Starting a Business in France From Australia

Australian citizens are permitted to start a business in France. You may need the assistance of a company formation lawyer to register the by-laws of your company depending on the industry you wish to operate in.

To know more about starting a business in France as a foreigner, the eligibility criteria, the key steps involved, or other services we offer, reach out to us at Total Law. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    Starting a Business In France As An Australian

    Australian entrepreneurs or business owners who wish to expand their already existing businesses in France may not need to obtain a residence permit because they may not stay beyond 3 months.

    The reason is that France and Australia have a visa-free agreement that allows their citizens free entry to and from the countries.

    However, if you are an Australian business owner who intends to start a business in France and stay for the foreseeable future in the country, typically for up to 1 year, you must obtain an appropriate France visa that suits your business purpose in France. To do this, you can start a tech startup business in France after obtaining a Tech visa.

    France as a country accepts and encourages the idea of foreign investors coming into the nation to set up or expand their businesses. There are regulations and strict legal requirements that Australian business owners must fulfil to set up their companies in France appropriately.

    Before venturing into a business, you must choose the business structure that fits your enterprise, and its tax regime. You must also understand the market you are venturing into, make financial plans, seek funding, select your legal status, register your business and enjoy the benefits of starting a business in France.

    Our immigration team is here to help you start a business legally in France. Contact Us

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      Eligibility Criteria For Starting a Business in France As An Australian

      Australian business owners who wish to enter France to start a business must meet some eligibility requirements. Below are the eligibility requirements Australian business owners must meet to start a business in France:

      Long-Stay Visa

      You are required to obtain a Long-Stay visa before you are allowed to start a business in France. After obtaining a Long-Stay visa, you will be issued a permit that allows you to run your business and work in France. Besides that, there is a Business visa (if you are a non-Australian citizen resident in Australia) that may suit your specific venture in the country for a limited period, if you can contribute significantly to the economy of France.

      Residency Requirements

      As an Australian citizen who wants to start a business in France, because you are expected to carry out a long-term commitment, you are required to obtain a residence permit in France.

      This permit authorises you to stay in France and run your business; it is one of the simplest requirements needed for you to start and run your business in the country.

      Check Your Company Name

      Check the official website of Institut National de la Propriete Industrielle (INPI) to know if your company’s name has already been chosen by another business owner. The website typically bears the names of all French-registered businesses.

      Trademark registration is required if you wish to be the exclusive owner of your company name and logo. In light of this, you are guaranteeing that your company’s name and logo are exclusive to you.

      Regulated Business Permit 

      Before you venture into certain types of businesses in France, you are required to register your company with the appropriate French authorities after acquiring special permits. Some of the businesses and occupations with strict rules and regulations in France are vets, accountants, builders, hairdressers, and wine dealers.

      Bank Account 

      Australian citizens who want to start a business in France are required to open a French bank account. This account will be used to deposit your investment capital and carry out other business transactions while you are in the country. To register your business, you will also need a confirmation of your bank account.


      There are tax policies businesses are required to obey as arranged by the French government. Also, you are required to pay excise and customs duties on all the goods you import from outside the European Union.

      To be updated on the relevant taxes you are required to pay, it’s best to seek professional advice from immigration lawyers. Our immigration lawyers are readily available to help you be updated with the latest changes and how to navigate the France tax policies and payment systems. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online.

      Besides the above-mentioned eligibility requirements, there are additional criteria you must meet. You must:

      • Be 18 years old or above.
      • Have a French address.
      • Have a social security number.
      • Be qualified for the business type you want to venture into.

      There are several legal structures available for you to consider before you start your business in France. The type of business you wish to venture into will determine your choice of legal structure to adopt. They include:


      A company designed for small-scale enterprises is the micro-enterprise, originally known as the auto enterprise. The micro-enterprise is not considered a full-fledged business endeavour in France; it is just a tax status.

      The microbusiness needs to be managed by a lone proprietor. It is not permitted to trade shares or operate as a limited corporation.

      Entrepreneurs that choose this type of business structure are known as Entreprise Individuelle (EI). One advantage of this arrangement is that taxes are paid as an individual rather than as a business.

      The business turnover in 2 years for your micro business excluding VAT in providing services, selling goods and farming must not exceed €77,700, €188,700, and €91,900 respectively.

      Société par Actions Simplifiée (SAS)

      There are a minimum of two partners in the SAS. Assets or cash contributions to the business are both acceptable. Note that the shareholders must release at least half of the required capital for incorporation when launching the SAS using cash.

      After operating the business for 5 years, the remaining half must be released. In this structure, the partners have the final say on how the business is run. They can also decide to pay their employees either in cash or stock.

      The downside of forming this type of business is having to deal with too many formalities and pay hefty incorporation fees. The company’s statutes are also drafted through a thorough process.

      Société par Actions Simplifiée Unipersonnelle (SASU)

      Further legal flexibility is provided by the Simplified Joint Stock Company. The amount of turnover you have annually is unrestricted by the government.

      Any amount, either in cash or assets, can be used to launch the business. It is also required that you create articles of association and pay company tax. You have to keep a record of the invoice and pay yourself as part of this business structure.

      Shares of a SASU company are not allowed to be traded openly. Following the hiring of a managing director, the SASU firm is required to officially publicise the news in the media and the French company register maintained by the Commercial Court.

      Under this business structure, you can only pay corporate tax, if your company:

      • Has not existed for up to 5 years.
      • Has below 50 workers and less than €10,000,000 turnover.
      • Partakes in commercial, liberal, agricultural, or craft activities.
      • Is not formally listed on the market that is regulated.

      Entreprise Unipersonnelle à Responsabilité Limitée (EURL)

      This arrangement creates a single-owner limited liability company. In France, this is the smallest type of business that is recognised as such.

      You need to pay a registration fee and submit articles of association to open a business in this category. Additionally, a formal statement about your creation of an EURL must be published. You must pay €121 for this announcement.

      Société à Responsibilité Limitée (SARL)

      A minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 100 people can form this limited liability company business structure. The French government does not establish a minimum amount of money required to launch a business.

      Your company’s articles of association must be signed by each associate or partner. Although there are now only 100 shareholders and investors, this company model also permits the addition of more shareholders and investors. All current members must, however, agree to add new shareholders.

      You need to have a managing director, like the EURL. It is feasible for there to be multiple directors. A managing director is considered a majority shareholder if they possess more than 50% of the company’s capital.

      Whether you are a significant stakeholder will determine how much you contribute to social security. You are considered to be self-employed if you also possess the majority of the shares. However, you will be regarded as a salaried employee if your shareholding power is equal to or less than that of another person.

      French Business Visa Types

      Various France visas are available for Australian nationals and non-Australian citizens resident in Australia to enter France and carry out their businesses for a long time in France. The following are business-related visas that can grant both Australian citizens and non-Australian nationals resident in Australia entry into France:

      France Business Visa

      This is one of the types of France Short-Stay visas (Schengen visas) that is specifically designed for non-EU nationals or individuals whose countries do not have a visa-free agreement with the countries in the Schengen territory. This visa allows its holder to enter France and the Schengen area to carry out business activities for 90 days and within 180 days.

      Eligibility Criteria

      You must meet the following eligibility criteria for a France Business visa before it is issued to you:

      • Prove the connection of your trip and its purpose to the embassy.
      • Be a non-EU national.

      Required Documents

      To apply for a France Business Visa, you are required to provide the following documents:

      • Two passport-sized photographs that are in line with the demands of France visa photo guidelines.
      • Filled out the France Business visa application form.
      • Your valid Australian international passport. It must be valid for 3 more months beyond the validity of your Business visa and should have at least 2 blank pages where your visa will be affixed.
      • Medical health insurance worth €30,000.
      • Older visa copies. Get old visa copies that have granted you entry into other countries into other countries in the past.
      • Evidence of paid visa fees.
      • Round-trip flight itinerary.
      • An invitation from a French company (if applicable).
      • Evidence of sufficient funds.
      • Proof of accommodation.
      • Evidence of having no criminal history in Australia. Present a National Police Certificate as proof.
      • Evidence of a previous business between two companies (if necessary).
      • Certificate from your employer describing your purpose of entering France and the venue of your conference, or meeting.
      • Bank statement of the business in the last 6 months.
      • Statement of the coverage of your expenses by your company or its partner.
      • Entry cards at fairs or congresses

      How to Apply for France Business Visa

      You need to apply for a France visa following a particular step-by-step guide. It is:

      • Complete an online visa form at the website of the French embassy.
      • You will be shown all the required documents for your application. Therefore, ensure you bring all those documents.
      • Complete your Schengen visa form online, get 2 copies of it and sign them.
      • Fix an appointment at the closest VFS Global centre in your Australian residence.
      • Attend the France Business Visa interview and submit your documents.
      • Pay all your application fees.

      Long-Stay Visa

      This is a France visa designed for self-employed people in a regulated liberal profession. This Long-Stay visa has a validity of up to 1 year, and within 15 days of your entry into France, you must validate the visa. The category of people this visa suits are individuals in the technical, artistic, medical, legal and teaching fields.

      Eligibility Criteria

      Before you apply for the France Long-Stay visa designed for self-employed professionals, you must meet the below eligibility criteria:

      • You must prove that you have appropriate qualifications as an expert in your sector.
      • You must prove your business viability and how beneficial it will be to the French economy.
      • You should have an annual income of €20,814.73.

      Required Documents

      The following are the documents you are required to provide while applying for the Long-Stay visa:

      • Your completed and signed visa application form.
      • Valid passport.
      • Medical health insurance (a minimum of €30,000).
      • Two passport-sized photographs.
      • Proof of professional background and credentials pertinent to the venture you wish to launch.
      • Proof of accommodation.
      • Birth and marriage certificates if you are travelling with dependents.
      • National Police Certificate as proof of having no criminal record in Australia.
      • Bank statement of at least €20,814.73.

      How to Apply for a Long-Stay Visa

      Take the following steps to apply for a Long-Stay visa as an Australian citizen or resident:

      • Visit the website of the French embassy and complete an online form.
      • Fix an appointment at the closest VFS Global centre in your residence.
      • Pay your visa fees.
      • Go to the appointment with your documents and submit your biometric information.
      • Await your visa application decision.

      Our immigration team can help you in the process of starting a business in France. Contact Us

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        Starting a Business in France From Australia: Step By Step

        Australian citizens must take the following steps on how to start a business in France:

        Step 1. Choose Any of the France Visa 

        You must obtain a residence permit in France before you can start a business, therefore, you need a visa to enter the country.

        Step 2. Select a Business Category

        You can choose from the 4 kinds of businesses in France. They include:

        • Commercial or industrial category designed for individuals who are into retail and rental services.
        • Agricultural category.
        • Independent or freelance professional category designed for people who provide intellectual services, web designers, remote workers etc.
        • The trade or artisan category designed for people who deal in menial jobs, crafts and construction.

        Step 3: Enrol Your Business

        All the businesses in France have a specific registration centre that registers new businesses. They also accept online company registration in France. They include:

        • Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (CCI). Registers the commercial business category.
        • Chambre d’agriculture. Registers agricultural businesses.
        • URSSAF. Registers businesses offering intellectual services.
        • Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat (CMA). Registers craftspersons.
        • Les Greffes des Tribunaux de Commerce. Registers companies of regulated professionals.

        Step 4. Be Qualified for the Business

        You must be certified to run your business in France, if you are under a regulated profession, such as builders, architects, lawyers, medical professionals etc.

        Step 5: Obtain Siret and Siren Numbers

        You will get a document called Extrait Kbis, to confirm your business registration after it has been registered with the relevant centre. The document will bear the Siret and Siren numbers of your business.

        These numbers will help your clients and French authorities to identify you. Your company’s Siren number is unchanging, whereas you must change your Siret number whenever you change your business location. You will also be issued a NAF or APE code which describes the activity of your business.

        Step 6: Choose Your Business Name

        Before you choose your business name, you must check online at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) to verify whether it has been chosen by another business owner. Then register your preferred business name and logo with INPI. If you fail to register it with INPI, you will not have a legal right over it if another business starts using it in the future.

        How Our Team at Total Law Can Help You

        Whether you are an Australian citizen or a foreign national resident in Australia, you are permitted to enter France and start a business of your choice. The most important thing is that you get a France visa type that best suits your aim of starting a business in France.

        Besides that, you must meet all the requirements of the France visa and also be eligible to set up a business in France. Typically, there are several documents you must provide in the rigorous process of starting a business in France.

        Additionally, going through these processes will be overwhelming for you if you are applying for the first time. We advise that you seek expert guidance in this journey of starting your business in France.

        Our immigration lawyers at Total Law are experienced professionals in all French immigration-related matters. We can equally guide you in what you must do to start your business hassle-free.

        For more information about starting a business in France, the eligibility criteria, costs or other services we offer, Total Law can help. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Yes, as a foreigner, you can start a business in France, provided you meet the requirements and register a business address in the country.

                  Yes, you can live in France if you buy a business, provided you obtain an appropriate visa and get a residence permit to live in France.