2. Initial steps at the one-stop service for asylum application (GUDA: prefecture and Ofii)

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[ Latest update : 18 June 2018 ]

2-1. The Sorting of asylum-seekers by the prefecture (normal and fast-track procedure)

After the reception platform – SPADA ([factsheet no. 1]), you must go to the GUDA (one stop service for asylum application, prefecture and Ofii) at the date of the convocation given to you by the SPADA. In France, their are 34 one-stop services (list)

Caution: do not miss this appointment because it will be difficult to obtain another one.

Caution: you must communicate, if needs be, any change of address or domiciliation to the prefecture by registered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt.

1. At the prefecture, your fingerprints will be taken to see if you are registered on a Eurodac [1] and Vis (visa information system [2]). The prefecture has to give you a brochure explaining why your fingerprints are taken untitled "I asked for asylum in the European Union : which country will handle my claim ?".

The prefecture will also look for other evidence (or signs) of passage through another country of the European Union: you will be asked questions about your journey, your passport will be examined (to see if there is a visa for any other European country-), as well as other documents that you provide them, to see if you have traveled through another EU country.

Note: even if you do not possess a passport or identity card, the prefecture must record the information that you provide orally.
  • If your fingerprints are stored on a Eurodac file, or if the prefecture finds another indication of your passage through another European country, you will be transferred to the “Dublin” procedure (factsheet no.3).
  • If the prefecture finds no proof that you have traveled through another country of the European Union, you can apply for asylum in France.
Note: before reporting to the prefecture, you cannot find out if you are on a Eurodac file or not. The countries that you have traveled through (Italy, Hungary, Greece, etc.) and in which you have gone through screening may not have recorded your fingerprints on the file.
Note: if you refuse to provide your fingerprints at the prefecture, you will be automatically placed in the fast-track procedure (see below)

Some prefecture refuse to register asylum requests is your fingerprints are unreadable but its illegal, you have to contact an association or a lawyer to challenge this kind of practice.

2. The prefecture must provide you with a copy [3] of the Guide for asylum-seekers in a language that you understand (translations available on the site) and a list of associations that can help you.

3. You may be placed either on the ‘normal’, ‘fast-track’ or “Dublin” procedure (“normale”, “accélérée” or “Dublin”) [4].

Caution: the fast-track procedure is not in your interests (quick and superficial examination of your request).

You will be placed on the fast track procedure:

  • If you do not provide your fingerprints, or if they are illegible or erased;
  • If you provide false identity documents and the prefecture becomes aware;
  • If you provide incorrect information about your journey and the prefecture becomes aware;
  • If the prefecture notices that you have already requested asylum in France under another name;
  • If you say that you entered France more than 120 days ago;
  • If you are arrested and the police force you to leave the territory (an “OQTF” – an order to leave French Territory”) and you are placed in a detention facility…

Furthermore, the law provides that the prefecture will place you in the fast-track procedure if:

The prefecture must provide you with a document that explains why you have been placed into the fast-track procedure. Ask for it if they do not give it to you!

Note: No appeal is possible against placement in the fast-track procedure. You can only appeal against this decision before the Cour nationale du droit d’asile (CNDA).
If you have been wrongly placed in the fast-track procedure, it’s possible to send a letter to the OFPRA to request that it transfers you to the normal procedure.

According to the law, the Ofpra (factsheet n°4) has only 2 weeks to decide your fate but the delays are longer in practice. Especially is the fast-track procedure, it is essential to carefully prepare your written asylum statement on the Ofpra form (factsheet no.4-2).

If your asylum application is rejected by the Ofpra, only one judge will examine your appeal to the CNDA (instead of 3 under the normal procedure). This judge makes their ruling within 5 weeks instead of five months, which means there is less time to examine your appeal. As for now, this time limit is not respected.

4. You receive your asylum application acknowledgement

The prefecture will provide you with an “attestation de demande d’asile” (asylum application acknowledgement), valid for 1 month, which will indicate in which procedure you have been placed (“normal”, “fast-track” or “Dublin”). This document proves that you are an asylum-seeker: you must have it on your person in case you are stopped and checked by the police (the original or a photocopy).

You must return to the prefecture to renew this acknowledgement at the date indicated on the convocation, with:

Note: the prefecture will provide you with, in addition to the acknowledgement a renewal appointment date. It is possible that the date for this appointment is outside the period of validity of the asylum application acknowledgement, but your protection will still be maintained.

Under the normal procedure, the second asylum application acknowledgement is valid for 9 months, then renewable every 6 months. Under the fast-track procedure, it is valid for 6 months, then renewable every 3 months.

In case of an appeal before the CNDA, the acknowledgement will only be renewed upon presentation of the receipt of the appeal before the CNDA.

Caution: the asylum application acknowledgement does not permit you to freely travel between other countries of the European Union.

The prefecture can refuse to provide you with an attestation if it is your second request for reassessment or if your subject to an obligation to leave the French territory (OQTF). This refusal can be appealed before the administrative court (see all the cases of refusal Art. L.743-2 of the Ceseda).

If the Ofpra rejects your asylum application or declares it ineligible (factsheet no. 4-1), your asylum application acknowledgement will not be renewed.

Caution: It’s useful to keep copies of all your documents especially attestations of asylum application because if the prefecture illegally takes it away from you, the lawyer will be able to use the copies.

5. The prefecture must also provide you with the Ofpra form (factsheet no. 4-1).

Important: It’s advised to send your file to the Ofpra with a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt in order to have a proof of your submission. Therefore you will be able, if the Ofpra didn’t send you a registration letter , to go to the prefecture for the renewal of your attestation with the copy of the proof that you send the file.

2-2. The role of the Ofii (French office for immigration and integration)

The Ofii, a government body, must inform you of your rights and deal with your accommodation and your asylum-seeker’s allowance (ADA).

Caution: the Ofii will offer you the chance to sign the “l’offre de prise en charge” (a formal agreement for assistance) to obtain accommodation and asylum-seeker’s allowance. If you accept this agreement, you may be allocated lodgings and the allowance. If you refuse, you will not have the right to anything.

1. Accommodation

The Ofii must offer you accommodation according to the number of places available at the Asylum-seekers’ reception center (Cada), at a temporary reception center for asylum (AT-SA, emergency accommodation), in emergency accommodation for asylum-seekers (Huda) or in centers of reception and orientation (Cao). It consults the DN@ file (national file for the management of Cada places).

If the Ofii does not provide you with an offer of accommodation,it will direct you to the SPADA. You will be instructed to call 115 in order to find emergency accommodation by yourself.

The reception center may have different operating rules but they are all subject to the same obligations (general conditions), in particular with regard to administrative, medical and social assistance (see the center operating rules).

2. Postal address

If you are provided with “long-term” lodgings in a center, you will be able to use this address for your asylum procedure. The postal address declaration form will be filled in by the center.
If you are not accommodated in a center, you must return to the SPADA (factsheet no.1) which will provide you with a postal address to receive your mail.

Caution: you must collect your mail regularly (once a week). If you do not go to the SPADA for one month, the SPADA can close your address [5]
Note: you can be “domiciled” at an individual person’s address, but you must explain that it is only a postal address, not personal accommodation.

3. The asylum-seeker’s allowance (ADA)

The PADA will provide you a cash withdrawal card of this allowance usable in ATMs. It is advisable to open a bank account (at the ‘Banque postale’).

To open an account: you need the asylum application acknowledgement and a valid address. In case of any difficulties, you can ask the SPADA or the accommodation center for assistance (see "how to open an account").

The ADA amount is 6.80 euros per day and per person on their own ; for 2 people (10,20 euros); for 3 people (13,60 euros)…; 5,40 euros more for people without accommodations.

To receive ADA [6], you need:

You will receive the ADA throughout your asylum procedure at the end of every month following the notification of the Ofpra or the CNDA decision, or up to the date of transfer for persons under the Dublin procedure.

In cases of reassessment of your asylum request : Ofii can refuse but the decision must be justified in writing after meeting with you to examine your situation.

Your allowance may be discontinued if:

  • You refuse an offer of accommodation without a legitimate reason;
  • You have missed one or more appointments at the prefecture or the Ofii;
  • You have left your accommodation without reason for a period of 5 days.

In any of the above cases, the decision to discontinue ADA, to refuse ADA must be in writing and justified (arts. D,744-35, D,744-36, D.744-37). Otherwise, an appeal before a court is possible.

Caution: In case of notification of“intention de suspension de conditions matérielles d’accueil” (intent to stop the material conditions of reception), observations have to be made within 15 days by letter with an acknowledgement of receipt to challenge the decision.

The Ofii is likely to wrongly stop the ADA. A significant jurisprudence exist at the level of administrative tribunals and the Council of state.

4. Vulnerability

The Ofii will conduct a personal interview with you to find out if you are a “vulnerable” asylum-seeker [7]. For example, a person who is deemed “vulnerable” may be handicapped, pregnant or ill.

You will then be a priority case for accommodation which must be suitable for your particular needs.

Note: this information may be provided to you at the Ofpra.


[1Eurodac (database of fingerprints for asylum-seekers and migrants screened while crossing an external border of the European Union, as required by the Dublin regulation – factsheet no. 3)

[2Database specialized in visa applications for France with photos and digital fingerprints

[3Caution: if the prefecture does not provide you with a copy of this guide, this can later be used by a lawyer to have the decision revoked to transfer you to another EU country under the “Dublin” procedure. If the request for asylum is examined by the French authorities, you should inform the Ofpra and the CNDA that you have not received this guide.

[4See the Government memorandum (“circulaire”) dated 2 November 2015.

[5Except in the case of a justifiable absence (Ceseda, art. R. 744-3).

[6Ministerial information of the 1st of December 2015

[7A form is provided for this purpose (family and social situation, questions about your accommodation needs, accessibility needs, questions on any possible health problems, etc.)

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Latest update : Monday 18 June 2018, 12:36
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