Can I create a company in France if I’m a foreigner?

Registering your French company

Starting a company in France

The short answer is: Yes, obviously! However, you do have to meet certain requirements. In particular, there are two different scenarios: Foreigners who regularly stay in France, and foreigners who do not stay in France.

For foreigners who regularly stay in France:

These are those who can create their company just as any French person would. This doesn’t only concern those who live in France, however. Instead, anyone who belongs in one of these categories is concerned:

  • People part of the EU (European Union)
  • People part of the EEA (European Economic Area)
  • Those who have a resident card
  • Those with a long-term EU resident card
  • Those with a 10-year Algerian residence certificate
  • Those with a private and familial life temporary residence card
  • Those with a Competencies and Talents card

If you’re not in any of these categories, then you must have a resident permit explicitly allowing you to practice a Non-salaried activity to create your company.

For foreigners who do not live in France:

If you want to live in France, you have to get a long-residence visa from the French Embassy or Consulate of your country. This doesn’t mean you will automatically receive it, however! Whether or not you’ll be able to get a visa depends on the economic viability of your project, and its ability to generate more than the French minimum wage (as of 2018, the annual gross minimum wage is 17 982 €).
You’ll still have to get a residence permit specifically mentioning your activity 2 months after you arrive in France, however.

If not, you don’t have to declare your activity to the prefecture beforehand anymore. Since 2014, you can also declare your activity to the RCS, which stands for “Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés” (Companies and Commerce Register), or to the RM, which stands for “Registre des Métiers” (Jobs register)

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