What is an asylum application and who can request this form of protection in France?
Asylum is a form of international protection.
If you fear returning to your country of origin (or to your country of previous residence if you are stateless) because you are at risk of serious harm for reasons related to your race, religion, nationality, political opinions or your membership of a particular social group, or in case you are fleeing war, torture or inhuman and/or degrading treatment, you can apply for asylum (international protection) in France.
In France, the national authorities are the ones responsible for processing applications for asylum (international protection) and deciding whether a person can benefit from protection. In France, the UNHCR therefore does not register refugees, does not examine asylum applications (international protection) and does not issue refugee documents.
- People who wish to apply for asylum in France while they are in their country of nationality or in a third country can contact the French embassy or consulate in this country and apply for an asylum-seeker visa. For information on the asylum-seeker visa, you can inquire here.
- If you are in a country of the European Union and if you have close family members in France, you can join them under the so-called “Dublin III” regulation if certain criteria are met. You can find more information here.
How to apply for asylum in France ?
To apply for asylum in France, you must first address yourself to the First Reception Structure for Asylum Seekers (SPADA), an association that will help you make your appointment at the one-stop shop of the prefecture of your place of residence.
If you live in Paris or Ile-de-France, you must first contact the French Office for Immigration and Integration (Ofii) by telephone, in order to obtain an appointment at the local SPADA office.
Applications for international protection must be submitted to the one-stop shop for asylum seekers (GUDA) with territorial jurisdiction where your application will be registered.
The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), the French organization for international protection, will examine your request, interview you and decide whether or not to grant you protection, in accordance with French, European and international legislation. OFPRA can decide:
- to grant refugee status;
- not to recognize refugee status and to grant the benefit of subsidiary protection;
- to reject the asylum application (both the refugee status and the benefit of subsidiary protection).
If you leave France for another country of the European Union without being authorized to do so, and while your application for international protection is still under examination in France, the authorities of this country could send you back to France, under the Dublin Regulation III. The same applies if, before your arrival in France, you requested protection in another European Union country. In this case, the French authorities have the right to send you back to this country. You can find more information on this here.
My asylum application was rejected. What can I do ?
The appeal deadlines must be respected. Before the CNDA, the benefit of legal aid (recourse to a lawyer) is automatic unless your appeal is inadmissible. The CNDA will either confirm the decision (refusal), or cancel it by granting international protection.
UNHCR is not part of the national procedure for international protection in France and therefore cannot cancel negative decisions or suspend forced returns to the country of origin.
For more information on the international protection procedure, you can visit this page. You will also find the guide for asylum seekers published by the Ministry of the Interior available in several languages and a frequently asked questions section.