Amendment to Passport Act allowing automatic cancellation of jihadist travellers’ passports and identity cards

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom has approved a bill to amend the Passport Act, proposed by Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk. The aim of the amendment is to prevent individuals travelling to jihadist areas. Under the new rules, the passport and identity card of anyone who is subject to a travel ban will be cancelled automatically. The bill is part of the plan of action ‘An Integrated Approach to Jihadism’.

In early July the government sent the bill to the Council of State for an advisory opinion. Under the Counterterrorism (Interim Administrative Measures) Act, the Minister of Security and Justice already has the power to impose a travel ban on individuals, but the proposed measures will make bans more effective. Individuals will have to immediately relinquish their passport and identity card to the authorities. If they do not, the documents will be registered in the Interpol database as invalid, which will significantly restrict the ability of these people to travel to jihadist areas. If they try, border control officials will see that they are not authorised to travel and will refuse them access to the country concerned.

To ensure that the individuals in question are still able to comply with compulsory identification requirements in the Netherlands, they will be issued with a replacement identity document. This document can be used as proof of identity but not for travel outside the Schengen area.

The Council of Ministers for the Kingdom has agreed to submit the bill to the Council of State for the Kingdom for an advisory opinion. The text of the bill and the advisory opinion will be published when they are presented to the House of Representatives.