What document did the police give me?
There are 2 main types of documents that you may receive from the police:
A “Procès Verbal” and/or
An “Obligation de Quitter le Territoire Français” (OQTF)
What is a “Procès Verbal”?
A “procès verbal” is a document written by the police which records events that took place. You will receive a proces verbal either (1) when you have been retained by the police for an identity check or (2) when you have been arrested (put in “garde à vue”) because the police think you may have committed or tried to commit a crime.
Having a “procès verbal” does not prevent the police from arresting you again (although in practice in Calais and Dunkerque sometimes do not re-arrest you if you have one already).
What to do if you receive a Procès Verbal?
You will be asked to sign any “procès verbal” you receive, but you do not have to sign a “procès verbal”. You should not sign a “procès verbal” unless you agree with all the facts that it is setting out as this may lead you to agreeing to a wrong set of events. However, even if you do not sign the proces verbal it is still recorded.
You may receive a “proces verbal” attached to an “Obligation de Quitter le Territoire Français” (OQTF). You should check whether the “proces verbal” you received is followed by a document asking you to leave French territory.
What is an OQTF?
An “Obligation de Quitter le Territoire Français” literally means an obligation to leave French territory. It is the main document used to remove migrants from France and will demand that you leave France. This is usually if you do not have papers proving your right to be in France, your asylum claim has been rejected or your residence permit has expired. An OQTF will usually be given as a result of an identity check - your fingerprints might be taken in order to identify you and determine whether you have a right to be in France.
Usually OQTFs require an immediate departure without delay, which mean you have 48 hours to leave France. If you do not leave within the required time period you could be detained or put under house arrest. This can be done up to one year after you received the order.
What to do if you receive an OQTF?
You only have 48 hours to contest most OQTFs. You should therefore seek legal advice as soon as possible:
If you are in Calais ask a volunteer for a referral to La Cabine/Legal Shelter.
If you are in Dunkerque ask a volunteer for a referral to La Cimade.
If you are a minor and receive an OQTF ask a volunteer for a referral to Refugee Youth Service.