Asylum: latest developments

Last update: 17 April 2024

Many people apply for asylum and family reunification in the Netherlands. As a result, the waiting times in these procedures are increasing. Read what this means for your application. 

Processing your asylum application

There are different asylum procedures in the Netherlands. Which procedure you follow depends on your journey and what country you are from. Did you apply for asylum in another European country or do you have a European visa? Then you follow the Dublin procedure. Did you come from a safe country of origin or do you have protection in another European country? Then you follow the safe country procedure. These procedures are shorter and you have 1 interview with the IND. When you follow the General Asylum procedure (in Dutch: Algemene Asielprocedure or AA), you have 2 interviews. The application interview and the detailed interview. In the detailed interview you explain extensively about the reasons of your asylum application. 

Decision period of your asylum application

The law states that the IND has 6 months to decide upon an asylum application. This is the legal decision period. The waiting times are increasing. That is why the Dutch government decided to extend the decision period with 9 months (only available in Dutch). The extension is valid if you apply for asylum between 27 September 2022 and 1 January 2025 at the latest. 

Average waiting times asylum and family reunification

When the IND starts with your application, differs per procedure. The IND makes an estimate of how long it takes on average before your application is due. In the table below, you read how long it takes on average. 

Dublin Procedure 10 weeks of waiting before the interview with the IND (Dublin procedure)
Safe Country Procedure 15 weeks of waiting before the interview with the IND (shortened safe country hearing)
General Asylum Procedure 19 weeks waiting for the first interview with the IND (application interview)
General Asylum Procedure 48 weeks of waiting for the second interview  with the IND (detailed interview) after the first interview (application interview)
Family reunification of refugee 81 weeks of waiting until the IND starts processing the application

It may take more or less time before your application is due

The waiting times are an average and are intended to provide a general overview. Sometimes the IND starts processing your application earlier or later. When your application is due, depends on your situation and the capacity of the IND. If your application is more complicated to decide on, an employee with additional knowledge is required. If you have an interview, the right employee and interpreter have to be available. And sometimes you need to be brought to your appointment.

Causes longer waiting times and measures taken

Applicants for an asylum permit currently wait an average of more than a year for a decision. Applications for family reunification currently also wait a long time for a decision. The IND understands that it is difficult that you have to wait such a long time for your decision. There are several reasons for the long waiting time. We explain these reasons briefly. We also explain what measures we take to give you clarity about your future as quickly as possible.

Causes of longer waiting times at IND

Many asylum applications

The number of refugees remains higher than the amount of decisions the IND takes. As a result, the number of applications continues to rise. Also, the number of unaccompanied minor refugees that come to the Netherlands increases. Unaccompanied minors are children under the age of 18 who have fled without their parents. Furthermore, the number of applications for family reunification has increased. 

Combination of many applications and capacity

Many people apply for asylum or family reunification in the Netherlands. The IND works hard to decide on all these applications. The IND receives an assignment from the Dutch government every year. This includes, among other things, the minimum number of decisions the IND must make that year. In 2023 we have made many more decisions than was mandated. This applies to the general asylum procedure and the family reunification procedure. Yet it remains busy and the waiting times are long. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to decide in time by hiring more people. Deciding on an asylum application or family reunification application is complicated and must be done with care. Training new employees takes time.

Measures to shorten waiting times

The IND takes the following measures to shorten the waiting times: 

Measures for asylum applications from Syrians 

Applicants from countries that are unsafe for everyone have a greater chance of receiving an asylum permit. That is why a large number of measures are aimed at applications from people of Syria. The measures taken make more time to process all other asylum applications. The IND wants to give applicants from Syria clarity about their asylum applications more quickly in the following ways:

  • Shorter interviews at the COA reception center
    Applicants from Syria may have a shorter interview about the reasons for the asylum application. IND employees sometimes come to the COA reception center for this interview. This means you do not have to travel to an IND office. And the IND can do multiple interviews in one day.
  • Combined interviews for asylum applicants under the age of 18
    Applicants from Syria under the age of 18, who have not yet had a first interview with the IND receive a combined interview. This means that the registration interview and the detailed interview take place in one interview. The invitation letter sent from the IND contains more information about this combined interview.

Faster processing of applications with small chance of asylum

The IND must process asylum applications with small chance of an asylum permit more quickly. This concerns, for example, applicants who have previously applied for asylum in another European country. Or applicants who come from a safe country of origin.

Consequences for the planning of your asylum application

Did you apply for asylum? In principle, the IND tries to plan the processing of applications in all asylum procedures in order of arrival. Due to the measures taken, this is not always possible. It may therefore happen that the IND sooner processes the application of someone who has been in the Netherlands for a shorter period of time.

The processing of your application for family reunification

Did you apply for family reunification? The IND processes applications in order of entry. 

The IND trains more employees

The IND hires new employees to shorten waiting times. Deciding on an application is complicated and must be done with care. As a result, training new employees takes a lot of time. Therefore, the effect of hiring more employees is not immediately visible. In addition, the IND hires employees who can, for example, take over the administration of the decision-making staff. This gives the decision-making staff more time to decide on asylum and family reunification applications.