Do you wish to apply for asylum in France?
This page explains the procedure to follow.

I arrive in France
I arrive in France

If I am more than 18 years old, I should have a certificate permitting me to stay in France – either a long term visa or a residence permit.

If I want to seek the protection of the French authorities (a request for asylum) I must inform the authorities at the latest 90 days after my arrival on in France.

If I have been allowed to enter France through a permit given in the holding area at point of entry, I must inform the French authorities within eight days of leaving that holding area.

I seek asylum
I seek asylum

At the reception centre for asylum seekers

In order to ensure that my request for asylum has been taken account of officially, I must go to a reception centre run by an accredited organisation.

The accredited reception centre will the one designated for the department you are in. (list of reception centres with their addresses)

The staff at the reception centres will register the details of your identity and those of your family as well the language that you speak and your journey to reach France; identity photos will be taken of you and the members of your family.

This information will then be transferred electronically to the prefecture responsible for the department you are in and you will be asked to come to a meeting to register your request for asylum in the department concerned.  This is the GUDA meeting.  GUDA is the name of the Unique Office for Asylum Seekers.

This meeting should take place within three days of your registering at the accredited reception centre, but may be up to ten days later when there are a large number of asylum seekers arriving in France.

I go to the meeting at the GUDA
I go to the meeting at the GUDA

You have to go to the GUDA meeting in order to make a formal request for asylum.  There are two parts to this meeting:

  1. The meeting with staff at the prefecture
    The prefecture is responsible for asylum requests.
    During the meeting:
    1. Fingerprints of all persons over 14 years of age are taken
    2. The information given to the reception centre (PADA) is checked
    3. There is a check to confirm which country should be responsible for the asylum request
      1. If another country within the European Union seems to be responsible, the request is registered under the “Dublin” procedure and a “Dublin” certificate of request for asylum is given.
      2. If France is the country responsible for the asylum request a certificate attesting to the request for asylum is given, either as part of the normal or as part of the fast (accelerated) procedure and the following documents are handed over:
        • The OFPRA document for the request of asylum
        • A note explaining the choice of language and the asylum procedure
        • A note explaining the different types of request for a stay in France in connexion with the request for asylum

The asylum request is recorded for all the members of the family, including that for the children.

  1. The meeting at the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII)
    OFII is responsible for the reception of asylum seekers.
    During this interview the following points are covered:
    • the vulnerability of the asylum seeker will be assessed to see whether there are special grounds for the type of reception (handicap and illness for example)
    • the material conditions of the reception of the asylum seeker
    • the request for the government grant and for housing associated with the demand
OFPRA (french office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons)
OFPRA (french office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons)
  1. I send my request for asylum to OFPRA
    OFPRA is the government body that is responsible for deciding in the first instance whether the asylum seeker should be accorded protection.
    The complete request for asylum must be sent to OFPRA within 21 days of the receipt of the certificate demanding asylum.
    The request must comprise:
    • the form requesting asylum completed in French, signed and with two identity photos
    • A copy of the request for asylum
    • Documents concerning the journey and th identity of the asylum seeker
    • All documents that may be useful for processing the asylum request.
  1. On condition that my request has been completed satisfactorily and within the prescribed time limits, OFPRA will send the asulum seeker a letter confirming the request for asylum
    This letter from OFPRA will enable the asylum seeker to renew his certificate requesting asylum
    • for nine months in the case of the normal procedure
    • for three months in the case of the fast (accelerated) procedure
  1. OFPRA invites the asylum seeker to an individual interview
    The waiting time to be called to an OFPRA interview varies, but you must be ready to be called very quickly.
    The individual interview takes place in the offices of OFPRA at Fontenay - sous - Bois are, alternatively at a delegated office in one of the French regions.
    The individual interview is the key moment in the request for asylum.
    If necessary OFPRA will make arrangements for an interpreter to be present.
    French law stipulates that a third person may be present if the asylum seeker so desires. This third person may be a lawyer or the representative of an accredited association.
    In fact it is difficult to find such third persons since lawyers will need to be paid and there are very few persons in the accredited associations that are available.
    The interview is confidential.  Members of the family are heard separately.  Children are not normally interviewed individually, except in exceptional circumstances
    The OFPRA interview is recorded both in writing and electronically
    A written decision with the reasons for that decision is sent to the asylum seeker. The delay in sending the decision varies.
    The decision will be either:
    • According the status of refugee
    • Refusing the status of refugee but according the status of subsidiary protection
    • Refusal of the request.
I obtain international protection
I obtain international protection

If OFPRA or the Appeals Court (CNDA) accords you refugee or subsidiary status you have the right to stay in France for the long term.:

  • The prefecture will give you a residence certificate valid for ten years if your refugee status is recognised.  If you have subsidiary status you will receive a card valid for four years
  • The members of your family will receive a similar certificate either because they are themselves protected or because they are members of a family of a person who has been granted refugee status.
  • If your family does not reside in France you can ask permission for them to re-join you in France
  • Your residence permit entitles you to a work permit
  • You can also ask for social benefits
  • You can undertake the necessary procedure to obtain housing.
  • OFRPRA will prepare your official documents
  • You should exchange your previous driving licence for a French one.
  • The Prefecture can provide a travel document that will entitle you to travel everywhere except your country of origin
  • You must not contact the authorities of your country of origin
  • You must not return to your country of origin.  If you do you risk losing your refugee status.

All these rights carry with them certain conditions.  To learn about these conditions contact the reception centre (SPADA) where you are domiciled, and ask to meet a social worker or the branches of the executive concerned.

OFPRA has issued a refusal
OFPRA has issued a refusal

I ask for legal aid in order obtain the services of a lawyer

If I am unable to pay for a lawyer, I can ask the government to provide one through the Legal Aid system.

I must make my request for legal aid within 15 days of the refusal from OFPRA.  (form for legal aid)

I appeal the decision at the national court of appeal for asylum (CNDA)

I have a month from the date of the notification of a refusal from OFPRA to appeal to the CNDA.  Note that the appeal must be registered by the CNDA before the expiry date.

If you have made a request for legal aid before you make the appeal, the date for submission of the appeal will be postponed for the remaining days to restart from the day on which you receive notification that legal aid has been granted by the Bureau de l’Aide Juridictionnelle

Please note that in this case the remaining time for making the appeal will be one month less the number of days that had passed between the notification of refusal and the request for legal aid.

The appeal should contain elements of fact and of jurisprudence that entitle the asylum seeker to challenge the decision by OFPRA. It will therefore have to deal with the argument given by OFPRA and set out further reasons why you need international protection.

The appeal must be in French and signed. OFPRA’s decision to refuse must be included with the submission as well as all supporting documents. The documents must be translated into French.

You can have the services of a lawyer to help prepare the appeal.  The lawyer will be paid for either by the asylum seeker or by a lawyer financed through legal aid and thus by the state.  If the court of Appeal judges that the elements in the case are sufficiently serious, the asylum seeker will be convened for an audience. During the audience the asylum seeker can be assisted by a lawyer and an interpreter.

If the asylum seeker is following the normal procedure there will be three judges. If the asylum seeker is following the fast (accelerated) process, there will be one judge only.

After the audience the judgement will be delivered in the three weeks following the appeal, or within eight days in the case of people in the fast (accelerated) procedure.

If the Court of Appeal judges that there is insufficient matter they will reject the case without calling the asylum seeker to an audience.

Phase CNDA
I obtain international protection
I obtain international protection

If OFPRA or the Appeals Court (CNDA) accords you refugee or subsidiary status you have the right to stay in France for the long term.:

  • The prefecture will give you a residence certificate valid for ten years if your refugee status is recognised.  If you have subsidiary status you will receive a card valid for four years
  • The members of your family will receive a similar certificate either because they are themselves protected or because they are members of a family of a person who has been granted refugee status.
  • If your family does not reside in France you can ask permission for them to re-join you in France
  • Your residence permit entitles you to a work permit
  • You can also ask for social benefits
  • You can undertake the necessary procedure to obtain housing.
  • OFRPRA will prepare your official documents
  • You should exchange your previous driving licence for a French one.
  • The Prefecture can provide a travel document that will entitle you to travel everywhere except your country of origin
  • You must not contact the authorities of your country of origin
  • You must not return to your country of origin.  If you do you risk losing your refugee status.

All these rights carry with them certain conditions.  To learn about these conditions contact the reception centre (SPADA) where you are domiciled, and ask to meet a social worker or the branches of the executive concerned.

The court of appeal rejects the appeal. I receive an OQTF
The court of appeal rejects the appeal. I receive an OQTF

The court of appeal rejects the appeal

If there are new elements and developments concerning the situation of the asylum seeker in their country of origin after the decision to reject the appeal by the Court of Appeal, you can ask for a re-examination of the request for asylum.

You will have to go to the prefecture to present your request. The prefecture will give you the form for a re-examination of the request for asylum, and this form has to be sent within the next eight days to OFPRA.  If OFPRA reckons that the new elements in the request indicate that a real risk in the country of origin, you will be called to an interview.  If the elements do not indicate a risk, my request will be refused without an interview being held.

If OFPRA rejects my request for a re-examination the prefecture will most probably send the asylum seeker an OQTF – an instruction to leave the territory- France.

If the appeal is rejected by the Court of Appeal, the asylum seeker can appeal to the Council of State, if it appears that there legal errors in the treatment of the case. However this appeal is complicated and must be made by a privately funded lawyer, and furthermore does not permit me to remain in France: Ithe asylum seeker may be removed from French territory.

I receive an OQTF

If the asylum seeker no longer has  any document permitting them to stay in France, the prefecture sends an OQTF

If this decision foresees a voluntary departure within 30 days I can challenge it before the administrative tribunal within the following fifteen days.  Whilst the administrative tribunal is considering the case the asylum seeker cannot be removed from French territory.

If the decision does not envisage a voluntary departure the asylum seeker has forty eight hours to appeal to the administrative tribunal.  During the period that the administrative tribunal is studding this type of case the asylum seeker cannot be removed from French territory but may be placed in a retention centre.

If the asylum seeker wishes to challenge the OQTF in both cases the asylum seeker should contact a lawyer who will be able to seek support through the legal aid system.

If the asylum seeker wishes to return to their country of origin they can seek help to return (aide au retour volontaire) (ARV) through the French Office for Immigration and Integration http://www.retourvolontaire.fr/

My rights during procedure

Material Conditions of Hospitality

Health