A. Obtaining assistance from the ASE (Aide sociale à l’enfance)
Unaccompanied foreign minors ("mineurs non accompagnés” or “MNA”) benefit from child protection measures. You are classified as an unaccompanied foreign minor if you are less than 18 years old and you have no legal representative in France. France then has the obligation to protect you until you reach adulthood (18 years old), even if you have not made an asylum application. As an unaccompanied minor, you have the right to make an asylum request. However, we usually advise unaccompanied minors to first start by requesting child protection from the ASE (Aide sociale à l’enfance) of the department where you live. The ASE will take care of your housing, health insurance, and education.
Once you have asked for protection, your department’s ASE (child social assistance service) will carry out an assessment interview to determine your age (you must be less than 18 years old) and isolation (that you are genuinely unaccompanied in France).
- You must describe your journey from your country of origin;
- If you have ID papers, they will be examined;
- You might be required to take a medical examination in order to determine how old you are.
In many departments, you might be sent to the prefecture that will take your fingerprints, a photo of you and collect all personal information to compare it to information on foreigners in their files. You can decline going to the prefecture, but this may reinforce the ASE and prefecture’s suspicions that you are not a minor.
1. Where to go for an assessment interview?
In certain departments, you must go to the ASE located within the Conseil départemental. In other departments, you must go to the reception and evaluation center:
- In Paris: the center is called the “DEMIE” (evaluation unit for unaccompanied foreign minors) and is held by the Red Cross: 5 rue du Moulin Joly 75011 Paris (métro Couronnes, ligne 2).
It may take several days to obtain an evaluation interview.
Open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 pm and Wednesday from 8.30 a.m. to 6 pm and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
- In Seine-Saint-Denis (93), it is the “PEMIE”:1-15 rue Benoît Frachon 93000 Bobigny.
Open from Monday to Friday from 9a.m. to 4p.m. (except from Thursday afternoons);
- In Val-de-Marne (94), the “PEOMIE” : 6 rue Albert Einstein 94000 Créteil.
Open : Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30p.m.
While waiting for your protection decision, the ASE must provide you with a shelter. You need to go and collect the ASE’s decision two to three days after the interview, from the place where your interview took place.
2. If the ASE refuses to offer you assistance
You can make a direct request to the juvenile court to order the ASE to assist you. This procedure may take a few months. You do not have to wait for the court’s decision to apply for asylum.
If you live in the Paris region , you can be assisted by going to:
- the ADJIE (assistance and protection of young unaccompanied foreign nationals): 49 ter avenue de Flandres 75019 Paris (metro Stalingrad, lines 2, 5 and 7).
- The Paris bar’s minors’ branch, on the ground floor or the Paris Tribunal (Porte de Clichy, metro lines 13 and 14). Open: Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday and Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In other regions, other associations can help you.
B. Applying for asylum as an unaccompanied minor
Requesting assistance from the ASE does not prevent you from applying for asylum.
The procedure is the same as for an adult but you need to be represented by an ad-hoc guardian (AAH) to submit your request. The ad-hoc guardian (AAH) is an adult assigned by the judiciary system to represent you and assist you in your administrative procedures regarding asylum. The prefecture is in charge of contacting the public prosecutor is that they can provide you with an AAH. The AAH does not necessarily have extensive knowledge of how the asylum procedure works, therefore, you need to ask for assistance from one of the specialist associations.
You may be placed into the fast-track procedure (factsheet 2) if:
- you come from a “safe country of origin”;
- your request for reconsideration is deemed ineligible;
- if you are considered as a threat to the public order, public security, or the safety of the state.
You cannot be placed in the “Dublin” procedure and transferred to the first European country where your fingerprints were taken (factsheet 3). France is obliged to register your asylum request because it needs to take into account your vulnerability and the best interest of the child. However -based on the Dublin regulation, you can ask to join a family member who has applied for asylum in another European Union country.
As a minor, you cannot be placed in an asylum seekers’ reception center (Cada), nor receive the asylum-seeker’s allowance (ADA) (factsheet 2). Only the ASE can provide accommodation for unaccompanied minors.
You can download the Watizat guide on their website for addresses for unaccompanied minors in Paris, Lyon and the Oise department. All information concerning isolated minors is framed in pink.