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

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[ Latest update : 20 November 2016 ]

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

After the reception centre ([factsheet no. 1]), you must report to the prefecture on the date indicated on the notification. The prefecture must make an appointment for you within 3 days (or 10 days if the number of asylum-seekers is high).

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

1. At the prefecture, your fingerprints will be taken to see if you are registered on a Eurodac [1].

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 travelled 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 travelled 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 travelled 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)

2. The prefecture must provide you with a copy [2] 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.

Caution: it is essential that you inform the prefecture of any change of address or domiciliation by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgement of receipt.

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

Caution: the fast-track procedure is not in your interests.

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 Ofpra 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).
Important: it is possible – if you have been mistakenly placed in the fast-track procedure – to send a letter to the OFPRA to request that it transfers you to the normal procedure.

The Ofpra has only 2 weeks to decide your fate. The Ofpra may not even request you to attend an interview. In this case, you will not be able to make your statement: it is therefore very important 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.

4. You receive your asylum application acknowledgement

Note: For those people who submitted their request before the 1 November 2015, the previous system for receipts remains.

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 notification, with:

Note: the prefecture will provide you with, in addition to the receipt,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.

Caution: in some prefectures (e.g. Paris), if your receipt has expired and you have still not received a reply from the Ofpra, it is essential that you report to the prefecture to request a renewal 2 weeks before the end of the acknowledgement’s period of validity.

Important: you are advised to send the file to the OFPRA by recorded delivery with acknowledgement of receipt in order to obtain a proof of submission. You may then report to the prefecture with the photocopy of the proof that you have sent the file.

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

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 acknowledgement if it is your second request for reassessment. This refusal can be appealed before the administrative court.

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

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

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 centre (Cada), at a temporary reception centre for asylum (AT-SA, emergency accommodation) or in emergency accommodation for asylum-seekers (Huda). 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 Reception centre (PADA). You will be instructed to call 115 in order to find emergency accommodation by yourself.

The reception centres 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 centre operating rules).

2. Postal address

If you are provided with “long-term” lodgings in a centre, you will be able to use this address for your asylum procedure. The postal address declaration form will be filled in by the centre.
If you are not accommodated in a centre, you must return to the PADA (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 PADA for one month, the PADA can close your address [4]
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 with an information document about ADA. It is advisable to open a bank account (at the ‘Banque postale’) before going to the prefecture in order to provide bank account details (a “RIB”) for the account into which you will receive ADA payments.

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

The ADA amount is 6.80 euros per day and per person on their own + 3.40 euros per additional person: partner or child(ren) (4,20 euros more for people without house).

To receive ADA, 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 be refused but the decision must be justifiable.

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 justifiable.

For information about the ADA: Ofii call centre number:

4. Vulnerability

The Ofii will conduct a personal interview with you to find out if you are a “vulnerable” asylum-seeker [5]. 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)

[2Caution: 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.

[3See the Government memorandum (“circulaire”) dated 2 November 2015.

[4Except in the case of a justifiable absence (Ceseda, art. R. 744-3).

[5A 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 : Thursday 25 February 2016, 18:29
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