For sole traders, commercial and non-trading companies, registering with the "Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés" is the last stage in the creation of a company.
To register a company, the founder should take a completed application file to the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés - having first chosen the company's legal structure and taken the necessary steps prior to registering (i.e. the adoption of the memorandum of association of the company, received the agreement or authorization necessary for a regulated activity (see directory), established the address of the company's head office, etc.). The founder of a company who needs information to complete his project of creating a company, may contact both public or private organizations (see directory).
The founder of a company with a completed application file should then go to the appropriate CFE (centre for administrative formalities for companies), or directly to the Greffe (Registrar’s office of the Commercial Court) to file his request of incorporation.
The application file should contain:
N.B. The Greffe is able to inform and help the founder of a company to complete his registration with the Registre du Commerce (e.g. by supplying him with the list of supporting documents needed, etc.).
This information is exclusively directed to sole traders (one-man businesses), founders of SARL (limited liability companies), EURL (company owned by a sole proprietor), SA and SAS (joint stock companies), SNC (partnerships), sociétés civiles (non-trading companies), sociétés civiles professionnelles (professional non-trading companies), sociétés d’exercice libéral (businesses with a regulated and non-commercial activity)(refer to " Who should register with the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés").
At either the Greffe, or in an appropriate CFE, the founder of a company should ask for an application form and the list of supporting documents to enclose.
He should then deliver the completed file, either to the appropriate CFE, or directly to the Greffe in accordance with the "article 3" procedure, decree of July 19, 1996. For the latter, the CFE should be contacted beforehand (see the following).
The " article 3 " procedure
This procedure is free of charge: no other charges are required by the Greffe.
To use this procedure, follow these steps:
Contact the Centre des Formalités des Entreprises (CFE)
After completing the application form (MO, PO...), send the first page of the form to the CFE appropriate for the company:
Send the first page by registered letter with signed receipt; a cover letter informing the CFE that you are using the "Art. 3" procedure - filing a request directly with the Greffe for registration with the Registre du Commerce.
The first page of the application form can also be deposited directly with the CFE which will then give you a receipt.
Proof that the CFE has been contacted is then sent to the Greffe.
What is the Greffier's function?
The Greffier (Registrar of the Commercial Court) verifies the registration file and validates it. The company's registration is then complete. The greffier then sends the company a certificate of incorporation within twenty four hours (as from the date of filing of the completed application file with the Greffe).
Within three weeks, the French office of statistics (INSEE) allocates an administrative identification number to the company. This number will appear on the four certificates of incorporation with the Registre du Commerce, and will be sent to the company's founder by the Greffe as soon as it receives the information from INSEE.
If the file is incomplete, or if the proceedings and supporting documents do not comply with the regulations, the Greffe will send a letter notifying the applicant that registration with the Registre du Commerce can not be completed and asking the company to supply the correct information within fifteen days. If the correct information is not sent before that deadline, then the whole file will be returned to the company by registered letter with signed receipt.
What does registration with the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés confer on a company?
Registration gives a company a legal status, and to sole traders the presumption of trader status. Registration is completed by the issue of a certificate of incorporation (known as a "K" extract for sole traders, and "Kbis" extract for companies). This official document proves the legal existence of the company.
The certificate of incorporation is used by the founder of a company for all administrative purposes. Later modifications to the company should be declared within one month to the greffe. This legal obligation enables customers or suppliers, etc. to obtain the latest information on the legal status of their trading partners.
Service du Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés - Bureau n°616 - Rez de chaussée.