France Branch Office

A foreign company that wishes to establish a business in France can register as a branch.

  • The branch needs to present annual accounts to the Commercial Court in the same way as a normal company.
  • The branch needs to legalise its books of account
  • The parent company is fully liable for the liabilities of the branch
  • The branches representatives may be held jointly and severely liable for tax debts
  • Financial statements of the parent must be lodged at the Companies Registry
  • The branches obligations are the same as the parent, including filing VAT returns, employees returns and corporation tax returns, so there are few savings in administering a branch
  • Banks and clients may prefer dealing with a French company rather than a foreign branch
  • A branch is rarely ideal for substantial projects because the parent company runs the entire risk
  • Any public act by the branch, is likely to need ratification by the board of the foreign parent. A company that signs contracts in front of a notary on a regular basis, should incorporate for administrative ease
  • The Gérant is required to validate any acts with the directors of the foreign company, such as buying property, because a French notary will always be uncertain of the gérant’s mandate.

Requirements for registering a branch in France

  • A registered address in France is mandatory. Evidence of which must be supplied in form of a lease or certificate from an authorised landlord.
  • Parent companies must designate a representative for the branch office, who is responsible for over-seeing any duties carried out there.
  • A representative of the parent company in its country of incorporation will need to be specified in the French company registry
  • Needs a good standing certificate with the statutes translated into French
  • A certified translation, in French, of the Certificate of incorporation.
  • A certified translation, in French, of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company
  • Needs the Act of the Company (with Directors) naming a representative in France
  • The statutes need to be legalised
  • A document, such as a rates bill, stating that the company has the right to use the premises intended.

From a tax and labour law perspective, the French branch office will have the status of an establishment in France and accordingly obtain its own VAT and SIRET.

Documents required to register a branch

  • Certified translation, in French, of the Certificate of incorporation and the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the parent company (two originals and two translated into French by a court-approved translator)
  • Proof of address
  • Certificate of good standing from the foreign company register
  • Documents relating to the person empowered to act on behalf of the company - including declaration to the prefecture or commercial residence permit as appropriate
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France Branch Fees
  • Branch Registration - £1800
  • Registered Office fee - £1200
  • Chamber of Commerce or Artisanat, court fees, CFE, legal publicity - £440
  • Certified Translation of Certificate of Incorporation and Memorandum and Articles of Association - £400
  • VAT/TVA Registration - £560
France Annual Maintenance Fees
  • Registered Office Fee - £1200
  • Annual Return, Government Fee - Eur60
  • Directors Register Maintenance - £120