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Leaving the Netherlands

Are you going back to your country of origin? Or are you moving to a different country? Or are you in the Netherlands illegally? Here you can find out what you need to arrange if you are leaving the Netherlands. And how you can get help. And what happens if you do not leave voluntarily.

What you must arrange if you have a residence permit

You leave the Netherlands on time

Leaving on time means that you leave the Netherlands before the end date of the residence permit.

If you do not leave the Netherlands on time, the police of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee can impose a return decision on you. You can also get an entry ban.

You de-register from your municipality

You are registered as a resident in the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen or BRP) at your municipality. Before you leave you must de-register. You can do this at the department of Civil Affairs at the municipality where you live. The municipality will notify the IND.

You notify the IND of your departure

What if you have not de-registered from the municipality before your departure or within 4 weeks after your departure? Then you must notify the IND of your departure. Your sponsor can also notify the IND. If you do not register your departure, the IND can fine you.

You return your residence document to the IND

You must return your residence document to the IND before you leave the Netherlands. The residence document is property of the Dutch government.

There are three ways to return your residence document:

  1. You can send your residence document together with the Notification Form for Foreign Nationals to the IND. The address is stated in the notification form.
  2. You can send the residence document to the IND Documents Office. The address is:                      
    IND Bureau Documenten
    P.O. Box 7025
    8007 HA Zwolle
  3. You can hand in the residence document at an IND desk. You must make an appointment for this. You must then take along the completed Notification Form for Foreign Nationals. You will receive a document that proofs you handed in your permit and a colour copy of your residence document.

The residence document must be invalidated. This can be done by cutting it (do not cut it all the way through) or by perforating it.

You can receive help when you leave the Netherlands

There are several ways you can receive help when you leave the Netherlands.

Help obtaining a passport or other travel document

To leave the Netherlands and return to your country of origin or another country, you need a valid passport or another travel document. If your passport or travel document is no longer valid, you can apply for a new passport from the embassy or consulate of your country of origin.

What if you do not have a passport or any identity papers? Then the embassy or consulate will first investigate your nationality and identity. This is usually done by 'presentation in person'. This means that you have an interview at the embassy or consulate. The embassy or consulate can determine whether you are a citizen of that country. Sometimes the embassy or consulate does an additional examination in your country of origin. If the embassy or consulate determines that you are a citizen of their country, you will receive a travel document.

Organisations that help with departure from the Netherlands

You can be placed in a reception centre or in aliens detention if you are in the Netherlands illegally

Can you return to your country of origin in a very short time? Then you will be taken to a reception centre. You are not allowed to leave the reception centre, and will stay there until you leave.

What if you cannot return soon? And the government is concerned that you will not report to the Aliens Police (AVIM)? Then you will be put in aliens detention.

You can appeal against aliens detention

You can appeal by filing an appeal against aliens detention at the court in The Hague. The appeal may be lodged by:

  • A legal representative
  • Someone specially authorised
  • A lawyer

You are required to have a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you will be assigned one.