upholding taxForeign companies having its headquarters abroad without a permanent establishment in France can employ salaried staff even if it has no office in F.

The recruitment of an employee in France by a foreign company is provided for by the Labor Code and supervised by specific reporting bodies.

In all cases, a foreign employer can hire an employee to practice on French territory if he fulfills the obligations relating to the declarations and payments of employer and employee contributions and contributions due in respect of this employment.

This declaration then allows the employee to obtain a VISA if he is not a resident of France.


Two scenarios arise for the recruitment of an employee in France by Foreign companies as employer:

  • If the company has an establishment in France : the recruited employee will be attached to this establishment, which will be responsible for declaring and paying the contributions and contributions under the same conditions as for other employees.
  • If the company does not have an establishment in France : the foreign employer can fulfill his obligations relating to the employment of an employee by appointing by agreement a representative residing in France, or by fulfilling his obligations directly with organizations dedicated to foreign firms or through the Foreign Firm Title (TFE).

In all cases, the recruitment of an employee in France to exercise a professional activity obligatorily attaches him to the French social security system and entails the payment of contributions.

The Foreign Firm Title is an optional system set up to facilitate the declarations of foreign companies without establishment in France and which employ less than 20 employees.

It allows companies to establish the formalities and declarations relating to the nominative social declaration of their employees and thus to manage all of their workforce, whatever their employment contract.

Foreign Companies without an establishment in France

The employees concerned

Several cases of recruitment of an employee may arise:

  • the employee will work permanently on French territory and is therefore covered by the French system
  • the employee will work temporarily in France without benefiting from a procedure secondment (maintenance in the foreign regime) and therefore falls under the French regime
  • the employee will work on the territory of Member States of the European Union and is affiliated to the French regime by virtue of his residence in France

The legal framework excludes certain categories of employees who must be declared to funds or specific organizations, such as:

  • VRP (travelers representing ushers) with several Foreign companies
  • Occasional artists or technicians whose employer is a non-professional live show organizer
  • Bullfighting professionals (matadors, banderilleros, picadors, servants, etc.)

Companies concerned

All companies Foreigners who do not have an establishment in France are concerned, regardless of the nature of their activity or their legal form.

Monegasque companies not established in France are not concerned and can declare and pay their contributions to Urssaf Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

If the employer is a company established in the European Union or in Switzerland, the employee must inform the institution that pays him the health insurance benefits, which is responsible for determining the legislation applicable to his situation.

If the company is located in a country that has signed a bilateral social security agreement with France, please refer to the terms of the agreement. 

Registration and declaration of foreign companies

Registration of the company

A foreign company that does not have an establishment in France must apply for registration with the Center National des Firmes Étrangères (CNFE), an organization attached to Urssaf Alsace, before to recruit employees covered by the French social system.

The state has set up an online service for companies that allows them to simply carry out the formalities related to their registration or to the modification of their situation.

The declaration of registration of a company employing salaried staff and having no establishment in France goes through the EO form which can be downloaded from the website and must be registered with the CNFE.

Changes in the company’s situation must be declared using form E2/E4 and registered with the CNFE.

Upon receipt of the application for registration, the CNFE, the single collection body for social security and unemployment insurance contributions, will be responsible for informing INSEE which will assign a national identification number (siret) to the company, as well as Humanis international for the supplementary pension scheme, the pension and occupational health insurance fund (Carsat) and the Department of Residents Abroad and General Services (DRESG) to record the data relating to the business.

Appointment of a legal representative

If they do not have an establishment in France, foreign companies wishing to recruit an employee on French territory may appoint a legal representative residing in France. The latter will be personally responsible for the reporting obligations and the payment of contributions and social contributions due.

The designation of this representative necessarily involves the signing of a agreement between the two parties and addressed to Urssaf for affiliation of the company.

The employment of an employee in France presupposes the payment of employer and employee contributions and contributions due under:

  • the general social security system;
  • the unemployment insurance scheme;
  • the mandatory supplementary pension and provident and mutual insurance scheme;
  • contributions for paid holidays, bad weather unemployment and prevention of accidents at work for building and public works companies.

Withholding tax 

As part of the withholding tax, the employer will collect income tax on behalf of the tax authorities. In addition, the tax rate applicable to each employee is communicated to the employer by the tax authorities through the nominative social declaration (DSN). Each month, when paying the employee, the employer must apply the rate to the remuneration and withhold the deduction from the net salary to be paid. Finally, for the withholding tax to be effective, you will need to have a bank account in the SEPA zone: so don’t forget to open one.


In the event of an inspection

You must keep the “A1” form for each employee concerned, duly completed and signed, available to the inspection agents. This document attests to the maintenance of the worker in the social protection system of the country of origin.

  • in the absence of an “A1” form, a document attesting to the temporary registration of each employee concerned with the French Social Security (attestation of vigilance from Urssaf dating from less than six months).

You must also make available to the inspection agents:

  • the work permit from the State of origin;
  • the payslips of each seconded employee when the duration of the secondment is greater than or equal to one month.