OFPRA front desk. Illustration image. | Photo: Gouvernement.fr
OFPRA front desk. Illustration image. | Photo: Gouvernement.fr

Some people granted asylum in EU countries like Greece or Italy want to leave and move to France. InfoMigrants explains what can be done.

Some foreigners granted international protection in an EU country sometimes wish to move to France. It is not impossible, but the procedure can be complicated. There are two different options depending on your situation.

You were allowed to stay in France

If you received international protection in a country (Greece, for example) and you want to move to France, you must contact the French embassy or consulate where you are and apply for a long-stay visa.

But "the protection of a state does not automatically open a right to settle in any country of the European Union (EU)", Sophie Pegliasco, director of cabinet of the French refugee agency OFPRA said.

In other words, asylum is not automatically "transferable" from one country to another.

A foreign national will therefore be subject to regular procedure. Before coming, you will have to apply for a long-stay visa: for private family life, professional activity or studies. Obtaining a long-stay Schengen visa entitles you to stay and travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days.

Once you obtain your visa, upon arrival in France, you will have to reapply for asylum and follow the classic procedure: going through a SPADA (first reception structure for asylum seekers), filing an application for asylum at the prefecture, interviewing with OFPRA, etc.

During your interview, you must mention you were already granted asylum in another country, and importantly, that you have obtained a long-stay visa. "If the Minister of the Interior has authorized a person to stay in France [even though they already are a refugee in another country], the OFPRA will take that into account,” Pegliasco explained. "In this case, the law allows for the transfer of protection to proceed."

You have not been authorized to stay in France

If you have not obtained a visa and you are nevertheless going to France, you will also have to follow the classic asylum application procedure.

Except that in this case, having previously obtained protection in another country can play against you.

In the absence of a visa to stay in France, "the asylum seeker who already has a protection deemed effective in his first host country will see his application declared inadmissible by the OFPRA", Pegliasco told InfoMigrants.

For the OFPRA, as well as for the asylum appeals court (CNDA), the standards of protection within the countries of the European Union are the same. There is a "presumption of rights guarantees". That is to say that the state considers that the rights of persons under international protection everywhere in the EU respected.

In the eyes of the OFPRA, the foreigner in question therefore does not need new protection. "It is up to the asylum seeker to report the elements tending to demonstrate that his rights are not respected" in the country where he was protected, Pegliasco said.

However, as with any asylum application, the person will be invited for an interview. "We will really examine the individual situation of the person, there may be special cases," Pegliasco added.

In the case of a person who has obtained protection in a non-EU country, there is no presumption of rights guarantee.


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