3. The Dublin procedure

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[ Latest update : 17 November 2020 ]

> For more details see: Gisti, Les notes pratiques, L’accompagnement des demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile en procédure « Dublin », avril 2018. (Gisti, Practical guides, Accompanying asylum seekers in the Dublin procedure, April 2018).

According to the rules of Dublin III, only one Member State is responsible for the assessment of an asylum request in the European Union.

According to these rules:

  • If you asked for asylum in another member state of the EU, this country stays responsible for your asylum request (whether the request is ongoing or rejected);
  • If you didn’t ask for asylum elsewhere, “the Dublin III” regulations provide criteria that will enable France to determine the country responsible for the asylum request. For example, it can be the country which issued your first visa or a residence permit, or the country through which you entered the EU in and in which you first had your identity checked. This responsibility of member states ends twelve months after the date of an illegal crossing of the border. Other criteria, more positive, are provided such as the being a minor or having family in France (articles 7 to 17 of theAppel à soutiens ! regulations).

A. The prefecture determines which Member State is responsible for an asylum request

To do so, it consults:

  • the visa information system (Visabio) to determine if you received a visa for another EU member state;
  • the Eurodac file in which your fingerprints are recorded if they were taken in one of the 28 Member State of the European Union or the 4 associated countries: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
Note: Although EU member states now almost always record fingerprints in the Eurodac file, it still sometimes happens that fingerprints are not correctly recorded, or even not recorded at all.

The Eurodac file collects data on:

  • asylum seekers (category 1 – fingerprints kept for 10 years);
  • persons apprehended while illegally crossing an external border (category 2 – fingerprints kept for 18 months).

Persons who are illegally in the territory of a member state (category 3) can also have their fingerprints checked and compared, but their fingerprint will be destroyed after being compared.

Warning: in some prefectures, you can be placed in the “Dublin” procedure solely on the basis of your declaration at the Guda police prefecture service window. The prefecture will look very carefully at your journey before arriving in France and the visa in your passport if you have one. However, in most services you will not be placed in the “Dublin” procedure solely on the basis of your declarations, but only if your fingerprints are registered in Eurodac or Visabio, no matter what you have declared.
Note: your fingerprints will be taken during your first appointment at the Guda. Refusing to give your fingerprints does not justify the prefecture refusing to record your request, but they will place you in the fast-track procedure. It is possible to make suspensive proceedings (“référé-liberté”) before an administrative court (TA) to challenge the refusal to record an asylum request with the help of an association or a lawyer.

B. The Dublin Procedure in action

If it is proven that you have traveled through another EU country, you are placed in the Dublin procedure; you will then attend an individual interview either with a translator or with a translator by telephone. The prefecture must provide you with a detailed report of the interview, as well as several information brochures in a language that you understand: one on the taking of fingerprints (brochure A1), one on the “Dublin” procedure (brochure B2) and one aboutthe Eurodac regulations. Even if it is not the country responsible for the asylum request, France still has the possibility to examine your request (see in particular article 17 of the regulation: discretionary provisions). This is why you must provide the prefecture with any information which could encourage the French authorities to examine your asylum application, such as:

  • the legal presence in France of members of your family with residence permits, who are seeking asylum or who are protected;
  • if you have health problems;
  • if you are pregnant;
  • ill treatment you have experienced while in the EU country to which it is intended to return you.
Note: If you provide this information at the time of the interview, we also advise you to send it as soon as possible to the prefecture by registered letter with delivery receipt. You will then have proof that you have provided this information and, in the case that you appeal the decision to transfer you to another country the lawyer or association representing you can use it.

Setting up the regionalization of Dublin procedures

Noting the “weak results” in terms of the application of the “Dublin” regulations and “of the execution of transfer decisions”, the French authorities started an experiment in 2017, consisting of entrusting specialized poles in the regional prefectures with processing the Dublin procedure. Two decrees were taken in 2017 and renewed in July 2018 to try out managing Dublin procedures in this way in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur and in Hauts-de-France. A decree of the month of August 2018 expanded this experiment to Burgundy-Franche-Comté. Then, several decrees taken in October 2018 generalized this regionalization. From now on, once the Guda has registered the asylum application, people in the Dublin procedure then have to go to one of the 10 specialized regional hubs called regional Dublin hubs (PRD) to have their "Dublin procedure" asylum application certificate renewed. It is thus the same prefect who will continue the implementation of the Dublin procedure and will make the decisions for transfer and house arrest where applicable (in all departments within the purview of the hub) during the determination of the responsible country. The PRD will also take care of organizing the transfer in connection with the border police.

The circular of July 30th 2018 lists the competent prefectures for applying Dublin regulations, and the numbers of civil servants allotted to the PRDs. Sometimes located several hundred kilometers from people’s place of residence, the prefecture must pay for transportation costs.

A note of July 6th 2018 on the fluidity of housing for asylum seekers specifies the housing arrangements for persons in the Dublin procedure, stating that they are "preparation for the execution of the transfer". The Interior Minister asks the prefect to take the decision to transfer as soon as possible, and to provide housing within 130 km of the prefecture, otherwise the Ofii will transfer people to closer housing.

RégionCompetant regional prefectureYou first made your asylum request in the following prefectures:
Hauts-de-France PRD de Lille Lille and Beauvais
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur PRD de Marseille Marseille and Nice
Grand Est PRD de Strasbourg Chalons, Metz and Strasbourg
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté PRD de Besançon Dijon, Besançon and Mâcon
Auvergne-Rhône Alpes PRD de Lyon Lyon, Grenoble and Clermont- Ferrand
Nouvelle Aquitaine PRD de Bordeaux Bordeaux, Limoges and Poitiers
Occitanie PRD de Toulouse Toulouse and Montpellier
Bretagne PRD de Rennes Rennes
Pays de la Loire PRD d’Angers Nantes and Angers
Centre Val-de-Loire PRD d’Orléans Orléans
Normandie PRD de Rouen Rouen and Caen

C. Deadlines

During the “Dublin” procedure, France and the country responsible for your request have deadlines to respect (a time limit to contact the other country’s authorities and a time limit to answer).

Time limit to contact the other countryTime limit to for the other country to answer FranceTime limit to transfer
1. requests to take back 3 months 1 month 6 months ((1 year in the case of imprisonment; 18 months in the case of escape) - If appeal is rejected by administrative court: the time limit starts over.
1. requests to take back (if you are in the Eurodac category 1file*) 2 months 15 days Idem (6, 12 ou 18 months)
2. Requests to take charge) 3 months 2 months Idem
2. Requests to take charge (if you are in the Eurodac category 2 file **) 2 months 1 month if it is urgent Idem
Detention center 1 month 15 days 6 weeks

* Category 1: fingerprints of all those who have applied for asylum in Member States.

** Category 2: fingerprints of persons who have been apprehended during illegal crossing of the external border of a Member State.

There is also a category 3: fingerprints of persons who were illegally in the territory of a Member State, when the competent authorities consider it necessary to verify the existence of a previous asylum application.

Warning: if you go through a CAES (factsheet 1), your fingerprints may be taken for the first time; it is important to keep a proof of that fingerprinting because it proves the start of your “Dublin” procedure. In fact, after your transfer to another housing center (Chum, CAO…) in another department, the prefecture could start the procedure all over again, even though this should be against the rules.

If you haven’t been transferred within 6 months starting on the day when the responsible country gave its consent (date stated on the transfer decision), France becomes the country responsible for your asylum request. You can also check the end of the 6-month time limit on the “laissez-passer” the prefecture has given you. If you made an appeal against the transfer decision, the 6-month deadline starts over again at the date of notification of the court’s decision (see E. Appealing a transfer decision).

D. You are declared to be “fleeing”

You will be declared to be “fleeing” if you missed one or more appointments at the prefecture, the Ofii, with the police or at the airport. In the last few months more and more people are said to be “fleeing”, and this happens as soon as the asylum application is submitted because the prefectures have been assigning more asylum seekers to house arrest, which requires them to sign in regularly at a police station. In addition, the appointment letters for the prefectures are sometimes written in such frightening terms (“appointment at the expulsion office, come with your luggage, go to the border police office in order for execution of the transfer”) that asylum seekers are afraid to go...and are declared to be fleeing.

Warning: If you are declared to be “fleeing”, contact a lawyer or an association because it is possible to make an appeal to the administrative court to deny that you are fleeing (see the Gisti jurisprudence note and the model-letters for asking the court for interim relief).

If you are declared to be “fleeing” and you do not appeal or you lose your appeal to the court, the amount of time after which France is again responsible for your asylum request becomes 18 months. You will have to wait 18 months to apply for asylum again in France.

If you are declared to be “fleeing” the Ofii will stop giving you the ADA allowance. Regarding housing, it depends on the center in which you are housed: some will try to keep you as long as possible and some will not hesitate to kick you out. After 18 months, you can return directly to the Guda to submit your asylum application in France. It is possible the Ofii may then refuse to provide you with the material reception conditions. In this case, contact an association.

E. Consequences for your asylum request

During the entire time of the Dublin procedure:

F. Appealing a “Dublin” transfer decision

When the responsible country has given its approval,a transfer ruling is notified. You may contest this decision before the administrative court (this appeal suspending the transfer).

Beware of the deadlines:
  • You must present your case to the administrative court within 15 days of receiving the transfer decision.
  • If you are placed in detention or house arrest you must bring your case before the court within 48 hours of receiving the transfer decision.

Warning: requesting legal aid does not stop the clock for these deadlines Your transfer cannot take place either before the end of this period nor before a judge has made their decision.

Before you start an appeal, you should contact a lawyer or an association that knows these procedures in order to judge how useful it would be. Certain procedural irregularities may allow the judge to annul the transfer decision (your right to be informed, translation). But it is also possible to use substantive elements, for example if you have suffered mistreatment in the country to which France wants to send you back, or if the reception conditions for refugees in this country are bad (failure of the state). Both of these types of arguments are important for challenging a transfer.

> For more information on appealing a transfer decision, consult the practical note on the Gisti website: L’accompagnement des deman-deurs et demandeuses d’asile en procédure « Dublin » (Accompanying asylum seekers in the "Dublin" procedure).

Appealing is a double-edged sword. If you appeal a transfer decision, the 6-month time limit to transfer you is not calculated starting from the answer of the responsible country but from the notification of the final court ruling. Therefore, the 6-month time limit begins “all over again” starting from the date of notification of the court ruling. Be careful then if the transfer decision was notified to you at the end of the “Dublin Procedure” (at end of the 4th or 5th month), as France will have a new 6 months to transfer you, starting with the notification of the decision. If the judge annuls the decision for strictly formal reasons (for example the obligation to inform was not respected), the prefect can still take another transfer decision in due form. If the decision was annulled for substantive reasons (for example an error made by the administration that cannot be "repaired", or if you have been subjected to mistreatment in the responsible country or that country has no "capacity" to receive you – failed state) the prefecture cannot issue a new transfer order. Thus, if the judge has annulled the transfer decision with an injunction to the prefecture to register the asylum application, the prefecture will have to obey it.

Thus, after a hearing, even if the court has annulled the transfer decision, it is better not to show up, and to wait for the end of the initial period of 6 months before returning by oneself to the prefecture. In any case, consult an association or your lawyer before going there.

If you already have appointments set in the framework of a transfer procedure, if the order was annulled, you legally have no obligation to show up for them. However, very often, if you do not show up for these appointments, the prefecture will declare you “fleeing” and you will lose the ADA allowance (factsheet 2).

Warning: at the time of notification, some prefectures send asylum seekers directly to the administrative court to appeal. People then introduce a request—without really knowing it—by signing a very short form written in French. Then, a court-appointed lawyer (who does not necessarily know this type of litigation) will plead the case without the presence of the asylum seeker, and with very little information to defend you. After several weeks, a decision - often a rejection - will be notified by mail.

It is important to be able to meet your lawyer in order to bring them useful information; if they do not call you, try to contact the court clerk to find out the date of the hearing which will generally be held a few days later.

In case of an appeal of the court’s decision by the prefect or by you, the time period after which France becomes responsible for your asylum application will not be extended; the prefecture must register it, in principle in the normal procedure.

If you wish to appeal the decision of the administrative court rejecting your request, you should know that judgment will take a long time. If you have the means to challenge this rejection, this recourse can be useful, in particular if you are later declared to be fleeing.

G. Appealing a house arrest order

If you are placed under "house arrest" ("assignation à résidence"), you will usually have to go to a police station, often twice a week or more, to sign a register.

If you fear being arrested there, ask an association for advice before deciding, because not going could also have serious repercussions: being declared to be “fleeing” and having to wait 18 months without any rights before being able to ask for asylum in France.

Appealing a "house arrest" decision will have the same consequences as appealing a transfer decision (the 6-month time period after which France becomes responsible for your request starts running again from the date of the court’s decision). Warning: The practices of the prefectures are quickly changing because of a clear intention to transfer more people or declare them “fleeing”. The choices you must make at the different stages (appeals, invitations to appointments) will have more or less significant consequences depending on the prefectures (arrest, being declared to be “fleeing”).

>For the different practices in the prefectures of the Île-de-France region see: www.lacimade.org/dublin-etat-des-lieux-et-conseils-pratiques-en-ile-de-france/

Warning: If you haven’t been transferred at the end of the 6-month period starting on the day when the responsible country gave its agreement for your transfer, and you have not been declared to be “fleeing”, France becomes responsible for your asylum application. You can go back to the Spada or the prefecture depending on the regions (in the Parisian region you can go directly in the Spada without getting an appointment through the Ofii telephone number again). You can ask an association for advice.

H. Transferred persons who come back to France

If you come back to France after being transferred to another EU member state, different situations can occur:

  • the prefecture refuses to register your asylum application. In that case, contact an association to take legal action against the refusal;
  • the prefecture accepts to register your application but places you again in the “Dublin” procedure; it appears that prefectures have been encouraged to do this. It’s possible to explain to the prefecture that you were subject to an obligation to leave the territory of the country to which you were transferred, or explain that the authorities forced you to go back to France. If you have kept some documents proving this you must bring them (decision of the country asking you to leave their territory, photos of the mistreatment you were subject to, etc.). It can also be useful to bring documents proving that you have strong links to France; they can influence the prefecture’s decision. Try to go to the prefecture with a person who speaks French well and can explain your situation. It’s important to always keep a copy of your obligation to leave the territory of the country initially responsible for your request, because some prefectures keep this document. If the prefecture doesn’t take it into account, you will be able to produce these proofs in front of the judge when you are appealing your transfer decision.
  • the prefecture registers your asylum request but you are placed in the “fast-track” procedure (procédure accélérée) with the justification that you “failed to comply with the Dublin procedure”. In that case, contact an association to engage legal proceedings if, following this, the Ofii refuses to grant you the ADA allowance.
  • finally, in the best-case scenario, the prefecture can register your asylum request in the normal procedure and hand you the Ofpra application file.

A criminal punishment which already existed for others has just been extended to persons in the Dublin procedure (Ceseda, Art. L. 624-3): the court can sentence to three years’ imprisonment any person who has avoided or who has tried to avoid the execution of a transfer decision. This measure targets in particular persons who return to France after their transfer. Similarly, a transferred person who has re-entered France without authorization will be punished by three years’ imprisonment.

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Latest update : Friday 11 January 2019, 15:38
URL de cette page : https://www.gisti.org/spip.php?article5231