Deportation > Netherlands


Last update: January 2018

Return, detention and control

Obligation to return    
After a negative decision or when you are not allowed to await a decision you have the obligation to leave voluntarily. When you do not leave the Netherlands in the given period, the government will try to remove you by force.

Period of departure    
There is a given period of departure, often 28 days, but this can be 0 days as well. The given period of departure can be extended when you are cooperating on your return, if you have been granted delay of departure for medical reasons or if there is a departure moratorium in force.
Shelter: You do not have legal stay during the period of departure, but you do have he right on shelter until the end of this period. Families with minor children are placed in a VBL (location with restriction of freedom) or GOL (family location) while awaiting their deportation. If you cooperate on your return, you can be moved to a VBL as well.
If you do not wish to (work on your) return, you could better leave the AZC (shelter for asylum seekers) before the period of departure ends, otherwise the aliens police will arrest you there and take you to a detention center in preparation of your flight.   

“Voluntary” return    
The VBL is a shelter for those who decide to return to their country of origin 'voluntarily'. In this shelter you can go outside, but you have to register everyday. In principle, you can stay for 12 weeks in a VBL. The government invests a lot of money in organizations such as IOM, Maatwerk bij Terugkeer who support people to return to their country. These organizations will give you some financial allowance when you return voluntarily.  
If you cooperate on your return, and if you face real risk on deportation, for example when they let you know the date of your flight, you may decide to leave the VBL.

Enforced removal
Conversations with DT&V:
There will be 3 formal conversations with the DT&V (Dienst Terugkeer & Vertrek, the authority responsible for return), starting after the first negative decision on your asylum request. If you do not cooperate enough, you can be put in detention. When you do not show up at an appointment with DT&V, it will be seen as not cooperative.
When you can show that you are a citizen of a particular country, for example by presenting a birth certificate, this country can give you a laissez-passer (LP), a travel document with which you can travel once to this country.
Presentations at the embassy:
In order to obtain a LP, the DT&V will present you at the embassy of your country of origin (or where they think you come from), written or in person at the authorities of that country. They will determine your identity and nationality. They are not allowed to give any information on the reasons why you are in the Netherlands and that you have asked for asylum. Generally, if the DT&V has your passport, it will be easier to deport you. It depends on the embassy whether or not they give a laissez passer for forced deportation: there are some embassies that (almost) never give laissez-passers or only when you want to return voluntarily.

To prevent your deportation your lawyer can ask for an interim measure. You can also start a new asylum procedure or a procedure on other grounds. In most cases you are allowed to await the decision, which means that you cannot be deported.
Sometimes it may help to ask support from your surroundings (school, social centers, friends, etc.), the mayor of your town, churches or support organizations to stop your deportation. In some cases it may help to ask attention from the media to tell your story and put pressure on the authorities. This is not a guarantee to stop your deportation, but it is still an option we want to mention.   
To stop your flight, you can try to influence the other passengers to stand up in the plane. The pilot of the plane may decide not to fly when not all people sit down.

When the police arrests you, always ask for your lawyer before you talk to the police. When you are in alien detention, you will not know how long it will take. The imprisonment may be up to 18 months. Usually, when the judge decides that there is no prospect on deportation, you must be released. This is often after 6 months, but can easily be extended another 12 months when the DT&V blames you for not cooperating on your own deportation. In prison you have the right to obtain a lawyer and medical support, although in practice the medical care is often not sufficient. You can receive mail, and visitors. Then you should ask for permission and write down the name and date of birth of the person who wants to visit you. If you need to call, you will need money to buy special phone cards.
There do exist some visit groups: people who do not agree with the way you are treated and, in solidarity, can visit you in prison. Contact a support organization or an action group to find out. There is an organization with a hotline about alien detention. If you have complaints about your treatment in detention you can contact 0800 3388776 (it's for free) or send an e-mail to

Re-entry ban
You may get a re-entry ban for the whole Schengen area for a specific period. Then your stay in the Netherlands and Schengen countries will be criminal and if you are found you risk a fine or imprisonment. Note: If you want to start a new procedure, you should first take legal steps against this re-entry ban with the help of a lawyer. It is not completely clear yet in which cases you can start a procedure when you have this re-entry ban.

Declared undesirable (Persona non grata):
when you are condemned for committing a crime, you can be declared undesirable, also meaning that you are not allowed to reside here and if you are found despite this, you are committing a crime.

Police and identification    
When you stay in the Netherlands or Europe without papers you will have to watch out for the police, watch out for instance for committing traffic offenses, because the police will then ask for your identity document. The Compulsory Identification Act is in force in the Netherlands, meaning that you have to be able to show your identity document when the police asks you to. When you can't, you risk detention and deportation.

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