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Proof that you do learn some interesting stuff as part of Uni course work. Enjoy!! :)

When a sans-papiers (person without legal papers/passport) arrives at the French border they are detained by the PAF (la police aux frontières - French border police) and interviewed. The PAF have to determine whether the sans-papiers may enter French territory or not, based on various social and legal conditions. If they believe the application for admission to be unfounded the sans-papiers is sent to another country signatory to the Dublin Convention.There is no legal definition of the criteria for declaring an application to be manifestly unfounded, but the criteria outlined in the London resolution on manifestly unfounded applications are applied on an unofficial basis.

Admission procedures at entry points are governed by the Ordinance of 2 November 1945 on the conditions of entry and residence of foreigners, as ammended by the Act of 26 February 1992, which introduced the liability of carriers transporting undocumented passengers.

The PAF are required by law to infrom the Ministry of the Interior of the arrival.The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs work hand-in-hand in determining whether the asylum seeker may enter the country. While waiting to find out whether s/he is to be deported, the asylum seeker is detained in a waiting zone. Once admitted to a waiting zone the sans-papiers is then interviewed by an official of OFPRA (l'Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides - French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons), an autonomous body of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the recommendation of the official the Ministry of the Interior then comes to a decision. Negative decisions can be appealed in the 24 hours after the decision has been made, but this does not suspend deportation.

The laws of July 6, 1992 and December 27, 1994 allowed for the creation of these waiting zones at the borders; at train stations, airports and ports. These zones are international territory. The authorities can detain a sans-papiers for upto 20 days while they decide whether the application for entry to French territory is manifestly unfounded or not. In these zones the foreigners are entitled to interpreting and medical assistance. They may also seek advice from a lawyer, but no free legal assistance is available. Access to these zones is limited for NGOs but UNHCR representatives have de facto permanent access to asylum seekers held in the waiting zones.

If the applicant receives a positive response the Ministry of the Interior then grants a sauf-conduit (safe conduct pass) which allows the applicant to apply for asylum with a Préfecture (French county/district). This pass is valid for 8 days and during this time the asylum seeker must present him/herself at a Préfecture to get a form for official application of asylum. Admissibilty is decided by the authorities of the Préfecture according to the conditions of the Dublin Convention, but OFPRA deals with cases which fall outside these conditions. If the authorities believe a case permisable (spell?) they grant a residence permit valid for one month which allows the asylum seeker time to complete and return the application form to OFPRA. A certificate of receipt is then issued to the applicant. The applicant must then present him/herself with this cert in hand to the Préfecture who then grant a residence permit valid for 3 months. This permit is renewable every three months until OFPRA reach a decision. It can take up to and over one year for OFPRA to process the application and come to a decision. If denied asylum by OFPRA, the asylum seeker can lodge an appeal to the CRR (la Commission des recours des réfugiés - Appeals Board for Refugees). The CRR is comprised of three judges who represent le Conseil d'Etat (Council of State - the highest administrative tribunal in France) , OFPRA and the UNHCR. In this case, appealing a decision does suspend deportation. In 1999 the CRR repealed 10% of negative decisions made by OFPRA. A negative decision made by the CRR can be appealed to the Conseil d'Etat, but only based on procedural conditions. This appeal does not suspend deportation.

The only refugee status granted in France is Geneva Convention status (1951). There are however other types of residence permits.
Residence permit on humanitarian grounds
This is granted under exceptional circumstances to a rejected asylum seeker who has been living (albeit illegally) in France for many years and who have integrated into French society; or an asylum seeker who can establish that return to their country of origin is impossible because they would be exposed to serious risks to their safety or liberty. In these cases, someone granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds is not considered a refugee. The permit is temporary, valid for 3,6 or 12 months and is accompanied with a working permit. A negative reply to application for this permit cannot be appealed.
N.B. An asylum seeker who is rejected at the border cannot apply for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds (because they have not been living on French territory).
Territorial asylum
Created in 1998 this form of asylum is granted in exceptional cases for reasons other than those laid down by the Geneva Convention. It is for the most part granted to Algerians This permit is temporary and may be accompanied by a working permit also.
Constitutional asylum
This is granted to individuals who have been/are persecuted because of their activities in the defence of liberty. It is for the most part a symbolic status and has only ever been granted once, in its first year of existence. (Do not ask me to whom because I haven't been able to find that out. If you know, please /msg me and I'll add it in).

According to the figures, between 1995 and 1999 there has been a one third increase in the number of applications for asylum seekers: 20,170 - 30,830. Despite these numbers, however, there has been a decrease in the number of seekers granted asylum status. Because of this, NGOs and the UNHCR have underlined problems existing in French immigration policy. They accused the PAF of frequently refusing to listen to the sans-papiers' reasons for application of asylum considering them simple illegal migrants (Le Monde, January 16, 2001). They maintain that at the borders the sans-papiers are often not informed of their rights and that in the waiting zones they don't have any access to their application for asylum files. The UNHCR also maintain that there are great differences in the procedural practices from region to region and that the criteria for permitting residence varies greatly from préfecture to préfecture. They also criticised the length of time it takes to grant status, during which time the applicants are not allowed to work and so are forced to enrole for unemployment benefit and other social benefits (housing etc.).

So. In summary: the legal procedures for residence of sans-papiers is a lengthy and complicated one. Completely the opposite to first asylum. My advice? Make sure you take your passport with you...

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