What is a SIREN or SIRET number?

By Valérie Aston on 19 November 2009 · Viewed 488866 times · Questions

You’re working on a business project and you're asked for your SIRET or SIREN number, e.g. for quotes, for advertising, for partnerships etc. So what is it?

A SIREN number is your unique French business identification number. This 9 digit number will be requested by all French administration when dealing with you, e.g. URSSAF, RSI, Impot, etc. It is proof that you are a fully registered French business, listed on the national business directory - répertoire national des entreprises. Your SIREN number will be issued by INSEE (national institute of statistics), when you register your business.

How do I get a SIRET number?

Your SIRET number will be issued once you have registered your business with the Chambre de Commerce (RCS) for trade, Chambre de Metiers for crafts and manual work or with URSSAF for intellectual services such as translator or website designer. You will receive an Extrait KBIS usually within two weeks of your registration with your SIRET number. For auto entrepreneurs, your SIRET number will be on the official letter sent to you by INSEE. So what is the difference between a SIREN number and a SIRET number? A SIRET is a 14 digit number referring to your business location (SIREN + 5 digits).

Example of SIRET number

Your unique SIRET number should look like this if you are a limited company or are in a trading activity (commercant) - RCS PARIS 453 983 245. RCS stands for Registre du Commerce et des Societes, i.e. registration via the Chambre du Commerce et de l’Industrie. For crafts and manual activities (artisans) registering with Chambre de Metiers, your SIRET number will look like this - RC NANTES 234 987 456.

Use a SIRET number to find out more about your competitors

If you want to find out more about your competitors, write down their SIREN number or name, then have a look at www.societe.com. You will find out when they created their business, number of employees, activity code. For limited companies, you will also have access to their financial results, e.g. turnover, profit or loss, etc.

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.