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What is a foreigner's right to stay withheld?

Verified 18 February 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

A foreigner can be checked directly by the police to verify that he has a residence permit. This can also be done during an identity check. If the foreigner cannot present his residence permit (or visa) during the check, he may be subject to a deduction for verification of the right to stay.

Withholding tax for verification of residence is an administrative measure. It allows you to detain a foreigner who is unable or unwilling to present a visa or residence permit.

It may intervene on the occasion of residence permit check or identity check.

It allows the police to check whether the foreigner has the right to stay in France.

Withholding may be followed, if necessary, by removal.


a minor cannot be detained.

Only police officer may decide on the retention.

The public prosecutor shall be informed at the beginning of the procedure.

The officer (or designated judicial police officer) checks that the foreigner has a valid residence document (passport, visa, residence permit). Foreigner can present it spontaneously.

His baggage and personal belongings can be searched.

If the foreigner does not provide any information or documents, his fingerprints or photographs may be taken to establish his right of residence.

A report is drawn up. It is passed on to the prosecutor.

The foreigner is asked to sign it, but he may refuse to do so.

Please note

the prosecutor may terminate the proceedings at any time.

The foreigner is held in police or gendarmerie premises.

The retention period varies depending on the control that triggered the measure.

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Identity Control

Withholding tax for identity checks shall be limited to 4 hours maximum 8 hours Mayotte).

The time spent to carry out this identity check will reduce by the same amount the maximum time taken to check the residence permit (which is a maximum of 24 hours).

Control of residence permit

Withholding tax for checking the residence permit shall be limited to 24 hours.

This period should allow for a full review of the foreigner's situation.

At the outset of the proceedings, the foreigner must be informed of the reasons for the detention and its maximum duration.

This information is given to him in a language he understands or is supposed to understand.

The foreigner is also informed about its rights:

  • To be assisted by an interpreter
  • To be assisted by a lawyer (chosen by him or) and to talk to him upon arrival
  • To be examined by a doctor
  • To inform his family at all times and, if he is responsible for minors, to have contact for their care
  • Notify the consular authorities of his country

The foreigner may ask his lawyer to attend the hearings.

The lawyer must be present within one hour of being informed.

1re hearing may begin without counsel if it relates to the identity check of the detainee.

The outcome of the restraint may differ depending on the findings.

The judicial police officer may decide:

  • Either to release the foreigner (if found to be in regular stay or that his application for a residence permit is under consideration)
  • Or to pronounce a detention centre placement or house arrest if removal measure is decided
  • Either place the foreigner in custody, in particular in the case of an offence of unlawful maintenance (foreigner which is the subject of an expulsion decision is still enforceable, but which remains in France without legitimate reason)