Anyone who fears persecution, violence, or inhumane treatment in their country of origin (either by the government or by others) may apply for asylum to be protected and to live in another country. You have the right to a fair asylum procedure, and if your asylum request is granted, as a refugee you have rights to housing, healthcare, education, and access to the labour market. Below you can find a brief overview of the process of applying for asylum in the Netherlands. For more and detailed information, you can contact VVN.

Note: This information is subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact VVN or the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND).


1: Reporting and registration upon arrival in the Netherlands (approximately 2 days)

  • First, report to the Aliens Police in Ter Apel.
  • If you arrive at Schiphol Airport, report to the Dutch Immigration Police at the airport.
  • The Aliens Police will verify your identity and personal details. They will also search your clothing and baggage, and take your photo and fingerprints.
  • You will give them your passport, tickets, diplomas and any other documents you have.
  • During this process, you can stay in the vicinity of the Aliens Police Station, in what is referred to as the Central Reception Facility (run by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers—COA) in Ter Apel.


2: Rest and Preparation (at least 6 days)

  • While at Ter Apel, you will receive information about the asylum procedure from VVN.
  • You will be assisted by a lawyer.
  • You will make an appointment to see a nurse (and if necessary, a doctor.)
  • If you are at the Schiphol reception centre, you will receive information, a lawyer, and a nurse appointment there.


3: The general asylum procedure (4 parts)

  • Part 1: The Initial Interview: You will meet with an IND employee who will ask you basic questions about your identity, nationality, and travel route. An interpreter is provided. You have a right to ask for a third person’s presence if it is to your preference, usually a volunteer from VVN. After the interview you will have the possibility to meet with your legal counsellor to go through the previous interview and make corrections if necessary. Your lawyer submits these to the IND and shares a report with you.
  • Part 2: The detailed interview: In this second interview, you will again meet with an IND employee who will this time ask for your story, and why you are applying for asylum. An interpreter and legal assistance is provided. After this interview you will again have the possibility to make corrections to the report that will be submitted to the IND.
  • Part 3: The report of intention: You will receive a letter telling you whether the court will accept, decline, or require further investigation (see Step 4) regarding your asylum application. You and your legal counsellor will have the opportunity to respond before a final decision is made.
  • Part 4: The decision: After considering your response to the report of intention, the court will make a final decision. (See Step 5.) You will have the opportunity to appeal this decision.


4: The extended asylum procedure

If your application needs further examination, you may be processed in the extended asylum procedure. This means that you will go to a different reception location, and the decision about your asylum will take longer, a maximum of 6 months. It is possible that you will be interviewed again if the authorities have more questions.


5: Residence or departure

If you are granted asylum:

  • You will receive a temporary residence permit (usually valid for five years.)
  • You will be able to reunite with your family. You should request their transfer quickly; conditions apply and the process is more complicated if you request the transfer after 3 months.
  • You must attend an integration course.
  • You are allowed to work for pay (it is not allowed for asylum seekers to work during the first 6 months of the asylum procedure).
  • You are entitled to a place to live, which will be arranged by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).
  • You can apply for a refugee or aliens passport.
  • You can apply for Dutch citizenship if you have lived in the Netherlands for more than five years (with a residence permit) and now have a non-temporary residence permit.
  • You are entitled to education.

If you are not granted asylum:

  • Option 1: You can appeal against this decision. If you have been rejected in the general asylum procedure, you should file an appeal within a week of your application being rejected. In most cases, you will not be able to stay in the Netherlands during the appeal process. If you received a rejection from the extended asylum procedure, you have four weeks to lodge an appeal. You are allowed to stay in the Netherlands during the appeal process.
  • Option 2: or you will need to leave the Netherlands. You can contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) about financial support and other assistance in getting back to your country of origin.