Decision and departure moratorium on Afghan asylum applications extended

Last update: 25 February 2022

The Minister for Migration decided to extend the moratorium on decisions and departures for Afghanistan by six months with effect from 26 February. This means that the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (in Dutch: Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst or IND) will also have the possibility in the next six months to postpone decisions on asylum applications by people from Afghanistan. The reason is the uncertain situation in the country. The decision was published today in the Dutch Government Gazette (in Dutch: Staatscourant, or Stcrt.) and will end on 26 August 2022.

A decision and departure moratorium means that, for the time being, the IND does not have to take decisions on asylum applications by Afghans. For new applications, in principle, only a registration interview will take place. The decision stop also applies to current applications, so to people who had already applied for asylum in the Netherlands and who are staying in a reception centre. Moreover, temporarily, no Afghans will be removed by the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) if the IND has rejected their application, and they will maintain their right to reception.

Individual cases

In individual cases, the IND can indeed take a decision on an Afghan application. For example, where possible, the IND will start to handle the applications of persons who were evacuated from Afghanistan by the Netherlands as soon as possible and grant them if so indicated. It is also possible to reject an application, for example if someone is suspected of war crimes, if there are risks to national security, if a person already has asylum status in a different EU Member State, or if a Dublin application is concerned (if someone previously applied for asylum in a different EU Member State).

A new Country Report by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the situation in Afghanistan is expected in March. The asylum policy for  Afghanistan that the IND implements will be assessed again partly on the basis of that report.

Decision period

The decision moratorium means that the IND will postpone decisions on Afghan applications. In principle, the decision period of current asylum applications will be extended to 18 months. Normally speaking, an extendable decision period of 6 months applies.