The law establishes a national reception scheme, managed by OFII. This scheme ensures the distribution of accommodation places for asylum seekers throughout the national territory, and their allocation thereto. In parallel and in compliance with the national reception scheme, regional schemes are defined and implemented by Prefects in each region.
All asylum seekers are offered material reception conditions under Article L. 551-9 Ceseda. This provision applies to all asylum seekers even if their claim is channelled under the accelerated or Dublin procedure. The only exception is that asylum seekers under the Dublin procedure do not have access to reception centres for asylum seekers (CADA).
Reception conditions can be denied in the following cases:
- Whey they refuse to go to their attributed region;
- When they refuse their accommodation option, either at the GUDA or by not showing up within 5 days;
- Subsequent applications;
- Claim registered 90 days after entering France without a valid reason.
In practice, OFII deny asylum seekers the benefit of reception conditions whenever it has the possibility to do so.
After having registered their claim at the Prefecture, asylum seekers receive the asylum claim certificate that allows them to remain legally on French territory until:
- The end of the asylum procedure;
- A negative first instance decision for inadmissible claims and certain categories of claims rejected in an accelerated procedure – safe country of origin, subsequent application, threat to public order or national security;
- Their transfer to another Member State under the Dublin Regulation.
Meanwhile, they are entitled to material reception conditions, tailored if needed to their specific needs. The GUDA has been set up in order to better articulate the registration of asylum claims by the Prefecture and provision of reception conditions by OFII.
During COVID-19, access to reception conditions was hindered as a result of the suspension of registration activities. Thus, from mid-March to the beginning of May 2020, access to reception centres was limited to asylum seekers registered prior to the first lockdown, albeit with the difficulties described above – such as a limited reception capacity – which were further exacerbated by other factors – such as fewer exits from the centres because the authorities asked managers of centres to hold rejected asylum seekers and refugees in the reception centres. This situation was criticised by NGOs. As regards people without accommodation (i.e. asylum seekers, refugees and homeless persons including nationals), many places in emergency housing were opened during this period to reduce homelessness.
Asylum seekers’ financial contribution
Accommodation fees for asylum seekers are covered by the State. However, accommodated asylum seekers whose monthly resources are above the monthly rate of the Active Solidarity Income (Revenu de Solidarité Active, RSA), € 607,75 for a single adult, pay a financial contribution for their accommodation.
In addition, organisations managing reception facilities are entitled to require a deposit for the accommodation provided under certain conditions. The deposit is refunded, totally or partially, to the asylum seeker when they leave the reception facility. A Decree of 15 November 2016 states the deposit will not be paid back if the asylum seekers stay longer than allowed in accommodation centres, that is 1 month if their claim is rejected and 6 months if protection is granted.
 Article L. 551-1 Ceseda.
 Article L. 551-15 Ceseda.
 See e.g. Forum réfugiés-Cosi, ‘L’impact de la crise sanitaire sur le droit d’asile en France. Constats et recommandations.’, Policy note, 4 May 2020, available in French at: https://bit.ly/3rlky7M.
 Decree NOR: INTV1630817A of 15 November 2016 on the application of Article L.744-5 Ceseda, available in French at: https://bit.ly/41v8LoY.