France - Societe a Responsabilite Limitee (Sarl) Company Formation
A French Société à Responsabilité Limitée (Sàrl) is equivalent to a Limited Liability Company in the UK or a GmbH in Austria and Germany in that it is a legal entity which is separate and distinct from the individuals who run it. For sole traders and for people in partnerships, the individuals’ personal assets are at risk if there is a claim against the organisation but shareholders in a Sàrl are liable to lose only the value of the share capital to which they subscribe.
France is very liberal about which company names are allowed. Most company names are allowed so long as it is not used by another company in the same industry. We will check your chosen company name with the Register of the Commercial Courts and the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle. You can conduct a name check now using our free company name check service.
A French Sàrl is required to have a resident registered agent and a local registered address where all official correspondence is sent. These are both provided as part of our standard incorporation package.
A French company only requires one person to act as a director. This person may be of any nationality and may be a corporate entity. Director names are filed on the public register.
A French company only requires one person to act as a shareholder, this person may be of any nationality and corporate shareholders are permitted. A maximum of 50 shareholders is allowed and if there are fewer than 25, no annual general meeting of shareholders is required .All shareholder names are filed on the public register.
The minimum fixed share capital of a French Sàrl is rounded up to an amount which is easily divisible, with a minimum paid up capital of 1 EUR. The amount chosen is held with the notary, a bank or in a Caisse de Dêpot during the course of the formation of the company.
A Sàrl is required to file an annual return, register of officers and accounts. Although it is not routine, in some cases an audit can be expected.
The incorporation of your new company takes from one to two weeks from the moment we have your proofs of address and identification. Please note the company will not be ready for trading until a bank account is established and the share capital paid up.
Proof of Identity
As part of our due diligence we require proof of identity in the form of a passport copy for all directors and shareholders of the company.
A visit to France is not required for the formation of a new company. Where French banks are concerned, a bank visit will be required.