Asylum seeker

You wish to apply for asylum in the Netherlands. If you apply for asylum, you are officially asking the Dutch Government for a residence permit. You need this residence permit to be allowed to stay in the Netherlands.

​First, you must register as an asylum seeker at the application centre in Ter Apel. Ter Apel is a village in the north east of the Netherlands. You can usually also submit your asylum application there. You will also find out when and where your asylum procedure will start. During this procedure, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will assess whether or not you will be granted a residence permit.

Did you fly to the Netherlands? Then you can report to the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. They will register your personal details and bring you to the Schiphol Registration Centre near Amsterdam. There you will usually also submit your application for asylum. And you will hear when and where your asylum procedure will start.

When will you be given a residence permit? And what does the asylum procedure involve?


 You may be granted a residence permit if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • In your country of origin, you have real reasons to fear persecution because of your race, religion, nationality, political convictions or because you belong to a particular social group.
  • You have real reasons to fear the death penalty or execution, torture or other inhuman or humiliating treatment in your country of origin.
  • You have real reasons to fear that you will be a victim of random violence due to an armed conflict in your country of origin.
  • Your husband/wife, partner, father, mother or minor child has recently received an asylum residence permit in the Netherlands.

Application costs

Submitting an application for a temporary asylum residence permit is free of charge.

After the application

If you are granted a temporary asylum residence permit

​If you are granted a temporary asylum residence permit you may stay in the Netherlands. Your family members who are left behind may also apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands. This is called family reunification for holders of an asylum residence permit. Certain conditions apply. You can read more about the conditions and procedure in the brochure about family reunification. The brochure is available in several languages (see right column on this page. You can also check VWN's website about family reunification for more information. 

You may also work in the Netherlands. You do not need a work permit for this. Your lawyer and the staff of the VWN can give you more information.

Collect your residence permit

Sometimes you already received your residence permit right after receiving the formal decision. If not, the IND tries to have your residence permit ready within a few weeks. You will receive a letter indicating when to collect the residence permit at an IND desk. Make an online appointment to collect your residence permit. The letter tells you where you can collect the permit. This is usually near your place of residence. When you collect the permit, you hand in your Foreign Nationals Identity Document (type W). Your residence permit is valid for 5 years.

Every citizen in the Netherlands, from the age of 14, has to carry identification. Everyone has to be able to show an identity document if checked by the government. Therefore, always carry your residence permit with you.

Rights and obligations

Registration with the municipality

You must register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP)  of the municipality where you live. If you have not already done so, you must do this now. Take the positive decision to the municipality where you are staying. If possib;e, also bring along your personal documents from the authorities of your own country, for example: birth certificate, marriage certificate and identity card.

Registration in the BRP is important. Many organisations in the Netherlands can only help you if you are registered in the BRP.

Check that the municipality has registered your name and date of birth correctly. Also check your children's data. It is difficult to change this data at a later date. 

If you move house, you must have your address in the BRP changed by the municipality.


If you are given an asylum residence permit, you have the right to accommodation in a municipality. COA will consult with you as to which municipality you wish to live in. That municipality looks for suitable housing for you. You may also find a place to live yourself. Once suitable housing is found, you leave the reception centre of COA. Staff members of the Dutch Council for Refugees can help you further in taking care of important matters. For example, to find work or training.

Take out health insurance

In the Netherlands you are legally required to have  health insurance. This allows you to receive medical help. In the COA reception centres, this is arranged for you. However, you must arrange health insurance yourself when leaving the COA reception centre. Once you have a health insurance, you can register with a general practitioner (doctor) or dentist.  

Civic integration in the Netherlands

If you have a temporary asylum residence permit, you must take a civic integration course. You need to learn Dutch this way. You will receive a letter from the Education Executive Agency (DUO) on the obligation to integrate.


If you have received a residence permit then you are allowed to work in the Netherlands. The following employment status will appear on your residence document: 'Work allowed free from restrictions. TWV not required' (in Dutch: 'Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist'). This means that you are allowed to work in the Netherlands: you do not need a work permit (TWV).

During the first 6 months of your asylum procedure you are not allowed to work. After 6 months you are allowed to work for 24 out of 52 weeks if:


You are allowed to travel abroad if you have a residence permit, for example for holiday or business trip. You also require a valid passport since a residence permit is not a travel document. If you do not have a passport you can apply for a refugee passport at your municipality. There is a fee for the application for a refugee passport. For some countries you may also need a visa in addition to a passport.

Do you have an asylum residence permit and are you travelling to your country of origin? Then you are indicatating that you do not need the protection of the Dutch government any longer. The IND can revoke your residence permit.

Further applications

Replace residence permit

Is your residence permit damaged, lost or stolen? In that case, have your residence permit replaced.

Extend residence permit

Is your residence permit due to expire soon? Apply for an extension.

Change residence permit

Has something in your situation changed that has consequences for your residence permit? Notify the IND immediately. 

Permanent stay

After you have had a residence permit for 5 years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Become a Dutch citizen

After you have had a residence permit for a period of 5 years, you can apply for Dutch citizenship.

application centre

​The Application Centre (AC) is the place where you have to apply for asylum. The IND's most important application centres are: AC Ter Apel and AC Schiphol.

Did you arrive in the Netherlands overland? Then you should go to AC Ter Apel.

Did you arrive in the Netherlands by boat or plane? Then you should go to AC Schiphol. You will usually be transferred there by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.

Royal Netherlands Marechaussee

​The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Koninklijke Marechaussee or Kmar) is a police department with military status. The Kmar is part of the Ministry of Defence, but also works for the Ministry of Security and Justice.

The Kmar has several tasks. Among other things the Kmar oversees the compulsory departure of foreign nationals without a residence permit and escorts them during their journey to their country of origin.

AVIM (Afdeling Vreemdelingen Identificatie en Mensenhandel)

AVIM (Foreign National's Identification and Human trafficking Unit) is part of the Dutch police department. Until 2015 the unit was called Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie). AVIM supervises foreign nationals in the Netherlands. AVIM is located in almost every Dutch municipality.

You can reach AVIM via the general number for the police. In the Netherlands: 0900-8844. From abroad or with a foreign mobile phone: +31-343 57 8844.

Tuberculosis (TB)

​Tuberculosis is a contagious, infectious disease. The disease is caused by a bacteria. The disease is widespread worldwide. 

specific personal details

​Specific personal details are especially data about religion, nationality and population group.

Basisregistratie Personen

This is the council's civil register. Registration in this register is compulsory for everyone living in the Netherlands.


Your citizen service number (burgerservicenummer of BSN) is your social security number. It is a unique and personal registration number. You can only use public services if you have this number.

safe country of origin

​Asylum seekers from safe countries do not usually  receive an asylum residence permit. The Netherlands uses a list of countries of origin that are safe. This list may change.

Initial interview

​This is your first interview with the IND during the General Asylum Procedure (AA). The IND will check the information you provided in your reporting interview. The IND will ask you more questions if any information is not clear. In the initial interview the IND will not ask questions about why you are applying for asylum. This will happen in the next interview with the IND.

Detailed interview

​This is an interview with an employee from the IND. In this interview you can explain why you have applied for asylum. The IND employee wil also ask you questions. This is important to see whether you can be granted an asylum residence permit.

formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.

Intended decision

​This is a letter from the IND which explains why the IND wishes to refuse your application. You may respond to this letter. The IND will only decide on your application definitively after you have responded.


​This is a written reply to the intended decision. In the viewpoint you (and your lawyer) explain why you do not agree with the decision of the IND.


​A TWV is a work permit. The employer applies for a TWV with UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). UWV examines among other things if there is no employee with the Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss nationality that is qualified for the job.