Return decision

Last update: 14 November 2022

A return decision means that you are in the Netherlands illegally. You have to leave the Netherlands and all other countries of the EU and EEA (except Ireland) and Switzerland. You must return to your country of origin. Find out more about the consequences of a return decision.

When you can get a return decision

A return decision only applies to someone who does not have the nationality of an EU country or EEA country  or Switzerland. 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. You will get a return decision in any of these situations:

  • The police or KMar find you at the border or in the Netherlands and they determine 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 negative decision. 
  • The IND withdraws your residence permit. The return decision is part of this decision. 

Consequences return decision

You must leave the Netherlands, the region of the EU and EEA (except Ireland) and Switzerland of your own accord. You must also return to the country of origin stated in the return decision.


The return decision states the period within which you must depart. The normal departure period is 4 weeks (28 days). A period of 0 days is also possible. Then you must leave the Netherlands, the region of the EU and EEA (except Ireland) and Switzerland immediately. With a departure period of 0 days, you usually also get an entry ban.

Postponement of consequences of return decision

You do not have to leave immediately in these situations;

  • After a return decision, you apply for a residence permit. You are allowed to wait for the decision on this 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.

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.