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I've recently asked a question regarding the validity of my long-stay "travailleur temporaire" visa in France if I was to resign from the job which brought me over. The consensus was that the visa remains valid until expiration.

After contacting every French administrative authority I could find, I have received conflicting answers. I recently contacted a French immigration lawyer, who has informed me that it can be prematurely cancelled/invalidated.

So, for this question, I will ask as if my visa has been cancelled prematurely and I have received an obligation de quitter le territoire français (OQTF).

If I receive a OQTF, I was just wondering if I would be able to re-enter France/the Schengen as a tourist and stay for 90 days visa-free as an Australian ? E.g. if I went to England for 1 night, got my stamps on the way out of France, into London, and back into France?

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So, for this question, I will ask as if my visa has been cancelled prematurely and I have received an obligation de quitter le territoire français (OQTF).

Formally, an OQTF does not ban you from reentering France. In practice, it's a bit moot because many people who do get an OQTF also need a visa to come back and most of them would not be in a position to secure one easily. Which is also why the rules stayed that way for a long time.

Recently, the law added a new separate measure to ban people from reentering France (outside of an “expulsion” or an “arrêté de reconduite à la frontière” which have always entailed a ban) called an “interdiction de retour sur le territoire français”. Cimade reveals that about a fourth of OQTF are accompanied by an IRTF.

If I receive a OQTF, I was just wondering if I would be able to re-enter France/the Schengen as a tourist and stay for 90 days visa-free as an Australian ? E.g. if I went to England for 1 night, got my stamps on the way out of France, into London, and back into France?

Theoretically yes but remember that you do not have any unconditional right to enter France (or the UK) and border guards are always entitled to evaluate the purpose of your stay (and whether you fulfilled a bunch of other requirements like having enough money). You would present yourself to the border with no job and a proven willingness to settle abroad i.e. objective facts that make the purpose of your stay and your intent to leave the country after 90 days (or six months for the UK) highly doubtful. In fact, it's not obvious to me you would even make it to London (as opposed to being escorted to a flight to Australia).

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A proper answer will depend on whether a IRTF has also been issued

  • OQTF with voluntary withdrawal period

    • The IRTF can be pronounced after an OQTF (with 30 days voluntary departure period), if you stayed in France.
  • OQTF without delay of voluntary departure

    • The IRTF is pronounced automatically at the same time as an OQTF without a voluntary departure period.

This may depend on the exact French wording (which I cannot read), but the Google Translated text implies a can and not a will.


The The obligation to leave French territory (OQTF) does not directly state under what conditions you may return to France after fulfilling the OQTF order without a IRTF order.

It does imply that a OQTF can be issued togeather with a IRTF, which then such a ban on reentry would apply.

There is no indication that the OQTF is stamped into the passport, so without a IRTF order, a reentry would depend on the information contained in the Passport itself.

If an unexpired residence permit exists, then formaly, you may reenter. Once the permit has expired, then formaly, the 90/180 days rule would start.

If you undertake a border hopping activity between the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom, then assume that at some point the Border Guards of both may start to ask questions. The combination of expired permit and border hopping will leave a telling trail.

So a Schengen Area border guard may not let you back in.

If they do a thorough check and the OQTF order is found, an IRTF may be issued. The Schengen Information System (SIS) will then contain an entry about your activity.

If the Entry/Exit System (EES) comes into effect in 2020/21, the SIS will be checked as part of the enter/exit process.


The Prohibition of return on French territory (IRTF) also does not explicitly state that a IRTF is always issued togeather with a OQTF with a voluntary withdrawal period.

It does state, that when issued, it effects future entry into the Schengen Area.

A automatic repeal of the IRTF seems to be possible after 2 months when

  • you have left on time (exit stamp in passport)
  • you present yourself to a french consulate

Voluntary departure within 30 days
End of 30 days
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 a detention center or under house arrest . The prefect informs you of a ban on returning to France (IRTF).


OQTF with voluntary withdrawal period
Procedure
The IRTF can be pronounced after an OQTF (with 30 days voluntary departure period), if you stayed in France.

Duration of the prohibition
The IRTF lasts 2 years maximum from the execution of the OQTF.

Note: if you stayed in France despite the OQTF, you have a FTIR of 2 years which can be extended by up to 2 years.

Consequences
The IRTF forbids you not only to return to France, but also to any country in the Schengen area.

Indeed, an IRTF pronounced in France leads to a report for the purposes of non-admission into the Schengen Information System (SIS) . You must be informed of your registration in this file when notifying the IRTF. This registration will prevent you from obtaining a visa to enter and stay in the Schengen area.

Cancellation of the return ban
Automatic repeal
The IRTF is repealed:

  • if you left France within the time limit,
  • and that you prove your exit in the 2 months following the expiry of this delay (the proof can be brought by the stamp affixed on your passport by the police at the borders or by any means, in particular by presenting yourself personally to the embassy or to the French consulate or to the Ofii delegation in the country of return).

Penals sanctions
If you return to France during the duration of the IRTF, you can be sentenced by the criminal judge:

  • to a prison term of up to 3 years,
  • and possibly a ban on French territory (ITF) .

Sources: (in French)

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  • What makes you think an OQTF would be stamped in a passport? – Relaxed Nov 27 '19 at 21:49
  • @Relaxed Otherwise it would be difficult to inforce during any checking after the 30 day period. – Mark Johnson Nov 27 '19 at 22:02
  • That's not how this really works in France. The OQTF is the first step towards a removal, once the 30 day delay has elapsed and the OQTF has not been appealed, the person can be detained and removed any time he or she comes to the attention of the police (which is typically not the case before going through the whole procedure and being given a chance to leave by your own means). Incidentally, many people with an OQTF and a willingness to defy it will ditch their passports or never renewed it in the first place. – Relaxed Nov 27 '19 at 22:08
  • For a straightforward OQTF (e.g. after a failed renewal), it comes in the mail, the person is not in the hands of the authorities and they rarely bother to send the police to pick them up or stamp anything. – Relaxed Nov 27 '19 at 22:12
  • @Relaxed Do you have a source about this that can be used for quoting ? – Mark Johnson Nov 27 '19 at 22:15

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