Last update : August 2023

People can apply for asylum in the Netherlands. However, like everywhere in Europe, it is increasingly difficult to be granted asylum. Especially when you can’t present identity documents, travel documents or evidence that support the reasons why you left your country. Whether or not you have more chance on asylum in the Netherlands or in another EU-country, is hard to say.

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

EU- and national asylum law is increasingly harmonized, but in practice there are differences. Sometimes it may depend on where you come from or for which reasons you fled your country. It is important to note that national immigration law changes very quickly. There are as well possibilities to apply for a residence permit on other grounds than asylum, for instance family (re)unification, medical grounds, work or study, or other, but all under strict conditions.

The Netherlands is well known for its long-term detention of migrants. Moreover, people who do not get a residence permit, but also cannot be deported to their country of origin, do not get legalized, nor shelter and money to buy food.
Undocumented migrants live and work in the Netherlands, for instance with black jobs and informal rented rooms or by support of family, friends, churches or migrant support organizations. As an undocumented person in the Netherlands you do have the right on basic health care. An increasing number of migrants are on the street.

Everyone without residence permit, who is apprehended by the police (at the borders or inside the country) has the right to apply for asylum.
The main registration center is in Ter Apel, where most people have to go when asking for asylum in the Netherlands. After the first registration there most asylum seekers will be sent to different camps, where they are obliged to stay in the accommodation they are signed in for.
There have been several demonstrations of refugees who are staying in some camps like Ter Apel or Leuwarden to protest the long and arbitrary IND procedures or the conditions in the camps. Also the actions and protests striving for a so called “General pardon” for undocumented migrants have been growing in several cities across the country.
The existing solidarity structures and self-organized refugee groups can be found in the contact section.