Right of asylum

The right of asylum is a right allowing people born outside of France to obtain refugee status or subsidiary protection against persecution or the risk of persecution in their country of origin.

Verified by Alexandra Lachowsky on 29/09/2023


You have to meet two conditions:

  • You must be in France.
  • You face the risk of persecution or mistreatment if you return to your country.

Status granted

The protection granted to you will depend on the risks you are faced with.

You will be granted refugee status if you have suffered or fear persecution due to:

  • your political opinions
  • your religious affiliation
  • your race
  • your nationality
  • your membership of a certain social group, e.g. people who are subjected to forced marriages or genital mutilation, gay/transgender people, people linked to a sex trade/human trafficking network, albino people in certain countries, people who have experienced domestic or family violence, etc.

You will be granted subsidiary protection or “protection subsidiaire” if you do not qualify for refugee status and you can demonstrate that you are at risk of:

  • the death penalty or execution
  • torture or inhuman and degrading punishments or treatment
  • a serious threat targeted against you in the context of an armed conflict.

Type of “titre de séjour” issued

When you make an asylum application, you will receive a certificate of application for asylum or “attestation de demande d’asile”. This authorises you to stay in France while you are waiting for the response to your application.

If your application is accepted, you are authorised to stay in France for the long term. You must then apply to the local French administrative authority, known as the “préfecture” or “sub-préfecture”, for a residence permit or “titre de séjour”.

The type of “titre de séjour” you will receive depends on the status you will be granted:

  • If you receive refugee status, you will receive a “carte de résident”, or resident card. It is valid for ten years. It allows you to work.
  • If you have “protection subsidiaire” or subsidiary protection, you will receive a multi-year residence permit card or “carte de séjour pluriannuelle” stating “bénéficiaire de la protection subsidiaire” or beneficiary of subsidiary protection. It is valid for four years. It allows you to work.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • La Cimade” is an organisation that specialises in supporting all immigrant and migrant people, and refugees in France, particularly people facing violence.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you and support you in your administrative procedures related to the right of residence in France, and direct you to other services depending on your personal situation.
    • Languages available: French, English and Spanish.
    • Contact :
      • without an appointment at a centre near you
      • by telephone on 01 40 08 05 34 or 06 77 82 79 09 on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Gisti” is an organisation specialising in legal advice to immigrants and refugees in France.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you about your rights relating to your residency rights and explain how to obtain them.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact:
      • By phone on +331 84 60 90 26 from Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. The line is sometimes saturated, do not be discouraged. It is sometimes easier to reach them towards the end of the day.
      • By post to “Gisti, 3 villa Marcès 75011 Paris, France”. Print and complete this form and include in your letter with a photocopy of any administrative documents that could be relevant. Be sure to specify your question as clearly as possible, including all elements that could help the “Gisti” advisor to understand your situation.
  • Associations” are organisations that offer various services. Some are specialised in immigration.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights in France, and sometimes support you with immigration procedures.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can search by region and department in this directory.
  • Authorised associations or “associations habilitées” can offer highly specialised services to asylum seekers.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They can inform you about your rights, advise you, support you in your administrative procedures and come with you to your meeting with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons or “Office français de la protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (OFPRA)”.
    • Language available: mainly French, interpretation possible.
    • Contact: you can find a “associations habilitées” near you in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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