Last update : July 2023

The “Dublin III Regulation” is used to determine the European country responsible for your asylum application on the basis of various criteria (family ties, visa or residence permit, first asylum application, fingerprints).

If the country where you claim asylum is not the country responsible for your asylum application, you risk being sent back to the country that is considered responsible.

Essential points

  • If you claim asylum and you have left your 10 fingerprints in another country, you risk being placed under the “Dublin procedure”. In this case, you may receive a “transfer order” and the French government will try to deport you to the country responsible for your asylum application (the country where you left your fingerprints).

  • If you decide to continue with the procedure, you will have to sign in at a police station or the prefecture to prove your presence in France. There is a risk that you will be arrested and deported. If you are still in France after 6 months, the “Dublin” procedure will be ended and you can be placed under one of the other procedures - the “normal procedure” or the “accelerated procedure”.

  • If you are placed under the “Dublin” procedure and decide to go into hiding and not sign in, you will be declared “on the run” and you will have to wait 18 months before you can be placed under the “normal procedure” or the “accelerated procedure”.

  • The figures vary, but only 10 to 20% of people who are placed under the “Dublin” procedure are actually deported to the country responsible for the asylum application.

  • At the moment, France cannot expel people under the “Dublin” procedure to Italy or Greece.

Some general advice

  • At all stages of your application and when you receive a decision or a paper, contact an organisation that can provide you with legal, administrative and moral support.

“Dublin” procedure

Under the “Dublin III Regulation”, a single Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application in the European Union (EU).

Under this regulation :

  •  if you have applied for asylum in another EU Member State, that country remains responsible for examining your asylum application (whether the application is still being examined or has been rejected);
  • if you have not applied for asylum elsewhere, the “Dublin III Regulation” sets out a series of criteria which will enable France to determine which State is responsible. For example, it could be the State that granted you a visa or residence permit, or the State through which you entered EU territory and where you were first checked.

This responsibility of the Member State ends 12 months after the date of the irregular border crossing when the fingerprints were taken. There are other, more positive criteria, such as being a minor (under 18 years old) or family ties in France (articles 7 to 17 of the regulation).

Determination by the prefecture of the country responsible for your asylum application

To determine the State responsible for your asylum application, the prefecture looks at :

  • the Visa Information System file (“Visabio”) to check whether you have obtained a visa for another EU country;

  • the “Eurodac” file, which records your fingerprints if they were taken when you arrived in one of the 28 EU countries or the 4 ‘associated’ countries: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Note: although EU countries are increasingly systematic in recording fingerprints in the Eurodac file, some fingerprints are still not recorded correctly, if at all.

The Eurodac file records:

  • asylum seekers (“category 1”: fingerprints kept for 10 years);

  • people who are stopped when crossing an external border irregularly (“category 2”: fingerprints kept for 18 months);

  • people found irregularly on the territory of a Member State (“category 3”: may also have their fingerprints compared with those contained in the two above files, but they are destroyed after this comparison is done).

Important! In some prefectures, you may be placed under the “Dublin” procedure on the basis of your declarations to the GUDA (guichet unique, see section on “Asylum”). The prefecture will pay close attention to the information you provide about your journey to France and the visas in your passport, if you have one. However, in most GUDAs, you will only be placed under the “Dublin” procedure if your fingerprints are registered in Eurodac or Visabio, regardless of your declarations.

Note: fingerprints are taken at the first appointment at the GUDA. Refusal to provide your fingerprints is not grounds for refusing to register the asylum application, but will result in the application being placed in the accelerated procedure. With the help of a specialist organisation or a lawyer, it is possible to lodge a “référé-liberté” (judicial review) with the administrative court for a refusal to register your asylum application.

Implementation of the “Dublin” procedure if you arrive from another European country

If it is proven that you have travelled to another European Union country, you will be placed under the “Dublin” procedure; you will then be given a personal interview either in the presence of an in-person interpreter or with a telephone interpreter. The prefecture must give you the minutes of this interview, as well as several information leaflets in a language you understand: on fingerprinting (leaflet A), on the Dublin procedure (leaflet B) and on the Eurodac Regulation.

Even if it is not the State responsible for the asylum application, France can ultimately examine your application (see, in particular, Article 17 of the Dublin Regulation: discretionary clauses). This is why you must give the prefecture any useful information and documents that could result in France examining your asylum application, such as :

  • whether you have any family members who are legally resident, seeking asylum or have been granted protection in France;
  • any health problems;
  • if you are pregnant;
  • any ill-treatment you have experienced in the European Union country to which you may be deported.

Note: if you provide this information during the interview, we advise you to also send it as quickly as possible to the prefecture by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. This can act as proof that you have provided this information and, in the event of an appeal against the transfer decision, the lawyer or organisation supporting you will be able to use it.

Time limits

Throughout the “Dublin” procedure, France and the state responsible for the asylum application have certain time limits that they have to act within. This includes the deadline for France to refer the case to the other state; and the time limit for the other State to respond.

Consequences for your asylum application

Throughout the “Dublin” procedure:

  • you cannot register your asylum claim in France. The prefecture will issue you with a specific “Dublin” procedure asylum application certificate;
  • you have the same rights as other asylum seekers (asylum seeker’s allowance, health protection, schooling for children, etc.). As far as accommodation is concerned, however, you will not be accommodated in an accommodation centre for asylum seekers (“Cada”) but in another type of facility;
  • you may be placed under house arrest for part of the procedure and even detained in order to be sent back to the State responsible for your asylum application. Detention is becoming increasingly common, especially since the adoption of Law No. 2018-187 of 20 March 2018 “enabling the proper application of the European asylum system”. This effectively legalises the detention of people in the “Dublin” procedure, given that there is almost always a “not-insignificant risk of absconding” that justifies placement in detention.

Transferees returning to France

If you return to France after being transferred to another EU Member State, several situations may arise:

  • the prefecture refuses to register your asylum application again. In this case, contact a specialist organisation to help you take legal action against the refusal;

  • the prefecture accepts your application but puts you back in the “Dublin” procedure. It seems that prefectures are encouraged to do this. If this happens, it is possible to present to the prefecture any order to leave the territory of the country to which you were transferred; or to explain that the authorities forced you to return to France. If you have kept any evidence (a decision by the country requiring you to leave the country, photos evidencing ill-treatment, etc.), you should bring it to the prefecture. It may also be useful to bring evidence demonstrating that you have ties in France: this may have a bearing on the prefecture’s decision. When you go to the prefecture, it’s best to be accompanied by someone who speaks good French who can help explain your situation. Be sure to make a copy of your order to leave the territory of the country initially responsible for your asylum application, as some prefectures retain the original document. If the prefecture does not take this evidence into account, you will be able to present this evidence before the judge when you challenge your transfer decision;

  • the prefecture registers your asylum claim, but places you under the accelerated procedure on the grounds that you have “failed the “Dublin” procedure”. In this case, contact an organisation in order to take legal action if you are subsequently refused ADA by OFII;

  • finally, in the best-case scenario, the prefecture registers your asylum claim under the normal procedure and gives you the Ofpra file.

Additional resources

For more detailed information, you can visit the GISTI (Groupe d’information et de soutien des immigré-e-s) website: