General (scope, criteria, time limits)
The law provides OFPRA with the possibility to decide on the admissibility of asylum applications lodged before it. Claims are deemed inadmissible in the following cases:
- The asylum seeker already benefits from an effective international protection status (refugee status or subsidiary protection) in another EU Member State;
- The asylum seeker has already been granted refugee status and benefits from an effective protection in another third country and they can effectively be readmitted there; or
- New facts and elements presented to introduce a subsequent application are deemed inadequate by OFPRA.
The applicability of these grounds may be discovered by OFPRA upon registration or later, during the interview or during investigations post-interview. However, there is a specific time limit in the case of Subsequent Applications: a preliminary examination of their admissibility has to be conducted within 8 days of registration.
The possibility to determine a claim inadmissible also applies to claims introduced at the border or in detention centres.
OFPRA never takes decisions confirming admissibility; only inadmissibility decisions. Decisions have to be motivated and notified in writing to the asylum seeker within 1 month after the claim has been introduced or, if grounded on elements revealed during the interview, within 1 month after the interview. However, the law sets no consequence in case those time-limits are not complied with by OFPRA. As a matter of fact, they are very unevenly implemented in practice.
The notification of the decision includes procedural aspects and the time period to introduce an appeal to the CNDA to challenge the inadmissibility decision.
In 2021, OFPRA issued ‘more than 13,000’ (8,194 in 2020) inadmissibility decisions.
Asylum seekers whose claim is deemed inadmissible on ground of the existence of an international protection in an EU Member State or refugee status in a third country, are invited to a personal interview.
The interview in the case of Subsequent Applications, which represent the largest part of inadmissibility cases, is not required by law.
There is a 1-month time limit for introducing an appeal before the CNDA.
The appeal is not suspensive in inadmissibility cases based on the existence of an international protection in an EU Member State or refugee status in a third country. However, the appeal is also not automatically suspensive in inadmissibility cases concerning subsequent applications. Similarly to the Accelerated Procedure: Appeal, it is examined by a single judge at the CNDA within 5 weeks.
In cases of a negative decision in detention or at the border, specific procedures are applicable.
The automatic right to legal aid at second instance (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance) is also applicable to inadmissible claims.
 Article L. 531-32 Ceseda.
 Article R. 531-38 Ceseda.
 OFPRA, 2021 Activity report, June 2022, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3KHmAKi, 61.
 Article L. 542-2 Ceseda.
 Article L. 542-2 Ceseda.