Applying for asylum in France

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[ Latest update : 4 July 2024 ]

The asylum procedure is complicated and sometimes difficult to understand. All the factsheets are up to date with law n°2024-42 of January 26th 2024 “to control immigration, improve integration” known as the “Darmanin” law (loi “pour contrôler l’immigration, améliorer l’intégration”).

The following Gisti factsheets aim to provide asylum seekers and those who help them with the information they need to apply for asylum, assert their rights and avoid the traps set by the French administration.

Legal advice : Exilé.es La chapelle

Every monday, between 2 pm and 5 pm, 10 rue affre 75018 Paris.

The legal advice provided only concerns questions relating to the Dublin procedure, CMA questions (problem with the Ofii), OQTF (obligation to leave French territory) and CNDA appeals, and issues encountered when registering your asylum claim (legal advice only in English and French).

Who are we ?

This legal clinic is set up by activists and various associations (ATMF, Dom’asile, GISTI, La Cimade, ADDE, ELENA).

All people working there are willing to fight for your rights, by your side, and support you when facing difficulties with the administration.

We are not related in any way to the public services organisations in charge of refugees’ reception (Prefecture, OFPRA, OFII or any association commissioned by the government like FTDA, Croix-Rouge, Coallia, Emmaüs solidarité…).

Already greatly transformed in 2015 and 2018, the asylum procedure outline has just been significantly changed again by the 2024-42 law of January 26th 2024 “to control immigration, improve integration” (“pour contrôler l’immigration, améliorer l’intégration”, or “loi Darmanin”) which reformed the Ceseda (« Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile » or “code for entry and residence of foreigners and for the right to asylum”). As per usual in the field of foreigners’ rights and asylum, the legislators did not try simplifying the procedure but, on the contrary, made it even more technical and difficult to understand by asylum seekers or by the people who assist them.

The few small improvements brought by these laws are, as always, outweighed by a multitude of other measures taken in order to reinforce the controlling of migrants, in order to “sort” them according to their administrative status, or in order to suspend or withdraw their rights—sometimes completely arbitrarily—so as to make them even more precarious, in order to lock them up, to remove them from the asylum procedure, to expel them…

The migratory policies and refugees reception crisis has now lasted for several years. This crisis is orchestrated by France itself, which instead of trying to adapt its system to better welcome people (centers for first reception, reception at the police prefecture, sufficient housing, real administrative, social and legal assistance), has chosen to control people even more and turn away as many people as possible.

All of this is made possible by resorting to a legal arsenal, including the infamous Dublin Regulation which determines the country responsible for examining an asylum application. This regulation -which is becoming increasingly restrictive - is used excessively even though all European countries are conscious that they cannot force people to stay in a country in which they do not want to settle down. In contradiction with legal standards and against all common sense, resorting to the Dublin regulation results in an inflation of the number of forced deportations, back-and-forth trips, and illegal practices of massively turning away people at borders. France itself has never complied with its reception of asylum seekers obligations, and, for many years, has preferred mistreating them, hoping that people will leave and spread the message to others that France is not a hospitable country to discourage them from coming.

Despite measures taken by the authorities to put an end to refugee camps, the camps are not disappearing. After each dismantling, they simply split up in smaller camps popping up elsewhere gathering just a few dozen to a few hundred people. In the Paris region, it still takes months before one can file an asylum claim. The long waiting lines in front of pre-prefectures have now transformed into invisible phone lines with the establishment of a telephone number, difficult to get through to, to get an appointment at the first reception center.

Once one has finally been able to start the asylum procedure, the French Office on Immigration and Integration (Ofii), substantially restricts the right to material reception conditions (CMA) for asylum seekers, leaving them in extremely precarious situations and degrading conditions throughout the whole asylum procedure.

Regarding the asylum application itself, the French Office for the Protection of refugees and stateless persons (Ofpra) and the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) interpret the Geneva Convention exceedingly restrictively.
In 2023, the protection rate is merely of 31,5% by the Ofpra and 20,7% before the CNDA.

Although it is impossible to list all of the traps set by the administration, these fact sheets aim to provide the information required to submit an asylum application, and assert one’s rights.


  • always keep a copy of the documents you submit to the authorities
  • never give originals (except for the passport that you have to submit to Ofpra)
Note: for the writing of this publication and the various fact sheets that are translated in several languages, we have made the choice not to use gender inclusive writing - used in our other publications - so as not to complicate the reading by foreign people and to facilitate their translation.


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Latest update : Thursday 4 July 2024, 14:50
URL de cette page : www.gisti.org/article5221