Last update : August 2019

The Dublin III regulation is used to determine the European country responsible for your asylum application according to different criteria (family ties, visa or residence permit, first asylum application, fingerprinting). If the country is not the country responsible for your asylum application, you risk being sent back to the country responsible. In some cases you can use the Dublin III Regulation to join your family members.

At all stages of your application you should get in touch with an association that can provide you with legal, administrative and moral support.

According to the “Dublin III” Regulation, only one Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application in the European Union (EU).
According to 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 rejected);
  • if you have not applied for asylum elsewhere, the “Dublin III” regulation provides criteria examined one after the other that will allow France to determine the State responsible. For example, this may be the State that granted you a visa or residence permit, the State through which you entered the EU territory and in which you were first checked. This responsibility of the Member State ends 12 months after the date of the irregular border crossing at which the fingerprints were taken. Other, more positive criteria could be to be still underage or to have family ties in France (Articles 7 to 17 of the Regulation).

The determination will be done by the prefecture of the state responsible for an asylum application. For this, they will check:

  • the Visa Information System file (Visabio) to check whether you have obtained a visa for another European Union country;
  • the Eurodac file in which your fingerprints are recorded 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 recording fingerprints in the Eurodac file, there are still cases where fingerprints are not correctly recorded or not recorded at all.

The Eurodac file contains :

  • Asylum seekers (category 1: fingerprints kept for 10 years);
  • persons who are stopped when crossing an external border illegally (category 2: fingerprints stored for 18 months).
    Persons who are only checked for illegal entry or presence on the territory of a Member State (category 3) may also have their prints compared with those contained in these two files, but they are destroyed after comparison and not stored in the system.

! Warning! In some prefectures, you may be placed under the “Dublin” procedure on the basis of your declarations to the “Guda”. The prefecture will be very careful about the information relating to your journey to France and the visas on your passport if you have one. However, usually you will only be placed in “Dublin” procedure if your fingerprints are recorded in Eurodac or Visabio, regardless of your declarations in the interview.
Note: At the first appointment at the “Guda”, fingerprints are taken. Refusal to submit them cannot be a reason for refusing to register the asylum application, but will result in the placement in accelerated procedure. It is possible to go to the administrative court against a refusal to register an asylum application with the help of an association or a lawyer.

Implementation of the “Dublin” procedure if you arrive from another European country:
If it is proved that you have crossed another EU country, you are placed in the “Dublin” procedure; you are then interviewed in person either in the presence of an interpreter or with an interpreter by telephone. The Prefecture must give you the report of this interview, as well as several information brochures in a language you understand: on taking fingerprints (brochure A), on the “Dublin” procedure (brochure B) and on the Eurodac Regulation.

Even if it is not the State responsible for the asylum application, France has the possibility to examine your application (in particular Art. 17 of the Regulation: discretionary clauses). This is why you should give to the perfecture all useful information and documents which could lead France to examine your asylum application, such as :

  • the presence in France of members of your family in a regular situation, applying for asylum or enjoying protection;
  • health problems;
  • if you are pregnant;
  • ill-treatment suffered in the European Union State to which you are to be sent back.

Note: if you give this information during the interview, we advise you to send it also and as soon as possible to the prefecture by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. This will give you proof that you have given this information and, in the event of an appeal against the transfer decision, the lawyer or association that will support you will be able to use it.

Time limit

Throughout the “Dublin” procedure, France and the State responsible for the asylum application have deadlines to respect (deadline for referring the matter to the other State and deadline for replying).

Consequences on your asylum application

During the entire “Dublin” process:

  • you cannot register your asylum application in France. The Prefecture will give you a specific asylum application certificate for the “Dublin procedure”
  • you have the same rights as other asylum seekers (asylum seeker’s allowance, health protection, schooling for children, etc.). You will not be accommodated in an accommodation centre for asylum seekers (Cada) but in another type of centre ;
  • you may be placed under house arrest for part of the procedure and even be detained to be sent back to the State responsible for your asylum application. Placements in detention are becoming increasingly frequent, especially since the adoption of Law No. 2018-187 of 20 March 2018 “allowing for the proper application of the European asylum system” which legalises the placement in detention of persons under the “Dublin” procedure considering that there is almost systematically a “non-negligible risk of flight” which justifies this placement.

Transferred persons returning to France

If you ever return to France after a transfer to another EU country, several situations may arise:

the prefecture refuses to re-register your asylum application. In this case, contact an association to start a litigation procedure against this refusal;

  • the prefecture accepts your application but places you again under the “Dublin” procedure - it seems that prefectures are encouraged to do this. It is then possible to present to the prefecture the obligation to leave the territory of the country to which you have been transferred, or to explain that the authorities have obliged you to return to France. If you have kept evidence (decision of the country asking you to leave the territory, photos of ill-treatment, etc.), you must bring it to the prefecture. It may also be useful to bring evidence proving that you have links in France; this may weigh in the prefecture’s decision. When you go to the prefecture, it is best to be accompanied by a person who speaks good French and who can explain your situation. Be careful to keep a copy of your obligation to leave the territory of the country initially responsible for your asylum application, some prefectures keep this document and you have to insist on getting a copy. If the prefecture does not take this into account, you will need to use this evidence before the judge when contesting your transfer decision;
  • the prefecture registers your asylum application, but places you in an accelerated procedure on the grounds that you have “failed the “Dublin” procedure”. In this case, contact an association to initiate a contentious procedure;
  • finally, in the best case scenario, the prefecture registers your asylum application in normal procedure and hands you the “Ofpra” file.

For more precise information, you can go to the GISTI (Immigrant Information and Support Group) website:

Eurostat has published data on the application of the Dublin Regulation in 2018. Mapping of these procedures: