DOWNLOAD FORM IN FRENCH FOR PREFECTURE
The French law 'Loi de 1901' is designed to allow a
group of two or more people to meet and to raise funds
as well as having the advantage of being a legal entity.
The law allowed any group of individuals to set up a
legally-recognised association without incurring too
much red tape or expensive cotisations. Associations can
make profits, but only for re-investment or to cover
The first thing to do is to decide whether or not you
want to formally register your association. The 1901 law
allows any group of people to meet and share common
ideas without completing any legal formalities at all.
If you opt for this formula however, your association
will have no legal statute. This means it won't be able
to open a bank account in its own name, hire people or
carry out any other activities that must be undertaken
by what French lawyers call a moral person (personne
If you do decide to declare your association, you need
to draw up a list of statutes setting out exactly what
your group intends to do. Counselling in France statutes
are here. If necessary, your local prefecture can
provide you with a series of standard statutes that can
be adapted to your association's needs.
It is important that the statutes take into account all
of the possible activities your association may want to
You must set out on a declaration what your activities
and aims are to be. Once you have formally registered
your group it will only be allowed to do what is
mentioned in the statutes, which can only be changed by
presenting a new declaration to the authorities.
Therefore it's a good idea to keep the statutes as
general as possible to cover everything you might decide
You will also have to write down the full name of the
association and its official address, which can be
someone's house, an office, any building where the
activities might take place or where you live. You need
to provide the names, addresses, dates and places of
birth and occupations of the people who will be running
The next step is to photocopy everything three times -
one copy for you and two for your local préfecture or
sous-préfecture, making sure that the statutes are
signed and dated by at least two members of the
Finally, go along to your local préfecture to declare
your association. It will appear in the Journal Officiel,
which records all legal matters across the country. This
step costs you approximately 35€ and a stamped
self-addressed A4 envelope.
The bureau is the association's management team. Most
small associations have a bureau made up of a President,
Secretary and Treasurer, who are appointed by the
members. You can have more than these, of course, but
you will need these three, and each bureau member will
have certain tasks.
The president heads the association, the secretary
carries out secretarial tasks like taking minutes of
meetings and sending out correspondence to members. The
treasurer is in charge of the accounts.
At least once a year, all of an association's members
MUST meet to discuss the group's business, elect bureau
members etc. It is also possible to call extraordinary
general assemblies if necessary.
Associations can make profits, but they must be
re-invested in the association or used to cover the
group's costs. Classic profit-making activities carried
out by associations include organising dances, fêtes and
other social events in order to raise money for the
group. However, if profit-making becomes your
association's primary activity, you could find yourself
It is possible for an association to have the pursuit of
money as its number one aim but this must be clearly
mentioned in the statutes and money-making groups must
pay certain business taxes.
Registered associations have the right apply for
subsidies from all of the usual sources.
For more information
Contact your local préfecture - you can find telephone
number in the yellow pages at http://www.pagesjaunes.fr
or on the website http://www.interieur.gouv.fr