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What you need to know before applying for asylum

Last updated: 2/1/2023, 11:40 AM

If you are a refugee, you can apply for asylum in the Netherlands. To apply for asylum, you must register in Ter Apel. You must then explain why you fled to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND).

You can apply for asylum for these reasons

You can apply for asylum for the following reasons:

  1. Because you fear persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or because you belong to a social group that is discriminated against.

  2. Because you are at risk of facing the death penalty, torture or some other form of inhumane treatment in your country of origin.

  3. Because you fear becoming a victim of violence from an armed conflict, such as war, in your country of origin.

These reasons were agreed upon in the International Convention on Refugees which the Netherlands signed. This treaty states how refugees should be treated.

You will encounter these organisations during the asylum process

  • The Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND):The IND is part of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. The IND investigates whether you are entitled to asylum in the Netherlands. 

  • VluchtelingenWerk (VWN): VWN is a human rights organization that advocates for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands. VWN is independent and does not work for the IND, COA or the Dutch government. VWN volunteers explain the asylum procedure and can support you if you want. They can also help with contact with other organizations. VWN is present at all shelter facilities of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).

  • Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA): COA is part of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. During your asylum procedure, COA is responsible for your shelter in the Netherlands. COA provides accommodation, meals and guidance to asylum seekers in shelters in the Netherlands.

  • Legal Aid Board (RvR): The RvR arranges for you to have a lawyer during your asylum procedure. You do not have to pay for the lawyer. The RvR works independently of the Dutch government.

  • Nidos: You are younger than 18 and do not have any parents or other people officially caring for you in the Netherlands. Yet, according to Dutch law, someone must officially take care of you. This is called undefinedguardianshipundefined. Stichting Nidos arranges for someone to take care of you in the Netherlands.

  • Foreign Nationals Police, Identification and Human Trafficking department (AVIM): The AVIM is a division of the Dutch police. The AVIM examines your identity and documents.

  • Royal Netherlands Marechaussee: The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is part of the Dutch military. Together with the AVIM, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee examines your identity and documents.

This is expected of you during the asylum process

During the asylum procedure, you must substantiate to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) why you are applying for asylum. You do this by collecting evidence, for example documents and letters. You also tell your refugee story during interviews with the IND.

It is important that you tell the IND all the information about why you have fled clearly and completely. VluchtelingenWerk Nederland can help you prepare properly for the interviews with the IND. The IND decides whether you will receive an asylum permit based on the documents you provide and the interviews you have with the IND.

You apply for asylum in Ter Apel

If you enter the Netherlands by land and want to apply for asylum, you must go to the Application Center (AC) in Ter Apel. This is the only place in the Netherlands where you can start your asylum application. Anywhere in the Netherlands, you can get a ticket for the train or bus from the police to travel to Ter Apel.