Return decision

Last update: 29 January 2024

A return decision is a decision stating that you have to return. This is because you are not allowed to stay in the Netherlands. You must leave the EU/EEA (except Ireland) and Switzerland.

When you can get a return decision

You will get a return decision in the following situations:

  • The police or KMar find you at the border or in the Netherlands and they or the IND establish that you are in the Netherlands illegally. For example, because you do not have a valid residence permit and have not applied for a residence permit.
  • The IND rejects your application for a residence permit or extension of a residence permit. The return decision is part of this decision. 
  • The IND withdraws your residence permit. The return decision is part of this decision.

A return decision only applies to someone who does not have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. From now on, we call all these countries EU.

Who issues a return decision?

The IND, the police (Aliens Police Identification and Human Trafficking Department or AVIM), the Seaport Police and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) can issue a return decision.

Consequences of a return decision

  • You must return to the country mentioned in the return decision. Or to a country outside the EU/EEA (except Ireland) or Switzerland where you are allowed to reside.
  • You have to leave the EU yourself. The return decision specifies within which time limit, for example 4 weeks (28 days) or immediately (0 days).
  • If you have a departure time limit of 0 days, you must leave the EU immediately. Then you usually also get an entry ban.
  • The government can remove you if you do not leave on your own.
  • The government enters an alert for a return decision on you in the Schengen Information System (SIS). Border guards and the police of Schengen countries are able to check the SIS. By entering your personal details they can see that you have received a return decision.

Have you left the EU? Then we will delete the alert for the return decision from the SIS. Are you not an EU citizen and do you show that you do have a right of residence in the EU? Then you may not be the subject of an SIS alert for a return decision.

Postponement of the consequences of a return decision

In the following situations you do not yet have to leave:

  • After a return decision, you apply for a residence permit. And according to the rules you are allowed to wait for the decision on that application in the Netherlands.
  • You have received a negative decision on your application for a residence permit. You objected or appealed against the decision to court in time. The decision states that you are allowed to wait for the decision in the Netherlands.
  • You have been granted postponement of departure for medical reasons under Section 64 of the Aliens Act (in Dutch: Vreemdelingenwet).

Return decision from before 7 March 2023

An alert will not have been entered in the SIS for the return decision automatically if you received a return decision before 7 March 2023. Find out next the situations in which you will still be subject of a SIS alert. And why it is to your benefit to report your departure from the EU to the IND.

Return decision without entry ban

The IND will as yet enter an alert in the SIS for a return decision on you after receiving a notification of a change in your situation after 7 March 2023. For example, if you submit a new application or if the IND has taken a decision on your application. But also in other situations, such as objection to or appeal against a decision of the IND. You will be a subject of a SIS alert only if the IND knows that you are still in the Netherlands. Or if the IND does not know whether you are still in the EU. Does the IND already know that you have left the EU? Then you will not be recorded in the SIS for having the return decision.

Return decision with entry ban

You are only a subject of a SIS alert for having the entry ban. Will the IND receive notice of a change in your situation after 7 March 2023? For example in case of a new application or a decision on your application? Then the alert on you in the SIS for having the entry ban will change to an alert for having the return decision. This will be done only if the IND knows that you are still in the Netherlands, or if the IND does not know whether you are still in the EU. After your departure the IND will enter an alert on you again for having the entry ban. Does the IND already know that you have left the EU? Then the alert on you for having the entry ban will remain in the SIS.

Report your departure

Report your departure to the IND. Then we will be able to delete the alert for your return decision from the SIS. Have you received a return decision and an entry ban, and reported your departure? Then the IND knows when you left the EU. And the IND will enter an alert on you for having the entry ban.

You report your departure by sending a letter to the IND in which you tell them when you left. Also enclose evidence of your departure and the whole journey. For example: all entry and departure stamps in your passport, tickets and other travel documents. The postal address can be found on our Contact page.

Review or change alerts in SIS

Do you want to know if an alert exits on you in the SIS and for what? Or would you like to ask to have your details changed or removed from the SIS? Find out how to ask the police's Central Unit (in Dutch: Landelijk Informatie Organisatie or DLIO) to check or update the SIS at www.politie.nl.

Object or appeal against return decision

You can object to or appeal  against the decision containing the return decision. The decision explains what you can do: object to the IND or appeal to court. The decision also states whether you are allowed to wait for the objection or appeal in the Netherlands.