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Obligation to leave France (OQTF)

Verified 04 October 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The obligation to leave the French territory (OQTF) is the main measure of expulsion that concerns foreigners (the prefectural order of deportation to the border has been deleted). The decision shall be taken by the prefect, in particular in the event of refusal to issue a residence permit or irregular stay in France. It requires you to leave France by your own means within 30 days or without delay in more limited situations. An appeal is possible.

Voluntary departure within 30 days

You are subject to the obligation to leave the French territory (OQTF) within 30 days if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You entered France irregularly (or in the Schengen area) and you do not have a residence permit
  • You have entered France regularly but have stayed there beyond the validity of your visa (or if you are exempted from a visa, you have stayed more than 3 months after your entry into France)
  • Your receipt of application for residence permit or your provisional residence permit has not been renewed or has been withdrawn
  • Your residence permit has been withdrawn, refused or not renewed or you no longer have the right to stay in France
  • You did not apply for the renewal of your residence permit and stayed in France after its expiry
  • You are an asylum seeker: your request for protection has been definitively rejected
  • You represent a threat to public order and have been living in France for less than 3 months
  • You work without work authorization and have been living in France for less than 3 months

Warning  

other rules apply to the OQTF against an alien who is a national of European country and his family members living in France with him.

However, the administration can not force you to leave France if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are a minor (if your parents are subject to such a measure, you can be removed with them)
  • You stay regularly in France for more than 20 years
  • You have been in France regularly for more than 10 years (unless you have been a holder of a residence permit for the entire period) student)
  • You can justify by any means usually residing in France since at the latest the age of 13 years
  • You have been married for at least 3 years to a Frenchman (your life together must not have ceased since your marriage and your spouse must have retained French nationality)
  • You have been in France regularly for more than 10 years and have been married for at least 3 years with a foreigner living in France since the age of 13 at the latest (you must not be polygamous and your life together must not have stopped since your marriage)
  • You are the parent of a minor French child residing in France (you must not be a polygamist and must contribute to the maintenance and education of your child since birth or for at least 2 years)
  • You benefit from an accident-at-work or occupational disease pension from a French organization for a permanent disability rate of at least 20%
  • You usually reside in France and your health condition requires care in France, which you could not access in the country of return

Please note

if you have applied for asylum, you cannot be removed before the final decision on your application. However, you may be removed if the asylum certificate has been refused, withdrawn or not renewed.

Communication of the decision

The decision is taken by the prefect of your department (by the prefect of police, in Paris).

She is you notified and must be motivated. However, you do not need to give reasons in the event of refusal to issue, renewal or withdrawal of your residence permit. The reasons contained in the refusal or withdrawal decision (which is a different decision than the one on the OQTF) are sufficient.

The decision also determines the country to which you will be returned if you do not leave France voluntarily within the specified period.

You can view the main elements of your file. Ask the prefecture about the procedures for accessing the file.

General case
Who shall I contact

Warning  

some sub-prefectures cannot do the paperwork. Find out more on the website of your prefecture.

Deadline to leave France

You have 30 free days, from the notification of the decision, to start from yourself.

You can request a voluntary return aid..

In exceptional cases, the prefect may extend this period if your situation justifies it (length of your stay in France, schooling of your children, etc.). You must apply to the prefect who made the decision.

Conversely, this period can be deleted by the prefect if your situation changes (for example, if you risk fleeing). In this case, a new OQTF is delivered to you immediately (to the prefecture or by a policeman in particular on the occasion of a deduction for verification of your right to stay).

During the delay, the prefect may require you to show up up to 3 times a week:

  • prefecture
  • or at the police station,
  • or the gendarmerie.

You must inform the administration of your steps in preparation for your departure. Your passport or other identity or travel documents may be withdrawn in exchange for a receipt. This receipt is proof of identity and indicates the time allowed for your departure.

End of 30-day delay

At the end of the 30-day period, you must have left France by your own means.

If you are still in France after this period, you can be placed in detention center or under house arrest.. Prefect you notify one prohibition of return to France (IRTF)..

The French administration will then organize your departure.

You are far away at your destination:

  • of your country of origin (unless your life or freedom is threatened or you are exposed to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment),
  • or the last country that issued you a valid travel document,
  • or another country in which you may be legally admitted.

Warning  

you cannot be removed as long as the administrative tribunal considers your appeal.

Subject matter of appeal

You can challenge the OQTF itself.

In addition, you can challenge all of the following:

  • refusal of residence permit (because you feel that you can be regularized),
  • the prohibition of return to France (IRTF),
  • and the decision determining the country of return (for example, if you feel you will be at risk in that country).

Time limit for lodging the appeal

General case

The delay varies according to the reason of the OQTF.

Time limit for appeal against the OQTF according to the situation giving rise to the decision

Situation

Time limit for appeal

You have returned to France irregularly

15 days francs following notification of the OQTF

You stayed in France after the expiry of your visa (or more than 3 months after your entry into France if you are exempt from a visa)

15 days francs following notification of the OQTF

You did not apply for the renewal of your residence permit and stayed in France after its expiry date

15 days francs following notification of the OQTF

Your asylum application was definitely rejected

15 days francs following notification of the OQTF

Your application for a residence permit or renewal has been rejected

30 days francs following notification of the OQTF

Your residence permit (including receipt or provisional residence permit) has been withdrawn

30 days francs following notification of the OQTF

You represent a threat to public order and have been living in France for less than 3 months

30 days francs following notification of the OQTF

You work without work authorization and have been living in France for less than 3 months

30 days francs following notification of the OQTF

This period may be extended if it expires on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday: it ends the next business day.

One ex gratia appeal to the prefect or a hierarchical appeal to the minister of the interior do not extend this period.

In case of detention or house arrest

You must appeal within 48 hours following notification of the OQTF.

FYI  

the deadline is 48 hours when the prefect decides to abolish the period of voluntary departure before it expires.

Court

The appeal must be filed with the administrative court territorially competent for the prefecture that made the decision to expel.

If you are detained or under house arrest, the appeal must be filed with the administrative court on which the place of detention or subpoena depends.

Who shall I contact

Assistance of a lawyer

The presence of a lawyer is not mandatory. However, you can be represented by a lawyer of your choice or ask the court to appoint a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

FYI  

you can benefit from legal aid to pay your lawyer fees.

Instruction time

General case

From the time of referral, the administrative court has a time limit to decide on your appeal, depending on the reason of the OQTF:

The deadline is 6 weeks if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You have returned to France irregularly
  • You have stayed in France after the expiry of your visa (or more than 3 months after your entry into France if you are exempt from a visa)
  • You did not apply for the renewal of your residence permit and stayed in France after its expiry date
  • Your asylum application was definitely rejected

The deadline is 3 months if you are in one of the following situations:

  • Your application for a residence permit or renewal has been rejected
  • Your residence permit (including receipt or provisional residence permit) has been withdrawn
  • You represent a threat to public order and have been living in France for less than 3 months
  • You work without work authorization and have been living in France for less than 3 months
In case of detention or house arrest

The appeal shall be tried as a matter of urgency by a single judge. This one has 96 hours to decide.

This emergency procedure applies whether the detention or the summons was pronounced at the same time as or after the OQTF (usually after the 30-day voluntary departure period).

Court decision

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Decision annulled

The Administrative Court may annul the OQTF or one or more measures accompanying it:

  • If it cancels the OQTF: all other measures are terminated (decision refusing the voluntary departure period, decision determining the country of return and possible prohibition of return, detention or house arrest). You are then given a provisional residence permit by the prefecture pending a review of your case
  • If he cancels the only return ban: your stay may continue but you can return to France with a valid residence permit and visa
  • If he annuls the only decision determining the country of return: you may be under house arrest

Confirmed decision

If the administrative court confirms the prefect's decision, you must leave France.

However, if you are unable to return to your country, a measure of house arrest may be taken.

Challenging the court decision

You can appeal if your appeal is rejected. However, the call does not suspend the execution of the OQTF. You may therefore be returned to your country even if the appeal judge has not yet ruled.

The appeal period shall be 1 month from the date of notification of the judgment of the court.

It must be filed before the administrative court of appeal on which the court that issued the decision depends (the court concerned is indicated in the notification of the judgment).

Who shall I contact

Voluntary departure without delay

You are concerned by the obligation to leave the French territory (OQTF) without delay if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are a threat to public order
  • You are refused the issue or renewal of your residence permit for fraud or because your application is manifestly unfounded
  • You might run away

You must leave France immediately by your own means.

Warning  

other rules apply to the OQTF against an alien who is a national of European country and his family members living in France with him.

However, the administration can not force you to leave France if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are a minor (if your parents are subject to such a measure, you can be removed with them),
  • You stay regularly in France for more than 20 years,
  • You have been in France regularly for more than 10 years (unless you have been a holder of a residence permit for the entire period) student)
  • You can justify by any means usually residing in France since at the latest the age of 13 years,
  • You have been married for at least 3 years to a Frenchman (your life together must not have ceased since your marriage and your spouse must have retained French nationality)
  • You have been in France regularly for more than 10 years and have been married for at least 3 years with a foreigner living in France since the age of 13 at the latest (you must not be polygamous and your life together must not have stopped since your marriage)
  • You are the parent of a minor French child residing in France (you must not be a polygamist and must contribute to the maintenance and education of your child since birth or for at least 2 years)
  • You benefit from an accident-at-work or occupational disease pension from a French organization for a permanent disability rate of at least 20%
  • You usually reside in France and your health condition requires care in France, which you could not access in the country of return

Please note

if you have applied for asylum, you cannot be removed before the final decision on your application. However, you may be removed if the asylum certificate has been refused, withdrawn or not renewed.

Communication of the decision

The decision is made by the prefect, who must give reasons and determine your country of return.

It is given to you by the prefecture or by the police. You may, as soon as possible, notify your lawyer, the consulate of your country of origin or a person of your choice.

You can read the main elements of your file. Ask the prefecture about the procedures for accessing the file.

General case
Who shall I contact

Warning  

some sub-prefectures cannot do the paperwork. Find out more on the website of your prefecture.

Departure from France

General case

You must leave France by your own means in the 48 hours..

If you are still in France after this period, you can be placed in detention center or under house arrest.. Prefect you notify one prohibition of return to France (IRTF)..

The French administration will then organize your departure.

You are far away at your destination:

  • of your country of origin (unless your life or freedom is threatened or you are exposed to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment),
  • or the last country that issued you a valid travel document,
  • or another country in which you may be legally admitted.
You live in Guadeloupe, Guyana, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy or Saint-Martin

You must leave France by your own means upon notification of the decision.

If you stay in France, you can be placed at any time detention center or under house arrest.. The French administration will then organize your departure.

However, the consulate of your country of origin may request that a 24 hours be granted.

You are far away at your destination:

  • of your country of origin (unless your life or freedom is threatened or you are exposed to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment),
  • or the last country that issued you a valid travel document,
  • or another country in which you may be legally admitted.

Subject matter of appeal

You can challenge the OQTF itself.

In addition, you can challenge all of the following:

  • refusal of residence permit (because you feel that you can be regularized),
  • the prohibition of return to France (IRTF),
  • and the decision determining the country of return (for example, if you feel you will be at risk in that country).

Time limit for lodging the appeal

You live in a big city

If you are the recipient of an obligation to leave France without delay, you can challenge this decision within 48 hours of its notification.

This period shall not be prolonged, even if it expires on a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday.

You can't be removed until the court rules.

You live overseas: Guadeloupe, Guyane, Mayotte, Saint Barthélemy or Saint Martin

There is no time limit for challenging the OQTF.

It shall apply from notification and you must leave the territory immediately.

Filing an appeal before the Administrative Court does not automatically suspend the obligation to leave.

To obtain a suspension, you must make a specific request to the court.

If this request for suspension is accepted, you will no longer be obliged to leave France pending the final decision of the court.

Court

The appeal must be filed with the administrative court competent for the prefecture which made the decision to expel.

If you detained or under house arrest, the appeal must be filed with the administrative court on which the place of detention or summons depends.

Who shall I contact

Assistance of a lawyer

The presence of a lawyer is not mandatory. However, you can be represented by a lawyer of your choice or ask the court to appoint a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

FYI  

you can benefit from legal aid to pay your lawyer fees.

Instruction time

In case of detention or house arrest

The appeal shall be tried as a matter of urgency by a single judge. This one has 96 hours to decide.

Court decision

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Decision annulled

The Administrative Court may annul the OQTF or one or more measures accompanying it:

  • If it cancels the OQTF: all other measures are terminated (decision refusing the voluntary departure period, decision determining the country of return and possible prohibition of return, detention or house arrest). You are then given a provisional residence permit by the prefecture pending a review of your case
  • If he cancels the only return ban: your stay may continue but you can return to France with a valid residence permit and visa
  • If he annuls the only decision determining the country of return: you may be under house arrest

Confirmed decision

If the administrative court confirms the prefect's decision, you must leave France.

However, if you are unable to return to your country, a measure of house arrest may be taken.

Challenging the court decision

You can appeal if your appeal is rejected. However, the call does not suspend the execution of the OQTF. You may therefore be returned to your country even if the appeal judge has not yet ruled.

The appeal period is 1 month from the notification the judgment of the court.

It must be filed before the administrative court of appeal on which the court that issued the decision depends (the court concerned is indicated in the notification of the judgment).

Who shall I contact