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Foreign trader or craftsman

Verified 31 décembre 2019 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of the Interior

A person of foreign nationality (not a European national) who wishes to engage in a commercial, industrial, craft or other self-employed activity in French territory for more than 3 months must hold a temporary residence card authorizing the pursuit of a professional activity, which has replaced the identity card of a foreign trader.

Foreign resident outside France

A foreign trader or craftsman (not a European national), who wishes to come to work in France, must first obtain a long-stay visa to enter France and then apply for a temporary residence card authorizing the exercise of a professional activity.

A trader or craftsman who intends to come to work as a self-employed person in France must apply for a long-stay visa ‘CESEDA L.313-10 2°’ at the competent French consulate in his country.

This visa shall be marked « residence card to be requested within 2 months of arrival ».. It allows you to enter France and obtain a residence card in the prefecture.

It is valid for 3 months.

The request may be made online or by filling out the form cerfa n°14571*04 (in 3 copies).

The form must be accompanied by the following documents (original + photocopy):

  • 4 photos front, bare head, 3,5 x 4,5 cm, fresh and perfectly similar,
  • original of the valid passport + 2 photocopies of the pages containing the personal data,
  • application form cerfa n°13473*01
  • extract from the criminal record or equivalent document of the country of which the applicant is a national,
  • declaration on the honor of non-conviction for the other countries in which the applicant has resided for the last 10 years,
  • declaration on the honor of non-bankruptcy in the country of origin and for the other countries in which the applicant has resided for the last 10 years,
  • tax exemption if the applicant has resided in France and left it for less than 4 years,
  • where necessary, supporting documents relating to the applicant's capacity to engage in the envisaged commercial, industrial or craft activity.

All visa applications must be accompanied by the payment of a file fee.

If the visa is refused or the trip is canceled, the file fees paid are not reimbursed.

  Warning : Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the visa's expiry date. If the validity of the passport is insufficient, the visa application is refused.

If you wish to apply for a long-stay visa, you must contact the French consular authorities in your country of residence.

Once the visa has been obtained, within 2 months of arrival in France, the person must apply for the issue of a residence card, valid for 1 year, bearing the mention of the occupation pursued.

A medical check-up is mandatory and free of charge. She is insured by a doctor of theOfii or approved by Ofii.

One receipt of application for residence permit is issued free of charge, when the file is filed in the prefecture. It is permissible to work and in particular to take the steps to register the company.

Obtaining the temporary card mention merchant, industrial or craftsman takes place after registration in the Register of Trade and Companies (RCS) for a merchant or in the Register of Trades (RM) for a craftsman..

The silence of more than 4 months on an application for a residence permit is an implicit decision of rejection.

An alien applying for a temporary residence permit to engage in a commercial, industrial or craft activity must show proof of:

  • an economically viable activity or, if he or she joins an existing undertaking, the ability to pay him or her sufficient remuneration (at least equal to the minimum wage),
  • an activity compatible with safety, health and public tranquility,
  • the fulfillment of the obligations of that profession (e.g. conditions of diplomas or professional experience),
  • from the absence of a conviction or of a ban on the exercise of..

The first issue of the temporary residence card is subject to a fee: €225 (tax + stamp duty of €25).

Stamp duty and tax must be settled by tax stamps..

Proof of payment of stamp duty and tax is required when the card is delivered.

Personal Documents

The professional must present himself to the prefecture of department with the following documents (original + photocopy):

  • civil status: birth certificate or a full copy of the birth certificate (if the applicant is married or divorced and does not have a passport mentioning his new name, copy of the marriage certificate or divorce certificate)
  • valid passport with a visa for a stay of more than 3 months in the course of a commercial, industrial or craft activity,
  • home: deed of ownership, rental lease (accompanied by a copy of the lessor's identity document) or certificate on the lodging honor of the lessor (accompanied by a receipt of electricity or gas of less than 3 months in the latter's name and a copy of his identity document)
  • medical certificate issued by an Ofii doctor or approved by Ofii,
  • 1 photos front, bare head, size 3,5 x 4,5 cm, recent and perfectly similar.

  FYI : All documents must be submitted in original form with a photocopy and written in French. Documents in a foreign language must be translated into French by a certified translator..

Business related documents

  • presentation of the project on free paper, accompanied by a multiannual forecast budget,
  • proof of the undertaking of a guarantee taken by a credit institution or an insurance undertaking authorized to act as a guarantee and having their head office in France, or a certificate of credit balance in an account in the name of the applicant opened with a credit institution having its head office in France,
  • in case of creation of an activity (or creation of a company under French law):
    • a copy of the commercial lease undertaking or sublease agreement, indicating the activity,
    • where applicable, a copy of the authorization of the owner of the premises or any other document relating to the premises assigned to the activity,
    • in the case of an individual contractor, a copy of the contract of domiciliation if necessary,
    • in the case of a company, a copy of the draft articles of association of the company showing the distribution of the share capital, a copy of the promise of a commercial lease indicating the activity or the sub-lease indicating the activity and possibly the authorization of the owner of the premises or any other document relating to the premises assigned to the activity,
    • in the case of a company governed by French law, a subsidiary of a foreign company, or an establishment of a foreign legal person, proof of the appointment or, where applicable, letter of intent from the body competent for the appointment, and a copy of the statutes of the legal person governed by foreign law, a copy of the promise of a commercial lease mentioning the activity or the sub-lease contract mentioning the activity and possibly the authorization the owner of the premises or any other document relating to the premises assigned to the activity, a copy of the draft articles of association of the company showing the draft distribution of the share capital,
      • In the case of an establishment of a foreign legal person, proof of appointment or a letter of intent from the body competent for appointment, a copy of the statutes of the foreign legal person,
  • in the case of a take-over of a business, a copy of the promise or contract for the sale of the business,
  • in the case of management leases:
    • copy of the promise or management lease,
    • excerpt from registration RCS or the previous operator's business directory (How to get a K or Kbis extract?)
    • a copy of the lease made in the name of the owner of the land.

General case

Who shall I contact

  Warning : some sub-prefectures cannot do the paperwork. Find out more on the website of your prefecture.

Foreign already residing in France

A person of foreign nationality (non-European national), who regularly resides in France and wishes to pursue a commercial, industrial or craft activity there, must obtain a temporary residence card authorizing the pursuit of a professional activity. If an artist, student or employee's residence card does not authorize them to engage in a commercial, industrial or craft activity, a change of status, and therefore of mention, must be requested.

It is necessary to apply in the prefecture for the issue of a residence card, valid for 1 year, bearing the mention of the profession exercised.

One receipt of application for residence permit is issued free of charge, when the file is filed in the prefecture. It does not authorize the undertaking to work or to take steps to register the undertaking, which can only be carried out when a new receipt is issued after a favorable decision of the prefect on the application for a residence permit.

Obtaining the temporary card mention merchant, industrial or craftsman takes place after registration in the Register of Trade and Companies (RCS) for a merchant or in the Register of Trades (RM) for a craftsman..

The silence of more than 4 months on an application for a residence permit is an implicit decision of rejection.

  Warning : This obligation does not apply to persons holding a residence card or temporary residence card (CST) in the metropolitan area « private and family life » or « skills and talents », which are already valid and which allow them to practice the profession of their choice.

An alien applying for a temporary residence permit to engage in a commercial, industrial or craft activity must show proof of:

  • an economically viable activity or, if he or she joins an existing undertaking, the ability to pay him or her sufficient remuneration (at least equal to the minimum wage),
  • an activity compatible with safety, health and public tranquility,
  • the fulfillment of the obligations of that profession (e.g. conditions of diplomas or professional experience),
  • from the absence of a conviction or of a ban on the exercise of..

The change of the mention (or the renewal) of the temporary residence card is payable: €225 (tax + stamp duty of €25).

Stamp duty and tax must be settled by tax stamps..

Proof of payment of stamp duty and tax is required when the card is delivered.

The professional must present himself to the prefecture of department with the following documents (original + photocopy):

  • valid residence permit,
  • valid passport,
  • home: deed of ownership, rental lease (accompanied by a copy of the lessor's identity document) or certificate on the lodging honor of the lessor (accompanied by a receipt of electricity or gas of less than 3 months in the latter's name and a copy of his identity document)
  • application form cerfa n°13473*01
  • declaration on the honor of non-conviction for other countries in which the applicant has, if necessary, resided for the last 10 years.
  • declaration on the honor of non-bankruptcy in the country of origin and for the other countries in which the applicant has, if necessary, resided for the last 10 years,
  • tax status slip relating to the payment of income tax in France,
  • supporting documents relating to the applicant's capacity to engage in the envisaged commercial, industrial or craft activity,
  • 1 photos front, bare head, size 3,5 x 4,5 cm, recent and perfectly similar.

  FYI : All documents must be submitted in original form with a photocopy and written in French. Documents in a foreign language must be translated into French by a certified translator..

General case

Who shall I contact

  Warning : some sub-prefectures cannot do the paperwork. Find out more on the website of your prefecture.

For the renewal of a temporary residence permit to pursue the same commercial, industrial or craft activity, the trader must, 2 months before the expiry of your residence permit, make an appointment in the prefecture with the following documents (original + photocopy):

  • valid residence permit,
  • valid passport,
  • home: deed of ownership, rental lease (accompanied by a copy of the lessor's identity document) or a certificate on the landlord's honor of lodging (accompanied by a receipt of electricity or gas of less than 3 months in the landlord's name and a copy of his identity document),
  • 1 photos front, bare head, 3,5 x 4,5 cm, fresh and perfectly similar,
  • income tax notice, if required,
  • if the applicant has the status of an employee, the salary slips of the last 3 months or, in the absence of a tax notice, of the last 12 months,
  • if the applicant does not have the status of an employee, an extract from the account book establishing the remuneration paid during the last 3 months or, in the absence of a tax notice, the last 12 months,
  • if the activity was created by the applicant:
    • copy of the lease or home ownership contract,
    • company tax status slip (P 237), which certifies that you are up to date with paying your taxes,
    • insurance certificate covering the premises occupied, the vehicle or any other property necessary for the activity,
      • income tax notice,
      • If the applicant has the status of an employee, the salary slips of the last 3 months or, in the absence of a tax notice, of the last 12 months,
      • If the applicant does not have the status of an employee, an extract from the account book showing the remuneration paid during the last three months or, in the absence of a tax notice, the last twelve months.
      • To continue to participate in an existing business or activity:
      • income tax notice,
      • If the applicant has the status of an employee, the salary slips of the last three months or, in the absence of a tax notice, of the last twelve months;
      • If the applicant does not have the status of an employee, an extract from the account book showing the remuneration paid during the last three months or, in the absence of a tax notice, the last twelve months.

The renewal of the temporary residence card is subject to a fee: €225 (tax + stamp duty of €25).

Stamp duty and tax must be settled by regular tax stamps..

Proof of payment of stamp duty and tax is required when the card is delivered.

  FYI : All documents must be submitted in original form with a photocopy and written in French. Documents in a foreign language must be translated into French by a certified translator..

General case

Who shall I contact

  Warning : some sub-prefectures cannot do the paperwork. Find out more on the website of your prefecture.