Travel documents


Country Report: Travel documents Last updated: 18/03/21


Forum Réfugiés – Cosi Visit Website

The law states that the duration of validity of travel documents is defined by Article 953 of the General Tax Code: 5 years for refugees, if it is a biometric travel document, and one year for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.[1] French law does not provide for duration of validity of non-biometric travel documents. Official French websites, however, assert that the duration of validity of travel documents for refugees is 2 years.[2] In practice, whereas the law is clear on the 5-year duration, Prefectures issue only 2-year travel documents for refugees.

Geographical limitations are applied to these travel documents. Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are not allowed to travel to countries where personal fears have been identified.[3] Failure to respect these limitations may lead to the Cessation of the protection grant, as confirmed by a 2017 ruling of the CNDA.[4]

In 2015, the CNDA confirmed a cessation decision adopted by OFPRA, regarding an Afghan refugee who had spent two months in his country in order to celebrate his marriage. However, considering the current situation in Afghanistan, he has been granted subsidiary protection.[5]

Travel documents are issued by Prefecture. In practice, no specific problem has been reported, except the fact that prefectures can be very slow in delivering the document.


[1]           Article L.753-4 Ceseda.

[2]           See Ministry of Interior, Accueil des Etrangers, at:

[3]           Articles L.753-1 and L.753-2 Ceseda.

[4]           CNDA, M. Q., Decision No 16032301, 6 July 2017.

[5]           CNDA, M. Z., Decision No 14033523, 5 October 2015.a

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation