Administrative Detention Center (CRA)

Verified 16 March 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Administrative detention allows a foreigner who is subject to a removal order to be kept in a secure facility (administrative detention center), pending his or her forcible removal. Retention is decided by the administration. It can be extended by the judge when the immediate departure of the foreigner is impossible. It is limited to 90 days (except in the case of terrorist activities). The selected foreigner has certain rights and may receive support from associations.

Administrative detention consists in keeping a foreigner in a secure place who cannot leave France immediately.

It may not be held for more than 48 hours.

These places are:

  • Administrative Detention Center (CRA), guarded by the police
  • Holding room usually located in a police station

You may be detained if you are affected by one of the following:

You are also affected if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You did not leave France within 7 days after the end of a 1er detention
  • You came back to France despite a removal order


this procedure does not concern a foreigner who is a national of European countrynor the members of his family living in France with him.

Initial Decision

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After police arrest

The initial decision to detain is taken by the prefect. It takes into account your vulnerability and any disability. Its duration is 48 hours.

It takes place after your arrest by the police (possibly as a result of a deduction for verification of the right of residence).

It is a written and reasoned decision. It must be yours notified.

After a period of imprisonment

The initial decision to detain is taken by the prefect. It takes into account your vulnerability and any disability. Its duration is 48 hours.

It takes place at the end of your imprisonment.

It is a written and reasoned decision. It must be yours notified.


if you have already been detained, the new detention decision must be made at least 7 days after the end of your previous detention.

1st extension

If your removal has not been possible within 48 hours of your detention, it may be extended for one further periodre times of 28 free days.

The prefect must then refer the case to the Liberty and Detention Judge (JLD). The judge has 48 hours to rule. He's auditioning you (or your lawyer if you have one). The prefect is also being interviewed. An interpreter may be present.

The judge may extend or refuse the extension.

It may also decide, in exceptional circumstances, that you will be under house arrest.

2nd overtime

The prefect can ask the JLD for a 2e extension of 30 free days in the following cases:

  • Absolute urgency (e.g. risk of leakage)
  • Serious particular threat to public order
  • Cannot return in the following cases:
    • Loss or willful destruction of your passport, concealment of your identity or obstruction of your removal
    • Pass that was not issued by the consulate of your country of origin
    • Lack of means of transport

The judge may order an extension of detention or refuse it.

Please note

as an exceptional measure, the detention of a foreigner inadmissible on grounds of terrorism or subject to an expulsion order for terrorist activities may be extended for 1 month. Further extensions may take place for a maximum of 6 months.

Additional extensions

The prefect may ask the JLD for a further extension of 15 free days if, within the last 15 days of retention, you are in any of the following situations:

  • Obstruction of the ex officio execution of the removal order
  • Submission of an application for protection against removal for the sole purpose of preventing removal because of your medical condition
  • Submission of an asylum application
  • Failure to execute the removal order due to the failure of your consulate to issue the travel documents (this must be done promptly)

The application shall be made before the end of the 30-day period.

An extension of 15 free days may be requested from the JLD if, within the last 15 days of detention, you have compromised the execution of the removal order for the same reasons.

Retention may therefore last 90 days in total (or up to 210 days in the case of terrorist activities).

Right to counsel

You have the right to a lawyer as soon as you arrive in detention.

Who shall I contact


you can apply for legal aid to pay your lawyer.

Right to a doctor

You can ask to be examined by a doctor in the medical unit of the detention center.

If necessary, he will ensure your medical care during the detention.

Communication with the outside world

You can freely communicate with the outside.

You can receive visits at the scheduled times of the place of detention.

In particular, you have the right to communicate with your relatives and the consulate of your country of origin.

The detention center must have an open access telephone for 50 detained foreigners.

A personal mobile phone capable of taking photos is prohibited.

Administration Help

Officers of theOfii: titleContent The on-site staff can provide you with information and help you prepare for your departure (baggage collection, administrative formalities, etc.).

You can also ask the OFII officers for an assessment of your vulnerability. It may be supplemented by the doctor of the medical unit of the detention center.

The results of this evaluation may lead the Ofii officer and the doctor to formulate an opinion regarding the adaptation of the conditions of your detention.

This notice may also cover your continued detention if it is incompatible with your vulnerability.

Association Help

Some associations provide legal services in detention facilities.

These associations help foreigners during the removal process.

The presence of a single legal office shall be permitted per detention center or premises.

Other associations may intervene to defend the rights of foreigners or for medical or social assistance.

These associations are Forum Réfugiés-Cosi and France Terre d'Asile.


As soon as you arrive in detention, you receive a document reminding you of all your rights.

This document must be translated by an interpreter if you request it.


You can challenge the ordinance of the Judge of Liberties and Detention (JLD) before the 1er president of the court of appeal.

The call must be made within 24 hours after:

  • the delivery of the order (its announcement by the JLD), if you were present at the hearing,
  • notification of the order, if you were absent.

The 1er the president of the court of appeal must give a ruling within 48 hours of the referral.

The appeal is not suspensive: you remain in detention during the proceedings.

Who shall I contact

Please note

You can also enter the JLD at any time to request your release if new circumstances arise that require the end of your detention.


The Order of 1er president of the court of appeal may be the subject of an appeal appeal in cassation.