top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Business Sirens and Sirets in France explained

All businesses in France, whatever the size, must have a Siren and a Siret number, and this also applies to self-employed 'micro-entrepreneurs'

A company can have several Sirets but only one Siren Pic: Free-Photos / Pixabay

Siren and Siret numbers are allocated when a business is created and listed on a directory called système informatique pour le répertoire des entreprises et des établissements (Sirene).

Sirene is managed by national statistics body the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insee).

It contains a list of around 10million companies and can be consulted by any member of the public.

On it, there is the address, number of employees and date of creation, as well as the Siren, Siret and APE code. 

The Siren (système d’identification du répertoire des entreprises) identifies the company according to the order of registration on the Sirene list.

It remains the same throughout the life of the business and is used for all dealings with public bodies and administrative organisations.

It only ceases to exist after the death or cessation of activity in a business run by one person, or liquidation and dissolution of a legal entity. Siret (système d’identification du répertoire des établissements) is the Siren number plus five extra numbers: the NIC, numéro interne de classement, which identifies each different establishment belonging to a business.

A company can therefore have several Sirets but only one Siren.

A third code is needed for the registration of a company in the Sirene directory and that is the APE, for activité principale exercée. This identifies the type of activity carried out by the business and is used mainly for gathering statistics.

It is made up of four numbers and a letter. The APE code can be changed if a business switches activity and is done via the local, appropriate CFE, centre de formalités des entreprises. For an artisan, this will be the chambre des métiers et de l’artisanat.

For most other kinds of business it is the chambre de commerce et d’industrie or Urssaf.

Sometimes the APE is referred to as NAF, nomenclature d’activités française, but they are the same.

You will automatically be allocated a Siren, Siret and APE when you create a business with your local CFE.

Related stories

Is my S1 form affected if I become a micro-entrepreneur?

Pension pot error for micro-entrepreneurs in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now