Border detention

In the interests of border control, it may be necessary to place an individual in border detention. This is done if the migrant 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 and the Netherlands. Often, border detention is the only way of preventing a migrant who does not fulfil the relevant conditions from entering the Netherlands.

Submitting an asylum application at Schiphol

Migrants who have been denied entry to the Netherlands can request asylum. Asylum seekers are given the opportunity to submit an 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 reception centre. They will stay there throughout the asylum procedure.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example:

  • if further investigation is needed to establish the person’s identity or nationality;
  • if abuse or fraud is involved;
  • if it is likely article 1F of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees will be invoked.

In those cases, the person concerned remains in border detention and enters the Extended Closed Border Asylum Procedure (GVA). Border detention may only continue if the individual’s expulsion is imminent.

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 minor children 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.