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The definitions

Refugee status 


Two fundamental texts establish refugee status in France. 


The first is the preamble of the Constitution of 1946 which defines as a refugee:  “everyone persecuted because of his action in favor of freedom”. 


The second is the Geneva Convention (1951) which stipulates that anyone who has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because: 

- of his race, 

- of his religion, 

- his nationality, 

- of his belonging to a certain social group 

- or his political opinions

unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality may be granted refugee status.

Subsidiary protection


According to the Code of Entry and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum (CESEDA), subsidiary protection is granted to any 

person exposed in his country to one of the following threats:

- the death penalty ;

- torture or punishment or punishment inhuman treatment or 


- in the case of a civilian, a serious, direct and individual threat against his life or person due to generalized violence 

resulting from a situation of internal or international armed conflict. 


10-year residence permit

Refugee status entitles you to a card ten-year residence permit for the refugee, his spouse and minor children, with prohibition to return in the country of origin.


Renewable one-year residence permit

Subsidiary protection opens right a renewable one-year residence permit for the refugee, his spouse and his children

minors. Renewal is not automatic and can be refused if the reasons that allowed it to be obtained no longer exist.


The act of persecution* includes:

- physical or mental violence, including sexual violence;

- legal, administrative, police and/or judicial measures 


- disproportionate or discriminatory prosecutions or sanctions;

- the refusal of a legal remedy resulting in a sanction 

disproportionate or discriminatory;

- prosecution or sanctions for refusal to perform military service

(in the event of a conflict, when military service would require the asylum seeker to commit crimes);

- acts directed against persons because of their gender or against children.


Fears of persecution can be: 

- direct: the asylum seeker fears being persecuted because of what he is, believes or does;

- indirect: the asylum seeker fears being persecuted because of what his relatives are, believe or do. 


Direct or indirect, the asylum seeker's fears have the same value.

* Definition of the Parliament and the Council of the European Union, Qualification Directive 2011/95/EU

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