Procedure for obtaining a SIRET number

Before setting up a business as a trader, craftsman, company director or micro-entrepreneur, you need to have a SIREN and SIRET number. What do they stand for? How do you obtain them? Find out all you need to know about the procedure.

What is a SIRET number?

The SIRET number (Système d'Identification du Répertoire des Etablissements)identifies each establishment that makes up a company. It is assigned by INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) when the company is created. Entrepreneurs receive it by post within an average of 15 days from the date of registration.

The SIRET is made up of a SIREN and a NIC code (Internal Classification Number). It is requested by administrations for all operations in which they are involved, and also appears on URSSAF and SSI contribution calls.

What's the difference with the SIREN number?

SIRET and SIREN numbers should not be confused. The SIREN (Système d'Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises) is a unique identifier used to identify each company to the authorities. It is not subject to change, unlike the SIRET, which will be different if the company's address changes.

The SIREN number is assigned by INSEE when the company is registered in the RNE (Répertoire national des entreprises), i.e. when it declares that it is starting up. More precisely, it consists of 9 invariable digits, and is proof of the company's registration in the SIRENE register. This directory contains the civil status of all companies and their establishments, whatever their legal form.

The SIREN number, which must appear on all commercial documents, is valid for life, which means that even if the entrepreneur chooses to close his business, he will find it again when he recreates a company.

How do I get a SIRET number?

The SIRET number is assigned when the formalities for setting up a business are completed with the relevant CFE (Centre de formalités des entreprises). This is the Urssaf for self-employed businesses, the CMA (Chambre des Métiers et de l'Artisanat) for craft businesses, and the CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie) for commercial businesses.

When a company is created and registered in the RNE, INSEE issues a SIRENE registration certificate by post. This document, which should be kept in a safe place, contains the following information:

  • company name,
  • APE code (main activity),
  • the address of the establishment,
  • SIRET number,
  • the establishment's legal form.

Once you've registered with the CFE, you can easily obtain the identification numbers assigned to your company by searching by company name, surname/first name or address.

It should be noted that since April 1, 2021, the introduction ofa one-stop shop for business formalities, intended to gradually replace the CFEs, facilitates this procedure.