The clearance process with the Ministry generally occurs between the signing and the closing of a transaction and is a condition precedent of said closing. It is a two-step regime.
The Ministry has an initial 30-business-day period from the receipt of the complete application file to notify the foreign investor that the investment is either (i) outside of the scope of review, (ii) that clearance is granted without conditions, or (iii) that it will need further examination to determine whether French national interests can be preserved with the grant of an authorisation subject to conditions.
If no response is received by the investor at the end of the 30-business-day period, the clearance is deemed refused. If no response is received by the investor at the end of an additional 45-business-day period allotted to the Ministry for further examination, the clearance is also deemed refused.
The Ministry’s decision may be challenged before the French administrative courts. The investor is granted 15 days to present its observations (unless there is a degree of urgency or there are exceptional circumstances or imminent harm that would be caused to public policy, public safety, or national defence).
The Ministry’s decisions are not made public, but aggregated statistics are published on its website regarding the number of filings, the country of origin of the foreign investors and the strategic sectors involved.