You are a British citizen wanting to create your business in France? Things have changed since the 1st of January 2021. You will now need a carte de sejour before you can register your business. This carte de sejour will be different whether or not you were a French resident before Brexit.
1 - You were a French resident before 31st December 2020
You have sufficient proofs to show that you were a French resident, with for instance a property in France, a French bank account, utility bills in your name, health cover with an S1, proofs of paying taxes in France (impot sur le revenu, taxe fonciere) you are looking at requesting a Carte de Sejour - Article 50, also called Withdrawal Agreement carte de sejour. This card will maintain your rights acquired pre-Brexit and will enable you to carry out any professional activity in France, whether employed or self-employed.
No carte de sejour required to register your business until 30th September 2021
According to Guichet Entreprises, Britons living in France before 1st January 2021 can continue to live here without a residence permit and have professional activity without a carte de sejour until 30th September 2021.
You can therefore, until that date, set up a business in France without having a carte de sejour de sejour.
As of 1st October 2021, it will be compulsory to have your carte de sejour in order to register your business. The application for a specific carte de sejour - Accord de retriat Royaume Uni (UK withdrawal agreement) has to be made before 1st July 2021.
2 - You arrive in France after 1st January 2021
If you plan to start your business, you will have to apply for a Carte de Sejour Profession Liberale / Entrepreneur with the French Embassy in the UK. You have to plan this ahead of your move, as a visitor’s carte de sejour will not allow you to register a business.
What do you need to do to prepare for your carte de sejour Entrepreneur request?
You will be requested to fill in a few forms (Cerfa 13473*01), but also to provide a business plan. The French Embassy will issue the carte de sejour, based on the viability of your business plan. This means ensuring that you are complying with your sector’s regulations, indicating which legal structure you will go for and providing a 3-year financial plan.
You also have to show that your activity will generate about 18,655€ of income (not sales) for an individual. This is the equivalent of the minimum wage called SMIC for 2021. If the business cannot generate this kind of income to start with, provide extra information on where you will draw your income from. For instance a private pension, rental income from your UK property, savings. It is best to provide proofs of this, such as bank statements.
Basically, the French Embassy wants to ensure that if they issue your carte de sejour profession liberale/entrepreneur, you will actually be able to work and have sufficient income to cover for your cost of living in France.
Advice to prepare your carte de sejour request
My advice is to keep your business set up simple and check the regulations. Going for an incorporated business means that you will have to supply a draft of the letters of incorporation. In this case, work with a lawyer or an accountant. Saying that you want to be a carpenter, builder, hairdresser, means that you have to prove your qualification or at least 3 years experience as an employee or self-employed.
Retroplanning to creating your business as a British citizen post Brexit
- Write a business plan and collect all the legal documents needed.
- Request the CDS from the French Embassy.
- Wait for the CDS approval.
- Move to France.
- Register the business.
As you can see, things have significantly changed and you have to be more thorough in planning your move to France. If you need some feedback on your business set up, taxes or regulation, book a Power Hour with me.
Useful resources on moving to France post Brexit