Foreign companies: how to operate in France

Mise à jour : 23 janvier 2024

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Obtaining a licence to carry out private security activities in France.


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Who is concerned?

Foreign companies wishing to carry out a security activity in France must hold a licence issued by the CNAPSConseil national des activités privées de sécurité allowing them to operate.

You wish to carry out a one-off activity

Only companies whose registered office is in a Member State of the European Union or a State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area may be authorised to carry out private security activities on French territory without setting up an establishment in France.

To carry out a one-off activity, the directors of these companies must apply for an authorisation specifying the services to be performed on French territory. They must also request authorization for each agent mentioned in the list attached to the application.

Requests, accompanied by the supporting documents, must be sent to the following email address:   

or by post at the following address:

CNAPS – Délégation territoriale Ile-de-France
CS 70002

After verifications, and if the response is positive, authorizations are issued in the form of a decision from the Director of the CNAPS .

See below for the list of supporting documents required:

You want to set up your company in France in order to carry out your activity on a permanent basis

If you want to set up a private security company in France, you must apply to the CNAPS for a licence to operate before starting up your business.

To find out how to obtain an operating licence for your company, click here .

Further information

Private security companies are not allowed to combine certain activities:

  • surveillance, guarding, transport of cash, jewellery and precious metals can be carried out simultaneously. They are incompatible with any other service not related to private security.
  • the exercise of the activity of physical protection of individuals is incompatible with any other private security activity.
  • the private investigation activity is incompatible with any other private security activity.


NB: The CNAPS is not responsible for issuing licences to carry and possess weapons. If companies authorized by the CNAPS wish to carry out armed security activities, they must contact the prefectures where they have their registered office or where they carry out their work.