How to open a branch of your business in France the easy way

Having the small but impactful word ‘Paris’ attached to your brand or business can do wonders for your marketing strategy. But it’s not just fashion designers who desire the mark of France’s capital city on their labels and business cards. Foreign investors from all over the world - especially traders in the European export/import industry -  frequently come to Paris to open a branch in France in order to stamp their presence on the French market.

Establishing a branch in a foreign country is a relatively easy process. As it’s an extension of an existing (parent) company it has no separate legal identity and reports directly to its parent company and as such the parent company is financially responsible.

Related article: Start A Business In France in 8 Steps

To open a branch of a foreign company in France, you will need help from a company formation agent who can sort out all the paperwork for you. The first thing they’ll do is sort out a registered office or premises in Paris (or any other French region you wish to do business in) and register the branch with the Trade Registry. They will help you to collate various documents which will need to be translated by a certified French translator. These include:

  • Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company.
  • copies of the Certificate of Incorporation
  • application to register a branch

To make sure the accounting side of the business is correct, the branch must also be registered for VAT (TVA in France) and a manager or director should be appointed to run the branch.

If you require a more permanent position in France, you also have the option of setting up a subsidiary instead – such as a SARL (limited liability company), EURL (single owner limited liability company), SA (public limited company) or SAS (simplified joint stock company).

Related article: What's the difference between a SARL, SAS, SA, EURL & Micro-Entreprise?

In these cases, the subsidiary’s capital is owned by the parent company but the subsidiary is an autonomous entity governed by French law. As such the subsidiary acts entirely in its own name with only general management by the parent company and in turn the parent company is not responsible for the subsidiary’s financial issues or debts.

If you need more information on company and branch formationregistering a new business in France, opening a bank account in France or finding an English speaking French Chartered Accountant, please click download our free guide below, and either call us directly on 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 or email us from our contact page and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.

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