Access to the territory and push backs


Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 22/05/23


Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website

There is border control at the external borders of the Netherlands at the European external border at airports, in seaports and along the coast. Mobile Security Supervision (MTV) is the supervision of persons travelling to the Netherlands from another Schengen country at the Belgian and German borders. The checks take place on roads, in trains, on water and in air traffic. In the area immediately behind the border, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee checks travel documents on a random basis.

Migration control dogs help the Marechaussee detect hidden persons (stowaways) in – for example – trucks, coaches and buses that cross the borders. In the ports of IJmuiden and Hoek van Holland, dogs are also used to search ships, containers, and vehicles traveling to and from the United Kingdom via ferry.

For asylum seekers requesting asylum at the border, KMar is the organisation responsible for the initial care.[1]

There are no reports of pushbacks at the Dutch borders.

Legal access to the territory

Resettled refugees

The Netherlands take part in the UNHCR resettlement program; prior to 2021, it aimed at resettling 500 refugees per year. The new Dutch government announced in its Coalition Agreement for 2021 until 2025 the will to increase the number of resettled refugees from 500 to 900 per year.[2] In 2022, 717 refugees were resettled in the Netherlands, 437 of which came from Syria.[3] After arriving in the Netherlands, resettled refugees formally lodge an asylum application at the application centre at Schiphol Airport. They will go through a three-day registration procedure and will be granted a temporary asylum residence permit.

Short stay visa

As a rule, people coming from non-EU countries willing to stay in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days need a visa. A short stay visa can be issued on the grounds of family visits, touristic or business reasons. A short stay visa allows the holder to travel to the Schengen countries and Switzerland.[4]

A visa could be refused when Dutch authorities evaluate that the third-country national does not have sufficient reasons to return to his or her country of origin. For example, if the person concerned does not have a job, school-aged children or a house of their own property in said country.

In view of these considerations, obtaining a short stay visa might prove difficult for persons coming from countries where the general safety situation is critical or deteriorating. No policy regulating the issuance of humanitarian visas according to Article 25 (1) of the Visa Code is in place,[5]  nor does the Dutch Council for Refugees possess any information regarding persons having been granted a humanitarian visa.

Some third country nationals are exempted from a Schengen visa, such as Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport. For more info regarding Ukrainians benefiting from Temporary Protection, see Section on Ukraine.

Afghan nationals

The Dutch government committed to assisting certain groups of Afghan nationals in being repatriated or transferred from Afghanistan to the Netherlands. This includes the following categories of Afghan nationals and their core family members (spouse and children up to the age of 25 who are unmarried and living in the house of their parents):[6]

(1) Interpreters who worked for the Netherlands in the context of an international military or police mission;

(2) Persons belonging to risk groups (such as NGO personnel, journalists and human rights defenders) who were previously included in evacuation lists, but were not able to reach the airport during the evacuation operation carried out in August;

(3) Employees of NGOs working in projects directly financed by the Dutch government and were working since January 1, 2018, who contributed structurally and substantially to the projects for at least one year in a public and visible position;

(4) people who worked for at least one year in a structural and substantial way in a public and visible position for Dutch military troops or EUPOL.

The Dutch government left Afghanistan on Thursday 26 August 2021 and since then evacuation flights with military aircraft stopped. From 26 Augustus 2021 to 6 December 2022, a total of 2,591 people were evacuated from Afghanistan to the Netherlands. 156 persons were still considered for evacuation to the Netherlands, but their transfer was deemed exceedingly difficult due to (most of) them not possessing a valid travel document.[7]  In 2022, with Pakistan’s support,  it was made possible that some hundreds of Afghans on the evacuation list (also people without passports) could cross the land border. They received  visa and plane tickets for the Netherlands at the Dutch embassy in Pakistan It is not yet clear if another evacuation round via Pakistan will be possible.

The most recent evacuation flight destined for the Netherlands was on 3 December 2021.[8] On 12 December 2021, a message appeared that the Taliban suspended cooperation on evacuation flights.[9] Regardless, on 27 January 2022 evacuation flights to Qatar were resumed.[10] From 26 Augustus 2021 to 6 December 2022, a total of 2,591 people were evacuated from Afghanistan to the Netherlands. 156 persons were still considered for evacuation to the Netherlands, but their transfer was deemed exceedingly difficult due to (most of) them not possessing a valid travel document.[11]

On 9 December 2021, 15 EU Member States pledged 40,000 resettlement places for Afghan nationals by the end of 2022. Out of this number, the Dutch government agreed to resettle 3,159 Afghans.[12] According to the Dutch government these numbers included the people who were already on the evacuation lists, no new persons.[13]

On 14 December 2021, 2,000 evacuated Afghans had successfully gone through an accelerated asylum procedure and received a residence permit. 150 more were waiting for a final decision regarding their asylum application.[14]

For other Afghan nationals, on 25 August 2021, the Secretary of State decided to install a decision and departure moratorium for Afghan nationals for six months until 25 February 2022. On 23 February 2022, it was extended. During this moratorium no decisions were taken on asylum applications lodged by Afghan nationals (except for evacuated Afghans). Those that had received a negative decision on their asylum application were not returned to Afghanistan. On 21 July 2022, a new country police document WBV 2019/22[15] and an IND Information Message 2022/71 about Afghanistan were published and the moratorium was stopped. Because of the worrying security and human rights situation in Afghanistan, the IND stated that many Afghans will receive the benefit of the doubt, leading to a high chance of the applications being accepted.[16]




[1] Ministry of Defence, Grenstoezicht, available in Dutch at:

[2] Coalition Agreement (Regeerakkoord) 2021 – 2025: Omzien naar elkaar, vooruitkijken naar de toekomst, available in Dutch at:

[3] IND, Asieltrends, available in English at:

[4] IND, Information about short stay visa, available in Dutch at:

[5] Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code).

[6] Dutch Parliament, 14 September 2021, 27925-808, Stand van zaken in Afghanistan, available in Dutch at: and Dutch Parliament, 11 October 2021, Kamerbrief ontwikkelingen Afghanistan available in Dutch at:

[7] Central government, Kamerbrief over voortgang overbrengingen Afghanistan, 15 August 2022, available in Dutch at:; Central government, Kamerbrief over stand van zaken overbrengingen van personen uit Afghanistan, 17 October 2022, available in Dutch at:

[8] Dutch news, NOS, ‘Franse evacuatievlucht uit Afghanistan, 60 Nederlanders aan boord’, 3 December 2021, available in Dutch at:

[9] Pakistan Aviation, not dated, Taliban stop all evacuation flights from Afghanistan, available in English at:

[10] Reuters, ‘Qatar resumes Afghan evacuation flights after two-month halt’, 27 January 2022, available in English at:

[11] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brief Voortgang overbrengingen uit Afghanistan, available in Dutch at:

[12] Euractiv, ‘EU Member States agree to take in 40,000 Afghans’, 10 December 2021, available in English at:

[13] Government answer in Parliament, 32 317 JBZ Raad, Nr 738, available in Dutch at:

[14] IND, Residence permit for well over 2,000 Afghan evacuees, available in English at:

[15] Besluit van de Staatssecretaris van Justitie en Veiligheid van 13 juli 2022, nummer WBV 2022/19, houdende wijziging van de Vreemdelingencirculaire 2000, available in Dutch at:

[16] IND, Information Message 2022/71, Beslissen op Afghaanse asielaanvragen, available in Dutch at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation