Border detention

In the interests of border control, it may be necessary to place an individual in grensdetentie (border detention). This is done if the individual enters the country without a valid travel document or without sufficient financial means, or if they are a threat to public order or national security.

The Schengen Borders Code requires the Netherlands to refuse to admit travellers who do not meet the criteria for entry to the Schengen Area. Often, border detention is the only way of preventing a foreign citizen who does not fulfil the relevant conditions from entering the Netherlands.

Submitting an asylum application at Schiphol

Foreign citizens who have been denied entry to the Netherlands can request asylum. Asylum seekers are given the opportunity to submit an asielaanvraag (application for asylum) at the application centre at Schiphol airport. In most cases, decisions on whether a person may stay in the Netherlands are made within 2 weeks.

Transfer to a reception centre

If further investigation is required, asylum seekers are usually moved to an open opvangcentrum (reception centre). They will stay there throughout the asylum procedure.

Family screening at the border

Families with children who arrive at an airport and request asylum are screened immediately at the border. This is to avoid having to subject children to detention, given their vulnerability.

Border screening applies to all families with children under the age of 18 who do not meet the criteria for entry into the Netherlands and who have requested asylum at the border. If the screening shows that a family relationship exists and that no one in the party has a criminal record, the family enters the open asylum procedure.

Entry may be denied if there are possible risks to the children or if there is reason to further investigate the adults. This could be the case if the family relationship appears implausible, if people smuggling or human trafficking is suspected, or if there are indications that one or more of the individuals has a criminal record. The small group of families who are not immediately admitted to the open asylum procedure are taken to a secure, family-friendly facility. If the family fails the screening because the family relationship appears implausible or because people smuggling or human trafficking is suspected, the Nidos foundation may place the child(ren) with a foster family while the adult(s) are placed in detention.