How to apply for asylum in The Netherlands?

Every day more and more people face situations of violence and discrimination in their countries and, for this reason, they choose to emigrate. Holland is one of the most attractive nations for foreigners; however, if you wish to go there you will have to consider that its legal system is very strict regarding this issue. Therefore, you will have to follow the steps to the letter.

Holland map - asylum application
Holland map – asylum application

Now, to begin with, it is important to consider that Holland is officially called the Netherlands since 2020; therefore, many regulations already include this name. It has a population of 17.5 million people, of which 13% are foreigners. In spite of the strictness of its processes to stay in the territory, up to 70% of the requests for international protection are approved every year.

There is no doubt that, if you meet the country’s minimum requirements, you will have an open door. Just as a large number of immigrants from Turkey, Suriname, Syria, Morocco, China, Afghanistan, South Africa and Colombia have succeeded.

First considerations for seeking asylum in the Netherlands

Interview - asylum application

If you need international protection in the Netherlands, the first thing you need to do is to show up in the country. Once there, you file an application with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), the agency in charge of determining whether you are a candidate for asylum.

The request for asylum in this territory also applies as an application for a residence permit. And being accepted as a refugee under this condition implies that you must learn and use the national language.

You can always withdraw your application for an asylum residence permit, but be aware that there will be consequences. If you withdraw your application at the IND, you may not be able to live in the Netherlands anymore. In addition, for 2 years, the government will have the power to ban you from entering the territory.

As far as employment is concerned, you cannot work during the first six months of the asylum procedure. After that period, if you have not yet received an answer, then you will be entitled to work 24 weeks a year.

On the other hand, it is crucial that before starting the process you consider whether you meet the following requirements:

  • Have sufficient reason to fear for your life, due to persecution (associated with discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or political convictions) or identification with a specific social group.
  • You have been sentenced to death or execution, torture or other inhumane treatment in your country of origin.
  • Have real reasons that make you a victim of incidental violence due to an armed conflict in your home country.

Finally, remember that the asylum application process in the Netherlands is completely free of charge. Read on and find out more about immigration procedures.

Asylum application procedure

Opting for an asylum application in the Netherlands requires a lot of preparation beforehand. You will have to demonstrate very well what were the conditions that led you to flee your country. Do not waste time wandering, as the government is strict and only helps people affected by a situation that puts their integrity at risk.

Step 1. Formalize application, identification and registration

When you enter the Netherlands, the first thing you will do is go to the Application Center (AC) at either Ter Apel or Schiphol. There you will formalize your wish to apply for asylum and you will be instructed on how to proceed with the following steps:

  • Identification and registration . An officer at the AC, who will belong to the Police Department for Aliens, Immigration and Human Trafficking (PDAIHT) or the Royal Netherlands Military Police (RNMP), will make a phone call to you. He will ask you for personal data and proceed with the registration.
  • Security and identification review .Next, an RNMP officer will inspect your clothing and luggage to see if you have weapons, identity documents, travel tickets or an application for asylum in another country. As he/she performs this task, he/she may ask you about the situation that makes you request asylum and will confirm that you really come from the country you indicate.
  • Registration Completion . Subsequently, the officer will take photos of your passport and upload your fingerprints, along with the rest of the information, into the national computer system. Finally, you will be asked to sign the printed asylum application.
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NOTE : If you do not speak the official language, you can use an interpreter, free of charge.

Once you have checked in, the officer will assign you a place to rest and sleep until you can be seen for a medical examination. This applies to all applicants, regardless of the means used to enter the country and the place where they start the process.

Step 2. Rule out tuberculosis (TB)

To continue, the Netherlands requires an examination to rule out tuberculosis (TB). During the examination, a nurse will examine your body and take, if necessary, an x-ray of your lungs.

Tuberculosis is an infectious and contagious disease, so it is essential that you have the examination right after registration is completed. Now, if your country of origin is here , you will be exonerated from the study .

The asylum application process will begin only if you are free of tuberculosis. If you have the disease, then you will be referred to a health center for treatment, and after that, you can proceed with the next steps.

Step 3. informative interview

The next day after registration, you will have to attend an informational interview. This is a conversation with an IND official and will be related to aspects such as: identification data, nationality, domicile, family members, work, etc. The objective is to be able to complete the first form of the procedure and write a brief statement of the petition.

Minors under 18 years of age, who are not accompanied by their parents or legal representatives, will not be interviewed. Neither to those who come from the list of safe countries (check here ) or who already have a protection from a nation of the European Union. In all cases the steps of the so-called simplified asylum procedure will be applied, see here .

The Netherlands is covered by the Dublin Regulation. Therefore, if IND officials detect that before arriving to the territory you passed through another country that is in the agreement, they will refer your case there. The same will happen if there are special or family permit files in any of the nations of the agreement.

Step 4. Preparing for the general asylum procedure

After the interview, you may take a Rest and Preparation Time (RPT); therefore, you will be transferred to a Reception Center for Asylum Seekers (COA). Although there are exceptions to the procedure to skip the step, such as:

  • You process the asylum procedure in immigration detention.
  • You applied to the simplified asylum procedure.
  • The statements about identity, nationality, origin or ancestry that you made are not true.
  • If you are confrontational and cause a nuisance to other petitioners in an application center.

In case the applicant has not reached the age of 15, the NIDOS Foundation will be in charge of assigning him/her to a foster family. The objective is to organize the guardianship of minors, asylum seekers, who are unaccompanied. Remember not to lie at any time, especially not about age, since the IND may decide to apply medical studies to verify it.

During your stay at the reception center, you will be entitled to a free medical examination. The purpose will be to determine whether you are competent to declare the reasons why you fled your country of origin. On the other hand, the Legal Aid Council (CLA) will assign you a free immigration lawyer, with whom you will be able to talk during the RPT and who will help you in the next steps.

Step #5. Six-day General Asylum Procedure

The General Asylum Procedure (AA) is the subsequent steps that most asylum seekers will have to complete. It is exactly six days and during those six days you will do the following:

  • Day 1: Detailed interview .You will explain to a member of the IND the reasons why you require asylum. Remember that if you are not fluent in the official language, you will be assisted by a translator at all times. To ensure that the information provided is correct, you will be given a detailed report of the points raised, which will need to be reviewed by the assigned attorney.
  • Day 2: Discussion of the detailed interview with your lawyer . The office delivered the previous day, you must review it to verify that your message was received successfully. In case there is an error or omission, the legal expert accompanying you will have to request the correction.
  • Day 3: Initial decision. Appear with the attorney before the IND, to submit your response to the report. All the information will be read and analyzed by an official and finally, the official will issue a decision, which may be:
  • An asylum temporary residence permit is granted , valid for five years.
  • The IND could not make a decision and requires more time, so it initiates the Extended Asylum Procedure (EAP).
  • The temporary asylum residence permit is denied. You will have the right to object to the decision the next day.
  • Day 4: Response to decision Discuss the IND’s decision with your immigration attorney and if you disagree with it, then he or she can send a letter to the agency stating your point of view.
  • Days 5 and 6: Response to the second decision . If you do not agree with the initial decision, then the attorney must draft a document arguing your reasons, which will be read by an IND official, who will see if the decision is changed. The decisions he/she may issue are: grant asylum, evaluate with an extension or simply deny the application and indicate that you have the right to appeal to a court according to the procedure available here .
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Step #6. Nine-day General Asylum Procedure (AA+)

If the IND determines that your asylum procedure will be treated through the AA+, then you will spend 9 days doing what is described in step #5. The additional time is applied when the cases are complicated or the petitioners have proven physical or mental illnesses .

Responses to the asylum application

Based on the decisions notified in the AA and AA+, you will now receive an official response to the request for international protection. The two options are as follows:

Approval of the application

You will be transferred to another COA reception center and, additionally, you will be informed that:

  • You will be issued a permit to work.
  • You will be entitled to housing, using government support to make the housing suitable. Once you have found a home, you will be able to leave the COA shelter.
  • Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for family reunification.
  • The staff of the Netherlands Council for Refugees (NCR) will help you find a job or study program if required.

Rejection of the application

Application rejection - asylum application

If your application is denied, and you are not assigned an asylum residence permit, you will be informed that you can do the following:

  • Appear before a court in the Netherlands in any Register of Appeal.
  • Find a way to return you to your country within 28 days, and you can stay at the COA reception center.

It should be noted that the Repatriation and Departure Service (RDS) will be able to help you plan your return to your home country. However, if you decide to remain in the country illegally after the 28-day period has expired, then the RDS can arrange for your forced departure.

Please note that if your asylum application has been definitively rejected, you can try again through a repeat asylum application (HASA). If you need this information, the procedure can be found here .

Time required to process the asylum application

The Netherlands is so organized when it comes to legal procedures that it is positioned as one of the few nations that have set times to respond to asylum requests. The deadlines are:

  • Six months in normal condition .
  • One year and three months if the case is complicated or if the applicant suffers from mental problems or physical limitations .

Duties as an Asylee

Once you are approved for asylum, you may not, under any circumstances, travel to your home country. If you do so, you will be indicating that you no longer require the protection of the Dutch government and your residence permit may be revoked. In addition, you will have to:

  • To be included in the database of the Municipal Personal Records (MPR) of the place where you live, taking the positive decision and the identification documents of the country of origin to the government agency of the province.
  • Take out health insurance to be able to receive medical assistance when you need it.
  • Participate in a civic integration course and, on a compulsory basis, learn the language.
  • Apply for a refugee passport in the municipality where you live in order to be able to travel abroad.

Living in the Netherlands and enjoying its benefits is an excellent opportunity when international protection is required if you have gone through difficult times in your country of origin. So, if you meet the requirements, do not hesitate to come here and, in a short time, define your immigration status.

Holland netherlands cool life there is worth

Maya Martinez

Legal advisor for immigration processes. In addition to providing support in the legal procedures, I offer integral and informative support in relation to the obligations that are acquired when arriving to a new country.

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