Ofpra's premises in Fontenay-sous-Bois | Photo: RFI
Ofpra's premises in Fontenay-sous-Bois | Photo: RFI

Due to the nationwide lockdown in France, some administrative services are suspended and some exceptional measures have been put in place. InfoMigrants takes a look at services dealing with the rights of foreigners.

The lockdown came into force on Tuesday, March 17 throughout France and will last at least 15 days in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. 

If you are a foreigner in France, the emergency measure may have consequences for your administrative procedures. 

Here is an inventory of the various services and exceptional measures that have been introduced, effective as of March 17:

  • The validity of foreigners' residence documents will be extended

Asylum seekers and holders of expired residence permits don’t need to panic. The validity of the residence documents will be extended for three months from Monday, March 16. 

"In order to secure the presence in the territory of legal aliens, and to avoid any questioning of the rights conferred on them by the residence document they hold, in particular the right to work and to benefit from social rights, the period of validity of documents [...] which would expire as of March 16, will be extended by three months," the police prefecture said.

This applies to residence permits currently in circulation (including asylum application certificates and substitute documents (récépissés) that are handed out while residence permit are renewed), provisional residence permits and long-stay visas.

"There will therefore be no break in the allowance paid to asylum seekers," Didier Leschi, director of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII), told InfoMigrants.

  • Ofpra interviews scheduled between March 16 and 29 have been postponed

Interviews with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) are postponed. The site states that "no civil status documents can be issued on Ofpra's premises." 

However, the filing of asylum applications will continue. Asylum seekers who need to submit their application are invited to do so by post.

Despite the particular context, no deadline extension is envisaged: files must always be sent to Ofpra within 21 days of the issue of an asylum application certificate at a point of service.

  • Refugee resettlement missions from abroad have been postponed

Ofpra's relocation or resettlement missions for refugees from abroad have been postponed. For the time being, this applies to operations scheduled for March.

"They will be rescheduled when conditions permit, probably more intensively, to be able to meet France's commitments for the years 2020-2021," Ofpra noted.

  • The OfII is suspending non-essential services

The OFII has announced the suspension of "all procedures for receiving the public outside the asylum procedure." Thus, the training courses planned under the auspices of the Republican Integration Contract (CIR), such as French language courses, and medical examinations for foreigners, are suspended for the time being.

"We're shutting down everything that isn't essential. All our forces are concentrated on receiving asylum seekers," said Leschi, who added that "more and more structures (CADA) are now refusing to take in asylum seekers.”

  • Situation varies in different prefectures

While asylum application procedures are maintained, some service points where one must collect the asylum application form to be returned to Ofpra are closed.

One example is the police prefecture in charge of Paris and the inner suburbs, which announced on Twitter that "the reception of the public at the police prefecture is suspended until further notice".

"The situation is very varied across the country," said Leschi, referring to the points of service.

  • Hearings at the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) have been suspended

Hearings at the CNDA, responsible for ruling on appeals of Ofpra's decisions on asylum applications, are suspended from Monday, March 16 for an indefinite period of time.


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