Foreign investors can find great opportunities for setting up a business in France, but they must be aware that for some activities special permits, licenses or certificates are required. Sole traders must obtain special certificates for the activities they conduct that must comply with certain environment and health regulations. Special licenses, permits and certificates in France are issued by specific agencies or federal authorities.
French companies are also required to have special licenses for the trading activities they conduct. Whenever a company is involved in a trading activity, such as importing or exporting products, there are some special licenses to be obtained depending on some factors:
Economic operators will usually use a Single Administrative Document (SAD) that will be filled and submitted with the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF).
When importing or exporting, certain agricultural products will need a special license issued by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Also, special permits issued by the Import Licensing Branch of the Department for Business are required for some textiles, fire guns and metals.
Gambling activities are monitored by the independent authority called ARJEL (Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne), according to the French Gambling Act issued in 2010. According to ARJEL, special licenses must be obtained for online poker games and sports and horse betting. The types of licenses required for this type of activities are:
Special requirements, such as financial possibilities and clean criminal records, are required from those applying for a gambling permit.
According to the Banking Law in France, banks and other financial institutions are required to obtain special licenses depending on the type of financial activity they are engaged in. First of all, an authorization issued by the Prudential Supervisory Authority (CAP) must be issued for financial institutions. Investment services companies must apply for a special permit with the CAP and with the Financial Market Authority (Autorité des Marchés Financiers, AMF), as well.