What can asylum seekers expect in the Netherlands?

If an asylum seeker wants to apply for asylum in the Netherlands, they must go to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) application centre in Ter Apel. Their identity, nationality and travel route are established in an interview. They must then go to a reception centre while the IND processes their asylum application.

Reception centres for asylum seekers

After their initial registration and identification, the asylum seeker goes to a reception centre near the application centre that is processing their application. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) provides housing and basic facilities for cooking and washing. The following services are also provided at the reception centre:

  • medical advice;
  • information from the Dutch Refugee Council;
  • help from a lawyer to prepare for the asylum procedure.

Application processed in country of initial registration

If an individual was previously registered as an asylum seeker in another EU member state, they are usually obliged to return to that country. Their asylum application will be processed in the country where they were initially registered. This was laid down in the Dublin Regulation.

Start of the asylum procedure

After a rest and preparation period the general asylum procedure begins. The IND assesses asylum applications on the basis of a range of factors, such as:

  • the asylum seeker’s account (facts and credibility);
  • the security situation in the asylum seeker’s country of origin.

If the asylum seeker comes from a safe country of origin an accelerated asylum procedure applies. In such cases the asylum seeker is not given time for rest and preparation and the IND makes its decision faster. If their application is rejected the asylum seeker must leave the Netherlands immediately.