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?
 

 Conditions

 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.
 

Steps in the application process

1. Reporting and registration

​If you have already applied for asylum at the Dutch border, at an airport or seaport, it is possible that you may not officially be allowed to enter the Netherlands. In this case a different asylum procedure applies: the border procedure

You must report in person to the application centre in Ter Apel. There staff members of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will register your personal information. You will fill out a paper  or digital questionnaire. AVIM staff will search your clothing and luggage and determine your identity. Your photos and fingerprints will be taken. AVIM staff may also ask questions about your travel route, previous asylum applications and family members. During the registration procedure, you will sign your asylum application. A Foreign Nationals Identity Document (type W) will then be requested for you.

AVIM investigates whether you have any original documents concerning your identity, travel route or asylum story with you. Experts from the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee examine important documents to see if they are authentic.

2. Tuberculosis test

​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 treatment. Asylum seekers from certain countries are not tested for TB.

After registering, you will receive shelter, meals and medical care. 

3. Reporting interview

During the reporting interview, the IND will ask questions about, among other things, your identity, origin, family, education, work, life history, living environment, documentation and journey. In the reporting interview you will not be asked about the reasons for fleeing to the Netherlands. If the UNHCR has accepted you as a refugee you must mention this to the IND immediately. You need to have documentation to prove this. The IND will use this information when considering your asylum request.

The IND asks asylum seekers over the age of 15 to sign a declaration . Signing is not compulsory. If you do not sign, this does not have consequences for the consideration of your asylum request.

Have you signed the declaration of consent? Then the IND is allowed to pass on your specific personal details, and your family members who will follow you to the Netherlands later on, directly to your municipality. The municipality needs these details in order to determine your family name. They are also needed to check if your marriage is also valid in the Netherlands if you are married. Your consent will ensure faster registration in the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen or BRP). After your registration you will receive a social security number called the citizen service number (burgerservicenummer or BSN). 

Asylum seekers under 18 without parents / caregivers in the Netherlands are Unaccompanied minor foreign nationals (AMVs) . AMVs under the age of 12 do not have a reporting interview.

Do you come from a safe country of origin or do you already have international protection from another European Union country? Then a different asylum procedure applies to you: the simplified asylum procedure. You already received an information folder on this.

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 a different asylum procedure applies to you: the Dublin procedure.

Sometimes steps 1, 2 or 3 do not take place in Ter Apel but somewhere else.

Temporary reception centre
The reception centre uses an appointment system. The aim of this is to ensure that the IND can plan asylum procedures well and ensure that that a good interpreter is available on time. The appointment system means that after reporting and registering at the reception centre, an asylum seeker can sometimes appear on a waiting list for a short time before the asylum procedure starts. During this time, the asylum seeker is given a place to stay at the temporary reception centre.


4. Reception

​After your reporting interview, you will go to another reception centre of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). This asylum seekers' centre is often near the office of the IND where you will continue your asylum procedure. COA provides care and guidance for asylum seekers in the Netherlands.

AMVs from 15 to 18 years old usually go to a special COA reception centre for young asylum seekers. For AMVs under 15 years of age, NIDOS foundation arranges a stay with a foster family. NIDOS is the organisation that deals with guardianship for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

At 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 if in doubt about your age. During age testing, a nurse will take X-rays of your wrist and shoulder.

The RVT is cancelled or stops if you:

  • are in prison on criminal grounds
  • harass others in or around a reporting or reception centre. In this case you will enter the General Asylum procedure (Algemene Asielprocedure or AA) instantly.

While staying at the reception centre, you receive a free medical examination. During the 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 wish to have a medical examination.

At the reception centre, you also get free help to prepare for the General Asylum Procedure. Staff members from the independent human rights organisation, the Dutch Council for Refugees (VWN) will provide you with 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 if you cannot pay for a lawyer. In such a case, the Legal Aid Board will arrange a lawyer for you. The IND will send a letter with the date on which you must come to the IND office. You can then further explain your asylum application.

5. General asylum procedure

​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).

Day 1        
You have an initial interview with an IND staff member. 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 will receive a report of the initial interview (through your lawyer).

Day 2          
You have a talk with your lawyer at the IND office. He checks with you whether the report of the initial interview is correct. Your lawyer passes on any errors and additions to the IND in a letter. He also prepares you for your second interview with the IND.

Day 3
You will have a detailed interview at the IND office. An independent interpreter translates the conversation. If you wish, you can ask the VWN to be present during the detailed interview. You will receive a report of the detailed interview (through your lawyer).

Day 4          
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 to the IND in a letter.

Day 5         
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 will receive a permit. There are 3 possible decisions:

  1. You receive a temporary asylum residence permit. This is stated in a formal decision that you will receive (through your lawyer). The IND also informs you about your rights and obligations. You are allowed to remain in the Netherlands for the time being. Your lawyer will discuss this with you. A temporary asylum residence permit is valid for 5 years.
  2. The IND needs more time to make a good decision. You leave the AA and enter the Extended Asylum Procedure (VA). The IND will give you a leaflet about it (via your lawyer). Or the IND will refer you to an internet address where you can read the leaflet.
  3. You do not receive an asylum residence permit for now. This is stated in an intended decision that you will receive through your lawyer.

Day 6
You have a meeting with your lawyer about the provisional rejection of your asylum application. Your lawyer can send a viewpoint to the IND This letter explains why you disagree with the rejection.

Days 7 and 8
The IND staff member reads your viewpoint. After this, the IND decides if the provisional decision must be changed. Again there are 3 possible decisions:

  1. The decision changes. You do receive a temporary asylum residence permit. This is stated in a decision that you will receive (through your lawyer). The IND informs you about your rights and obligations. You are allowed to remain in the Netherlands for the time being. Your lawyer will discuss this with you. A temporary asylum residence permit is valid for 5 years.
  2. The IND needs more time to take a good decision. You leave the AA and enter the Extended Asylum Procedure (VA). This is stated in a letter that you will receive (via your lawyer). With the letter, you will receive a leaflet about the VA or an Internet address where you can read the leaflet. You will receive a decision later.
  3. The decision does not change. You will not receive an asylum residence permit. The IND explains this in a decision. You will receive this decision (through your lawyer). Your lawyer will discuss this with you. In consultation with your lawyer, you may appeal against this decision to a Dutch court. This means that you officially state that you do not agree with the IND's decision. Sometimes you also request to stay in the Netherlands during the appeal proceedings.

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
  • f you are unexpectedly temporarily ill and no timely replacement is possible, or for other medical reasons; or
  • due to a change in your identity/nationality; or
  • if, after the first or detailed interview, there is doubt about your age; or
  • if you later submit documents in the AA and these need to be checked to see if they are authentic.

6. After the General Asylum Procedure (AA)

  • ​You receive a temporary asylum residence permit

You move to another COA reception centre. 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 from the Dutch Council for Refugees will help you to arrange important matters. For example, finding work or studying.

  • You do not receive a temporary asylum residence permit

COA will transfer you to another asylum seekers' centre. Once there, you have to arrange your return to your country of origin yourself. You have 28 days to do this. After 28 days you no longer have a right to reception. Are you an unaccompanied minor foreign national who is denied residence? 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, then you will be forced to return. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) helps you to arrange your return. You can also ask for help from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). IOM often holds walk-in consultations at the asylum seekers' centre.

Withdraw your asylum application

​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, this has 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 on you for 2 years.

Submit a repeat asylum application

​After rejection of your asylum application, you can submit a repeat asylum application. See Repeat Asylum Application (HASA).

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.

Housing

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.

Work

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 your asylum application you are not allowed to work. Are you in the Extended Asylum procedure? And are you still waiting for a decision? After 6 months you are allowed to work for 24 out of 52 weeks. In this case, your employer does need to have a work permit (TWV) for you. 

Travelling

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.

burgerservicenummer

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.

Viewpoint

​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.

TWV

​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.