Access to the territory and push backs

Netherlands

Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 08/04/22

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

There are no reports of pushbacks at the Dutch borders.

Legal access to the territory

Resettled refugees

The Netherlands takes part to the UNHCR resettlement program, and resettles 500 refugees per year. 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. The new Dutch government announced in its Coalition Agreement the will to increase the number of resettled refugees from 500 to 900 per year.[1]

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.[2]

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,[3]  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. They are allowed to stay in the Netherlands for 90 days without a visa. Ukrainians who do not have a biometric passport have to apply for a Schengen visa. The visa-exempt and the Schengen visa could be extended for another 90 days in very exceptional circumstances. The Dutch government announced that Ukrainians are entitled to extend their visa-exempt or their Schengen visa for 90 days.[4]

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):[5]

(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. Since 9 September 2021, charter flights with planes from other countries (Qatar, Pakistan) departed from Kabul with people who were on the Dutch evacuation list. From 9 September 2021 until the end of December 2021, 573 people have been repatriated or transferred to the Netherlands.[6] So far, only people holding a Dutch passport or an (expired) Afghan passport were repatriated or transferred on evacuation flights. Evacuations of people without passports proved very difficult. On 20 January 2022, with Pakistan’s support, 35 people were made to cross the land border and will receive a visa and plane ticket for the Netherlands at the Dutch embassy in Pakistan, but this was a rare exception.[7]

The most recent evacuation flight destined to 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]

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.[11] At the moment of writing, it is unclear whether evacuees will be considered as part of the number of Afghan nationals resettled or not.

The policy regarding the repatriation and transfer of Afghan nationals has been changing on a regularly basis in recent months. As such, some of the information referred to may result outdated.

[1] Coalition Agreement (Regeerakkoord) 2021 – 2025: Omzien naar elkaar, vooruitkijken naar de toekomst, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3ofYtI0.

[2] IND, Information about short stay visa, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3L9fei1.

[3] 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).

[4] IND, Ukraine: effects on stay or application, available at: https://bit.ly/3M02Voy.

[5] Dutch Parliament, 14 September 2021, 27925-808, Stand van zaken in Afghanistan, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3B0IaUU and Dutch Parliament, 11 October 2021, Kamerbrief ontwikkelingen Afghanistan available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3L9Z5sF.

[6] Dutch newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, ‘Nog 573 mensen uit Kaboel weggehaald na einde evacuatiemissie’, 27 December 2021, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3LcjJIq.

[7] Dutch Parliament, Kamerbrief over verzoek reactie op nieuwsbericht evacuatie Afghanen op Nederlandse evacuatielijst, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3IA9BGU.

[8] Dutch news, NOS, ‘Franse evacuatievlucht uit Afghanistan, 60 Nederlanders aan boord’, 3 December 2021, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3rrnz8Z.

[9] Pakistan Aviation, not dated, Taliban stop all evacuation flights from Afghanistan, available in English at: https://bit.ly/34iFzcH.

[10] Reuters, ‘Qatar resumes Afghan evacuation flights after two-month halt’, 27 January 2022, available in English at: https://reut.rs/3rscd4E.

[11] Euractiv, ‘EU Member States agree to take in 40,000 Afghans’, 10 December 2021, available in English at: https://bit.ly/3orThkm.

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