General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)
The reasons for channelling an asylum seeker into an accelerated procedure are outlined in articles L. 531-24, L. 531-26 and L. 531-27 Ceseda, which lists 10 grounds.
The accelerated procedure is automatically applied where:
- The applicant originates from a Safe Country of Origin; or
- The applicant’s Subsequent Application is not inadmissible.
The asylum claim will be channelled under the accelerated procedure, where the Prefecture has reported that:
- The asylum seeker refuses to be fingerprinted;
- When registering their claim, the asylum seeker has presented falsified identity or travel documents, or provided with wrong information on their nationality or on their conditions of entry on the French territory or has introduced several asylum claims under different identities;
- The claim has not been registered within 90 days after the foreign national has entered the French territory;
- The claim has only been made to prevent a notified or imminent removal order; or
- The presence of the foreign national in France constitutes a serious threat to public order, public safety or national security.
In the abovementioned cases, it is the Prefecture that decides to channel related claims under the accelerated procedure. In that case, the asylum claim certificate specifically mentions that the asylum seeker is placed under the accelerated procedure. The ground for applying the accelerated procedure is specified in an additional document given to the applicant together with the certificate. Asylum seekers under accelerated procedure have to send the asylum claim form to OFPRA within 21 days to lodge their applications, as is the case with asylum seekers under the regular procedure.
While processing an asylum claim, OFPRA also has the competence to channel a claim under an accelerated procedure where:
- The asylum seeker has provided falsified identity or travel documents, or wrong information on their nationality or on their conditions of entry on the French territory or has introduced several asylum claims under different identities;
- The asylum seeker has supported their claim only with irrelevant questions regarding their claim; or
- The asylum seeker has given manifestly contradictory and incoherent or manifestly wrong or less likely statements that are contradictory to country of origin information.
In all 10 cases, OFPRA can decide to reclassify the application and not process a claim under accelerated procedure when this is deemed necessary, in particular when an asylum seeker originating from a country listed on the safe country of origin list calls upon serious grounds to believe that their country of origin might not be safe considering their particular situation. In addition, OFPRA may decide not to process under the accelerated procedure claims of vulnerable applicants. In 2019, OFPRA rechannelled 206 cases into the regular procedure out of a total of 40,677 cases processed in the accelerated procedure, compared to 24 cases out of 37,759 in 2018 and 63 cases in 2017. On the other hand, OFPRA rechannelled 1,384 cases from to the regular to the accelerated procedure in 2019, compared to 1,110 in 2018. Statistics on the years 2020 through 2022 were not available at the time of writing.
Similar to the regular procedure, OFPRA is the determining authority competent for accelerated procedures. Its decisions should in theory be made within 15 calendar days. This period is reduced to 96 hours if the asylum seeker is held in administrative detention. There is no specific consequence if the Office does not comply with these time limits. In practice, some stakeholders assisting asylum seekers have reported that some under the accelerated procedure have waited more than 15 days before receiving the decision from OFPRA.
The average time for the examination of first asylum requests under the accelerated procedure was 98 days in 2016, 84 in 2018 and 72 in 2019 (no data for 2017). No data has been available since 2019.
According to Ministry of Interior statistics, 50,750 asylum applications were filed in accelerated procedures at the end of 20, representing 33% of all caseloads. Statistics in this regard have not been available since 2019.
Interviews of asylum seekers under accelerated procedure take place under the same conditions as interviews in a regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Personal Interview). All personal interviews are conducted by OFPRA.
The same grounds for omission of interview apply, except for asylum seekers under accelerated procedure for reasons of a Subsequent Application. No specific statistics are available for the rate of interviews conducted in the accelerated procedure.
Persons channelled into an accelerated procedure must appeal within the same time period: 1 month after the negative decision. The main difference is that in accelerated procedure the decision has to be rendered by a single judge within 5 weeks.
As the preparation of these appeals is hardly supported by NGOs and given that assistance to draft the appeal is no longer in the mandate of the SPADA, asylum seekers may not be aware of these deadlines and face serious difficulties in drafting a well-argued appeal. They can nonetheless lodge a request to benefit from legal aid (aide juridictionnelle).
Appeals in the accelerated procedure have automatic suspensive effect, except for those where the accelerated procedure is based on: (a) safe country of origin; (b) subsequent application; and (c) threat to public order. These exceptions were added by the 2018 asylum reform and entail a loss of the right to remain on the territory upon notification of the negative decision. Asylum seekers can, however, in another separate procedure appeal before the Administrative Court within 15 days – or 48 hours in case of detention – to request that the CNDA appeal be given suspensive effect. The request to the Administrative Court has suspensive effect.
The Administrative court examines the risk of persecutions: on this point, they never in practice question the assessment of OFPRA, considering themselves less competent than this administration to assess these fears. It can also grant suspensive effect in case of difficulties linked to the individual examination of the situation, the absence of an interview or interpreting failures noted at OFPRA.
The decision of OFPRA or of the Prefectures to channel an application under the accelerated procedure cannot be challenged separately from the final negative decision on the asylum claim but it is possible for the applicant to challenge their placement under accelerated procedure in the appeal against the negative decision on their claim.
In any case of placement under the accelerated procedure, including safe country of origin cases or subsequent applications, it is always possible for the CNDA to reclassify the claim as regular procedure. In 2017, 207 cases under single-judge procedure were thus rechannelled into collegial hearing by the CNDA. Figures were not made available since then.
Asylum seekers under accelerated procedure have the same rights with regard to access to assistance as those in a regular procedure. As they are entitled to the same reception conditions, the legal assistance they can hope for depends of their conditions of reception.
However, asylum seekers whose claims are refused on the basis of safe country of origin, subsequent application or threat to public order grounds, lose their right to residence and thus may lose their right to reception conditions, including the possibility of assistance in accommodation, if suspensive effect is not granted for their appeal before the CNDA and their right to residence temporarily restored.
The right to legal assistance at the appeal stage before the CNDA is the same for asylum seekers under regular procedure and under accelerated procedure. However, the CNDA has to process appeals of negative decisions of claims under accelerated procedures within 5 weeks. This short timeframe might prevent asylum seekers under accelerated procedure to prepare the case correctly with the lawyers.
 Prior to the 2018 reform, this time limit was 120 days.
 Article L. 531-28 Ceseda.
 OFPRA, Activity Report 2019, available in French at: 22.
 OFPRA, Activity Report 2018, 2019, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3ohjNji, 21.
 Article R. 531-7 Ceseda. Delays are even shorter (96 hours) for persons held in administrative detention centres and in waiting zone.
 Article R. 531-23 Ceseda.
 This information has been collected by Forum réfugiés social workers in Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand and Marseille but also by other NGOs in Paris and its surroundings, Bretagne, Charentes-Maritimes, Somme or Lorraine.
 OFPRA, Activity reports 2016, 2018, 2019, available at: http://bit.ly/3my3uOr.
 Ministry of Interior, Chiffres clés – les demandes d’asile, 21 January 2020.
 Article L. 542-2 Ceseda.
 Article L. 752-5 Ceseda.
 CE, 16 October 2019, No. 432147, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3G4GflC.
 Article L. 531-31 Ceseda.
 Article L. 532-7 Ceseda.
 CNDA, 2017 Activity report, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3GNklE1, 20.
 Article L. 752-12 Ceseda.