Forced return

If a foreign citizen who is residing in the Netherlands unlawfully does not leave the country voluntarily, the Government of the Netherlands can force them to leave. This is referred to as gedwongen terugkeer (forced return). In such cases the Government takes the initiative to expel the individual.

Supervision measures and expulsion

Once the departure deadline has expired the foreign citizen must leave the Netherlands. The Government can take several types of measures to ensure they leave the Netherlands. These are called toezichtmaatregelen (supervision measures).

Examples of supervision measures:

  • Instructing the foreign citizen to report to the police regularly. In the meantime, the individual can organise their return, with help from the Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek – DT&V (Repatriation and Departure Service).
  • Having the foreign citizen pay a deposit. If the individual reports to the airport and actually leaves the country, the deposit will be returned.
  • Confiscating the foreign citizen's documents (e.g. passport).
  • Banning the foreign citien from crossing the municipal boundary.

Different measures will be effective for different people. This depends on:

  • the individual’s personal circumstances;
  • whether the individual cooperates in organising their return;
  • whether there is a risk of the individual evading supervision.

A combination of measures may also be taken. If no supervision measures are possible, the individual may be detained, under certain conditions. This may be the case if the person concerned refuses to cooperate at all.

Countries’ cooperation with forced return

Forced return is only possible if the country of origin cooperates, for instance by issuing travel documents. Not all countries are willing to cooperate, however. The Government of the Netherlands therefore would like those countries to face consequences for their non-cooperation. For instance, their development aid could be cut.