Return decision

A return decision officially determines that you are in the Netherlands illegally. Illegal means you are not or are no longer allowed to stay here. You must leave the Netherlands, the EU (except Ireland), the EEA or Switzerland. Find out which countries are a member of the EU/EEA. Read about the meaning and consequences of a return decision.

‚ÄčThe IND, police (AVIM), Seaport Police and Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) may impose a return decision. A return decision only applies to someone who does not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality. A return decision is often included in a negative decision on an application for a residence permit.

Living in the Netherlands illegally

You will receive a return decision if you are in the Netherlands illegally. Then you do not have permission to be here. This concerns the following situations:

  • The Police or KMar find you at the border or in the country and determine that you are in the Netherlands illegally. This can be during a check or other action. 
  • Your residence permit is no longer valid and you have not applied for a new or different one.
  • You have received a negative decision (rejection) on your application for a first, new (extended) or other residence permit. This decision is also a return decision. This is also the case if a court of first instance or higher court rejects your appeal.
  • The IND decides to revoke your residence permit. This decision is also a return decision.

Obligation to depart and return 

The result of a return decision is that you must leave the Netherlands, the EU (except Ireland), the EEA or Switzerland of your own accord. This is called an obligation to depart independently. You must return to your country of residence yourself. This is called an obligation to return independently. 

Departure period

The return decision contains a departure period. This is the amount of time you are given to leave. The departure period depends on your situation. The usual departure period is 4 weeks (28 days). A 0-day period is also possible. You must then leave the Netherlands, the EU (except Ireland), the EEA and Switzerland immediately. An entry ban is also usually imposed. Read more about the entry ban.

Departure not immediately necessary

In these cases, you do not yet have to leave the Netherlands immediately:

  • You have applied for a first, new (extended) or other residence permit in time, and you are allowed to wait for the decision on your application in the Netherlands.

  • You have received a negative decision (rejection) on your application for a residence permit. You have applied for review or appealed against the decision in time. In addition, the decision states that you are allowed to wait for the answer to your application for review or appeal in the Netherlands.

See also