First, you must register as an asylum seeker in 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:
Submitting an application for a temporary asylum residence permit is free of charge.
If you have already applied for asylum at the Dutch border, in an airport or seaport, it is possible that you may not officially enter the Netherlands. You have a different asylum procedure: the border procedure.
You report in person to the application centre in Ter Apel. Staff members of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will register your personal information there. You will fill out a questionnaire on paper or on the computer. Staff of the AVIM will search through your clothing and luggage and determine your identity. Your photos and fingerprints are taken. The staff members of the AVIM may also ask questions about your travel route, previous asylum applications and family members. During the registration procedure, you sign your asylum application. A Foreign Nationals Identity Document type W is requested for you.
AVIM investigates whether you have original documents concerning your identity, travel route or asylum story. Experts from the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee examine important documents to see if they are real.
In order to test you for tuberculosis (TB), the medical staff takes an x-ray of your lungs. If you have TB, you will receive medical treatment with medication. Your asylum procedure will then start after the treatment of the disease. Asylum seekers from certain countries are not tested for TB.
After your registration, you will receive shelter, meals and medical care.
During the reporting interview, the IND will ask questions including your identity, origin, family, education, work, life history, living environment, documentation and journey. In a reporting interview you will not be asked about the reasons of your escape to the Netherlands. If the UNHCR has accepted you as a refugee you must mention this to the IND right away. And you have to prove this with documents. The IND will use this information when handling your asylum request.
The IND requests you to sign a declaration of consent as of the age of 15. Signing is not compulsory. If you don’t sign, there will be no consequences for the handling of your asylum request.
Have you signed the declaration of consent? Then the IND is allowed to pass on your special personal details to the council directly. And those of your family members who will follow you to the Netherlands later on. The council needs those details in order to determine your family name. And to check if your marriage is also valid in the Netherlands when your are married. Your consent results in a faster registration in the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). After your registration you will get a citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, BSN).
Unaccompanied minor foreign nationals (AMV's) are asylum seekers under 18 without parents/caregivers in the Netherlands. AMV's under the age of 12 will have a short reporting interview with some questions including identity, family composition and education.
Do you come from a safe country of origin or do you already have international protection from another country of the European Union? Then you have a different asylum procedure: the simplified asylum procedure. And you will get an insert sheet.
It may become clear from examining your data, documents and fingerprints that another country is responsible for your asylum application. For example, because you have already applied for asylum in another country or have a visa for another country. Is another country responsible for your asylum application? Then you have a different asylum procedure: the Dublin procedure.
Sometimes steps 1, 2 or 3 happen at another location than in Ter Apel.
After your reporting interview, you go to another reception centre of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). That asylum seekers' centre is often near the office of the IND where you continue your asylum procedure. COA provides the care and guidance for asylum seekers in the Netherlands.
AMVs from the age of 15 to 18 years old usually go to a
special COA reception centre for young asylum seekers. For AMVs under 15 years
of age, the foundation NIDOS arranges a stay in the house of a foster
family. NIDOS is the organisation that deals with guardianship for unaccompanied
minor asylum seekers.
In the asylum seekers' centre, you can rest from your journey to the Netherlands. This period is called the rest and preparation period (RVT). During or after the RVT the IND offers you a physical examination when in doubt about your age. During age testing, a nurse takes x-rays of your wrist and shoulder.
The RVT is cancelled or stops when you:
While staying at the reception centre, you get a free medical
examination. During that examination, a nurse checks your physical and mental
health. Your health can affect your interviews with the IND. You can say if you
do not want a medical examination.
At the other reception centre, you also get free help to prepare for the general asylum procedure. Staff members of the independent human rights organisation, the Dutch Council for Refugees (VWN) information about the asylum procedure. Check VWN's website for more information about the asylum procedure.
A lawyer will advise you about telling your asylum story to the IND. This is
free of charge when you cannot pay for a lawyer. In that case, the Council for Legal Aid arranges a lawyer for you. The IND will send a letter
with the date you must come to the IND office. You can then further explain
your asylum application.
On the day of your appointment with the IND, you go to the IND office. COA usually arranges transport to the IND office. This is where the 8-day General Asylum Procedure starts (AA).
You have an initial interview with a staff member of the IND. The IND uses an independent interpreter for the translation. If you wish, you can ask the VWN to be present during the initial interview. You get (through your lawyer) a report of the initial interview. In the initial interview, the IND does not ask any questions about why you are applying for asylum. That happens on day 3.
You have a talk with your lawyer at the IND office. He checks with you whether the report of initial interview is correct. Your lawyer gives errors and additions in a letter to the IND. He also prepares you for your second interview with the IND.
In the office of the IND you will have a detailed interview. This is a conversation with an IND staff member. Here, you can tell why you have submitted an application for asylum. The IND staff member will also ask you questions. An independent interpreter translates the conversation. If you wish, you can ask the VWN to be present during the detailed interview. You get (through your lawyer) a report of the detailed interview.
You have a talk with your lawyer at the IND office. He checks with you whether the report of the detailed interview is correct. Your lawyer passes on errors and additions in a letter to the IND.
An IND staff member reads your interviews with the IND. And the letters from the lawyer about them. After that, the IND decides whether or not you get a permit. There are 3 possible decisions:
You have a meeting with your lawyer. That is about the provisional rejection of your asylum application. Your lawyer can send the IND a viewpoint. This letter explains why you disagree with the rejection.
Days 7 and 8
The IND staff member reads your viewpoint. After that, the IND decides if the provisional decision must be changed. There are again 3 possible decisions:
It is possible to extend the duration of the AA (multiple times). This applies in certain situations for the IND, but also for you (through your lawyer). For example due to the illness of a scheduled interpreter and there is no other interpreter available. Or, if you are unexpectedly temporarily ill and no timely replacement is possible, or for medical reasons. The IND may extend due to change in your identity/nationality. Or if, after the first or detailed interview, there is doubt about your age. Extension is also possible if you later submit documents in the AA and these need to be checked to see if these are real.
You move to another reception centre of COA. You are allowed to work. Depending on your situation, you may also bring over family members. And you have the right to a house in a municipality. COA will consult with you as to which municipality you wish to live in. That municipality looks for suitable accommodation for you. If they succeed, you will leave the COA reception centre. Staff members of the Dutch Council for Refugees will help you arrange important matters. For example, finding work or an education.
COA will transfer you to another asylum seekers' centre. Once there, you have to arrange your own return to your country of origin. You have 28 days to do this. After these 28 days you no longer have a right to reception. Are you an unaccompanied minor foreign national who is denied to stay? Then, you do have a right to reception as long you are a minor and your return has not been arranged yet.
If you do not return on time yourself, a forced return will then be the consequence. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) helps you to arrange your return. You can also turn to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). IOM often holds consultations at the asylum seekers' centre.
You can always withdraw your application for a residence permit. To do this, you must a sign a form. It does not matter what stage of the asylum procedure you are in. Your lawyer can tell you more about this. If you withdraw your application to the IND, then there are consequences. You may usually not stay in the Netherlands any longer. You no longer have a right to accommodation. And the government may impose an entry ban for 2 years on you.
With a temporary asylum residence permit you may stay in the Netherlands. Also, your family members who are left behind may apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands. This is called family reunification for folders of an asylum residence permit. Certain conditions do apply here. You can read more about the conditions and procedure in the brochure about family reunification. You find the brochure in more languages on the right side of this page. Check VWN's website about family reunification too for more information.
Also, you may 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.
Sometimes you get your residence permit right after receiving your formal decision. If not, the IND tries to have your residence permit ready within a few weeks. You will get 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. That is usually near your place of residence. Once you have the permit, you hand in your W document. Your residence permit is valid for 5 years.
Every citizen in the Netherlands, from the age of 14, has to carry identification. During checks by the Government everyone has to be able to show an identity document. Therefore, always carry your residence permit with you.
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. Also, bring along your personal documents from the authorities of your own country, if possible: 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 the data of your children. It is difficult to change that data at a later date.
If you move, you must change your address at the municipality in the BRP.
If you are given an asylum residence permit, you have the right to a house 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, finding work or an education.
It is required by law in the Netherlands to have health insurance. This allows you to get medical help. In the reception centres of COA, this is arranged for you. You must arrange health insurance yourself when leaving the COA reception centre. With health insurance, you can register with a general practitioner (doctor) or dentist.
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 don't need a work permit (TWV).
During the asylum application you may not work. Are you in the Extended Asylum procedure? And are you still waiting for a decision? After 6 months you are allowed to work 24 out of every 52 weeks. In that case, your employer does need to have a work permit (TWV) for you.
You are allowed to travel abroad as a holder of a residence permit, for example for holiday or business reasons. 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 the municipality. The application for a refugee passport costs money. Next to a passport you may need a visa for some countries.
Do you own an asylum residence permit and return to your country of origin? With that you indicate that you do not need the protection of the Dutch government any longer. The IND can revoke your residence permit.
Is your residence permit damaged, lost or stolen? In that case, have the residence permit replaced.
Is your residence permit due to expire soon? Apply for an extension.
After having had a residence permit for a period of 5 years, you may apply for a permanent residence permit.
After having had a residence permit for a period of 5 years, you may apply for Dutch citizenship.
The application centre (AC) is the place where you apply for asylum. IND's most important application centres are: AC Ter Apel and AC Schiphol.
Do you arrive in the Netherlands over land? You go to AC Ter Apel.
Do you arrive in the Netherlands by boat or plane? You go to AC Schiphol, mostly transferred there by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (in Dutch: Kmar) is a police organisation 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 oversee the compulsory departure of foreign nationals without a residence permit and escort them during their travel to the country of origin.
AVIM (Unit Foreign national's Identification and Human trafficking) is part of the Dutch police organisation. Until 2015 the unit was called Vreemdelingenpolitie (Aliens Police). AVIM supervises foreign nationals in the Netherlands. AVIM is located in almost every Dutch municipality.
You can reach AVIM via the general number of the police: 0900-8844 (from abroad or with a foreign mobile phone: 0031-343 57 8844).
Tuberculosis is an contagious infection decease. The decease is caused by a bacteria. Worldwide the decease is widespread.
Special personal details are especially data about religion, nationality and population group.
This is the council's civil register. Registration in this register is compulsory for every inhabitant that is allowed to live in the Netherlands.
This is a unique and personal registration number. Only with this number you are able to use public services.
Asylum seekers from safe countries usually do not get a residence permit for asylum. The Netherlands uses a list of countries of origin that are safe. This list may change.
This is your first interview with the IND during the General Asylumprocedure (AA). The IND will check the information from your reporting interview. The IND will ask more questions if information is not clear. In the initial interview the IND will not ask questions about the reasons you ask for asylum. This will take place in the next interview with the IND.
This is an interview with an employee from the IND. In this interview you can tell why you have applied for asylum. The IND employee wil also ask you questions. This is important to see whether you can get an asylum residence permit.
This is a letter from IND. In the letter is written why the IND does not want to give you a residence permit asylum. You may react on this letter. Only after your reaction the IND decides on your application definitively.
This is a written reply on the intended decision. In the viewpoint you (with your lawyer) write 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.