In France, it is mandatory for all businesses and self-employed individuals to have both SIREN and SIRET numbers.
The SIREN number identifies the business entity, while the SIRET number identifies both the business entity and its specific location or establishment. Introduced in 1973, this system was created to simplify and centralize the management of business information.
SIRET (Système d'Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises et de leurs Etablissements) and SIREN (Système d'Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises) numbers are used to identify businesses, but they serve different purposes.
A SIREN number is a 9-digit identifier assigned to every registered business in France by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). It is used to identify the business and its legal entity, such as a company or a sole proprietorship.
A SIRET number is a 14-digit identifier that includes the SIREN number and an additional five-digit number that represents the specific location or establishment of the business. Therefore, a SIRET number provides more detailed information about the physical location of the business in France.
The SIRET number is used for a variety of administrative purposes in France, such as tax declarations, social security registration, and obtaining various licenses and permits. It is also used by the government to compile statistics on the economy and to monitor the activities of businesses. As such, it is a crucial piece of information for any business operating in France and is typically displayed on official documents, such as invoices and business cards.
The registration process can be done online or in person with the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) of their local Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) or with the Urssaf (Union de recouvrement des cotisations de sécurité sociale et d'allocations familiales) if they are self-employed.
The registration process involves providing information about the business, such as its legal structure, activity, and location, as well as the personal information of the business owner or owners. There may also be fees associated with the registration process, which can vary depending on the type and size of the business. Once the registration process is complete, the CFE or Urssaf will provide the business with a SIRET number.
U.S. Companies Shipping to France
If you are a US company shipping to France, you do not need a SIRET or SIREN number as these numbers are used by French companies for identification purposes. However, since July 1, 2009, all companies established outside of the EU are required to have an EORI (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification) number if they wish to lodge a customs declaration or an Entry/Exit Summary declaration.
However, if your US business has offices in France, you will need to register your business with the French authorities to obtain a SIREN or SIRET number.
It's important to note that any company shipping to France from the United States must adhere to the regulations of both the US and foreign import regulations. It is crucial that you research and abide by all pertinent regulations and requirements such as export licenses.