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One can pursue legal remedies or recourse before the authorities in order to file a complaint and have administrative acts reviewed. The authorities in question are often the judicial authorities (courts).

The courses of legal action available vary according to the type of decision one wants to challenge and the authority that issued it.

To challenge a decision by the Geneva migration authorities (OCPM) regarding a residence permit, you will generally (but not always) take your case to:

The Administrative Court of First Instance (website available in French).

According to Article 83 let. c No 2 of the FSCA, in matters of public law, appealing decisions on permits that were not granted under federal or international law is inadmissible.

  • Because of its discretionary formulation, Art. 27 of the FNIA on the admission to Switzerland of foreign nationals for educational purposes does not confer any rights on the appellant. No grievance on the grounds of the merits of the case can be made, only grievances on procedural grounds (for example, the violation of the right to be heard) are admissible.
  • For Europeans, on the contrary, the Federal Court will consider the case purely on the basis of the fact that the person is European.

However, if the decision is issued by the SEM, legal recourse will be pursued before the Federal Administrative Court.

Finally, if the decision is issued by the UNIGE, it will first be challenged internally and then directly before the Administrative Chamber of the Court of Justice.

Moral of the story
Given the complexity of legal procedures, we recommend that you act immediately and seek advice as soon as you receive a document that looks like a decision.