Border procedure (border and transit zones)


Country Report: Border procedure (border and transit zones) Last updated: 30/11/20


Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website





The Netherlands has a border procedure applicable to asylum seekers applying at airports and ports.[1] The border procedure in the Netherlands proceeds as follows: the decision on refusal or entry to the Netherlands is suspended for a maximum of 4 weeks and the asylum seeker stays in detention (see Detention of Asylum Seekers). During this period, the IND may reject the claim as:[2]

  • Not considered, due to the application of the Dublin Regulation;[3]
  • Inadmissible;[4] or
  • Manifestly unfounded.[5]


If the IND is not able to stay within the time limits prescribed by the short asylum procedure i.e. 8 days, it can continue the border procedure if it suspects it can reject the asylum application based on the Dublin III Regulation, or declare it inadmissible or manifestly unfounded.[6] The maximum duration of the border procedure is 4 weeks.[7] However, if the examination takes longer than 4 weeks or another ground of rejection is applicable, the detention measure is lifted, the asylum seeker is allowed to enter the Netherlands and the treatment of the application is continued in the regular procedure.[8]


A number of assessments take place prior to the actual start of the asylum procedure, including a medical examination, a nationality and identity check and an authenticity check of submitted documents. The legal aid provider prepares the asylum seeker for the entire procedure. These investigations and the preparation take place prior to the start of the asylum procedure. The AC at Schiphol Airport is a closed centre. The asylum seeker is subjected to border detention to prevent him or her entering the country de jure. During the first steps of the asylum procedure, the asylum seeker remains in the closed AC at Schiphol. It should be also noted that a bill has been presented in 2019 to adjust the Aliens Act to prolong detention of rejected asylum seekers at the border. Nevertheless, until the Aliens Act has been amended, rejected asylum seekers have to be placed in an open reception facility. 


In these stages the border procedure more or less follows the steps of the short asylum procedure described in the section on Regular Procedure. One example of a difference between the regular procedure and the border procedure is the possibility for the decision-making authorities to shorten the rest and preparation period.[9]


The following groups are exempted from the border procedure:

  • Unaccompanied children;[10]
  • Families with children where there are no counter-indications such as a criminal record or family ties not found real or credible,[11] as the Netherlands does not detain families with children at the border.[12] Instead of being put in border detention, families seeking asylum at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport are now redirected to a closed reception centre in Zeist (see Detention of Vulnerable Applicants);
  • Persons for whose individual circumstances border detention is disproportionately burdensome;[13]
  • Persons who are in need of special procedural guarantees on account of torture, rape or other serious forms of psychological, physical and sexual violence, for whom adequate support cannot be ensured.[14]


In the following situations the IND will, after the first hearing, conclude that the application cannot be handled in the border procedure and therefore has to be channelled into the regular asylum procedure:[15]

  • If, after the first hearing, the identity, nationality and origin of the asylum seeker has been  sufficiently established and the asylum seeker is likely to fall under a temporary “suspension of decisions on asylum applications and reception conditions for rejected asylum seekers” (Besluit en vertrekmoratorium);
  • If, after the first hearing the identity, nationality and origin of the asylum seeker has been sufficiently established and the asylum seeker originates from an area where an exceptional situation as referred to in Article 15(c) of the recast Qualification Directive is applicable;
  • If, after the first hearing, the identity, nationality and origin of the asylum seeker has been sufficiently established and there are other reasons to grant an asylum permit.


The Dutch Council for Refugees strongly objects to the use of the border procedure in light of the individual interests of the asylum seeker[16] The Committee of Human Rights (Comité voor de Mensenrechten) has also published advice to the Dutch government in previous years, in which it concludes that it is unnecessary to always detain asylum seekers at the border, especially children.[17] According to the Committee the detention of all asylum seekers at the border without weighing the interest of the individual asylum seeker in relation to the interests of the state is not in line with European regulations and human rights standards.


During the first half of 2019, 390 asylum seekers filed applications at the border.[18] No further statistics were made available in 2019.


Personal interview


The same rules and obstacles as in the Regular Procedure: Personal Interview are applicable.




In the border procedure, the IND may reject an asylum application on the basis of the Dublin Regulation or as inadmissible or manifestly unfounded. Depending on the type of decision issued, the rules described in the Dublin Procedure: Appeal, Admissibility Procedure: Appeal or Regular Procedure: Appeal apply.


Legal assistance


Exactly the same rules and obstacles as in the Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance are applicable to the border procedure.

[1]IND, Work Instruction 2018/3, available in Dutch at: It was issued in March 2018 and entails instructions concerning the border procedure. It covers the information, which is mentioned in this report.

[2]Article 3.109b(1) Aliens Decree. See also IND, Work Instruction 2017/1 Border procedure, 11 January 2017, available in Dutch at:, 7.

[3]Article 30 Aliens Act.

[4]Article 30a Aliens Act.

[5]Article 30b Aliens Act.

[6]Article 3.109b(1) Aliens Decree.

[7]Article 3(7) Aliens Act.

[8]Articles 3 and 6 Aliens Act. See also IND, Work Instruction 2017/1 Border procedure, 6.

[9]Article 3.109b(2) Aliens Decree.

[10]Article 3.109b(7) Aliens Decree.

[11]Paragraph A1/7.3 Aliens Circular.

[12]Paragraph A1/7.3 Aliens Circular.

[13]Article 5.1a(3) Aliens Decree.

[14]Article 3.108 Aliens Decree.

[15]Paragraph C1/2 Aliens Circular.

[16]Dutch Council for Refugees, Standpunt: grensdetentie, available in Dutch at:

[17]Committee for Human Rights, Advies: Over de Grens, Grensdetentie van asielzoekers in het licht van mensenrechtelijke normen, May 2014, available at:

[18]Ministry of Security and Justice, Rapportage Vreemdelingenketen: January-June 2019, available 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