The APE code ( main activity exercised ) is an identifier assigned by thational Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) at the time of the official creation of a company. It is given according to the sector of activity of the company.

It is made up of five characters: four numbers and one letter. These correspond to an established classification: that of the NAF (nomenclature of French activities).

  • The first two digits correspond to the division of activity in which the entity operates (company or worker);
  • The third number comes to detail this first division by indicating a sub-category;
  • The fourth digit gives the class of the division in which the activity is located.

These four digits follow the NACE classification system (European classification).

  • The letter following the four digits gives more specifics by following the tree structure of the French economy.

To note : 

The APE code and the NAF code are identical.

Different classifications of activities are in force in the European Union. In France, the main one remains that of the NAF code / APE code but there is also the NACE code corresponding to the nomenclature of activities in the European community.

The most recent NACE nomenclature is that of the ISIC code (the International Standard Industrial Classification code). It is possible to find on the internet documents which summarize the different CITI and APE codes and which give the correspondences between the two classifications.

The APE code has several uses. It is first used to identify the n which the company depends. A collective agreement is a document that determines the special rules of labor law that are applicable to a particular sector.

The APE code is then used by different institutions. For INSEE, it facilitates the census by branch of activity of self-employed workers, associations and companies.

Finally, it makes it easier to search for companies by sector, in order to establish statistics (in particular for INSEE), by selecting only companies operating in the same branch of activity.

However, it should be noted that it is not the wording of the APE code that determines the list of business activities. This is in fact determined by the various activities listed in the extract from the trade and companies register .

Finally, an APE code may not be representative of a company’s activity. This state of affairs is the result of a change in activity or an error by the administration. In any case, it is recommended to take the necessary steps to clarify the situation. Indeed, an error in assigning an APE number can lead to administrative malfunctions.

How to find the APE code of a company?

Fax List

In France, each company director receives an APE code He therefore does not have to take any steps to obtain it, his receipt remaining automatic .

The modification of the APE code sent automatically at the creation of the company is authorized in three situations:

  • In the event that the main activity has changed following the registration of the company in the RNE and the information presented Spain Business Fax List by the NAF code requires updating;
  • If the manager considers a posteriori that the identifier does not represent the main activity of his company;
  • If the company is subject to dual registration and therefore has two APE/NAF codes.

The NAF code clearly identifies the main branch of activity of the economic entity. Present on several administrative documents of the company, it is also public information. To obtain the NAF code of another company, it is then possible to request it on several reference sites such as that of INSEE.

Other specialized sites also simplify this process. This is the case of Infonet.fr , which lists a great deal of data on French companies and facilitates research, consultation and collection.

What are the different APE codes?

The APE / NAF codes of companies correspond to a structured nomenclature :

  • two digits that indicate the division NG Number to which the principal activity of the company belongs. Included between 1 and 99, they make it possible to categorize the different sectors;
  • two other digits which respectively indicate membership of a sub-category, and the precise division to which the activity corresponds;
  • a letter, from A to Z, which brings other indicators to the notation.

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