of the Commercial Court.

    The books have numbered pages or numbered sheets, both of which must be certified by the Commercial Court. If a book with numbered pages is used, the certification is made only once (when the company is incorporated). If numbered sheets are used, the certification must be made for the minutes of shareholders’ meeting. If an accounting book is used, the certification must be made once each fiscal year. Therefore, for practical reasons books are often used.

    In theory, it is possible to have an electronic minute book provided that the procedure to draft the document is secured (to avoid document modification once it is drafted). Such a solution is rarely used because a secured procedure has not been clearly defined and the commercial court certification is more complicated in that case. It is also possible for the company to acquire the book later, after it starts operation.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) EUR 30 for two books (EUR 15 per book) + EUR 3.12 stamping fee

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.