Unaccompanied minor aliens (AMV)

Unaccompanied minor aliens (AMV) are aliens under the age of 18 who, on their arrival in the Netherlands, were not accompanied by a parent or other relative by blood or marriage aged 18 or over.

What is an AMV?

An unaccompanied minor alien (AMV) is a person:

  • who was under 18 on arrival in the Netherlands
  • whose country of origin is outside the European Union, and
  • who travelled to the Netherlands without a parent or other person exercising authority over them.

In the past, AMVs were referred to as unaccompanied minor asylum seekers (AMAs).

Different asylum procedures for AMVs and aliens over 18

AMVs who need protection are granted asylum, just like adult asylum seekers. But because of their age a number of special measures apply:

  • AMVs are assigned a guardian until their 18th birthday.
  • AMVs under the age of 15 are placed with foster families by the Nidos Foundation. AMVs aged 15 and over, and those under 15 who cannot be placed with foster families, are given accommodation by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). They are housed in small-scale reception centres with 24-hour supervision.
  • This supervision takes account of AMVs’ possible outcomes: civic integration if they are granted a residence permit or return if their application is denied. AMVs in COA reception reception centres who are granted a residence permit are placed in foster families by the Nidos Foundation, to help them integrate in society.
  • The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has special interview rooms for children under 12 (for example with toys). Certain staff members are specially trained to interview children and question them in a manner appropriate to their age.
  • AMVs in the Netherlands have the right to shelter, education, health care and support, just like other children.

Repatriation of AMVs

If the IND finds that an AMV is not in need of protection they must return to their country of origin. But they may only be sent back if the Dutch government is certain that they will be adequately cared for there, for instance by family members or in a children’s home. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) helps arrange reception in the country of origin.

Sometimes, through no fault of their own, unaccompanied minors may be unable to return to their country of origin. Perhaps there is no one to adequately care for them there. Special rules apply for AMVs under 15. Under certain conditions they may be issued a 'no-fault' residence permit.