Tough life for a freelancer. It's a road less traveled thus, there's a lack of enough information on the processes, legalities and benefits on being one.
Groping my way into the French bureaucracy, I bounced like a ping pong ball until I hit bull's eye. It took me a long time though. All I wanted was a Securite Sociale number, but every time I applied for one, I would be rejected because I didn't have fiche du paie in my hands. Just invoices of my "services". It was a case nobody was able to help solve until I went to the doctor to get a prescription. She found it odd that I was already a year in France and I still didn't have my social security. So she scheduled me a meeting with a social worker who became the key to my chicken or egg dilemma. According to the social worker, I should go straight to RSI (Regime Social Independants) since I am not a salaried employee.
So I headed to RSI with high hopes of finally owning those magic security numbers. To my disappointment (I almost cried), I once again hit another wall. The receptionist was looking for my freelance registration papers, which of course I didn't have at that time because I didn't know how/where/when to do it. For more than a year, I was living in ignorance. Apparently you have to first register before you start doing your activities as a freelance or entrepreneur.
With a little bit of research, I discovered Auto-Entrepreneur and the processes on how to become one. Arrows pointed me to Chambre de Commerce and so I went. Another wall. But fortunately it was the last wall before I was officially registered in my profession. Under the nature of my activities, I rightly belong under the umbrella of Chambre de Metiers et de l'Artisanat de Paris. I could actually register online as an Auto-Entrepreneur, but I prefer human contact as I had lots of questions.
To register as an Auto-Entrepreneur, you can either fill up the registration forms in the AE website or in person at the relevant Centre de Formalities de Enterprises, along with a copy of your carte de sejour. Few days after, you will receive a recepisse of your registration. Afterwards, a mail from INSEE with your SIREN and SIRET, as well as mail from Ministere du Budget des Comptes Publics de la Fonction Publique et de la Reforme de L'etat.
With these 3 mails filling up my letterbox, my days as a bubble were over and so I braved RSI once again and applied for my securite sociale.
To register in RSI you'd need the following:
-Carte de Sejour
-copy of your Auto-Entrepreneur application form
For further reading on the subject of Auto-entrepreneur: