Duration of detention


Country Report: Duration of detention Last updated: 30/11/20


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The law provides different maximum time limits for detention depending on the applicable ground.


The general time limit for border detention is 18 months.[1]

Border detention may be imposed for a maximum of four weeks. In case the asylum request is denied and entry is refused the border detention can be prolonged. As a consequence, if an asylum request at the border is not rejected within four weeks, the detention is lifted and the asylum seeker is allowed entry during his further asylum procedure.[2]

Territorial pre-removal detention under Article 59 of the Aliens Act may be imposed for a maximum of 18 months.[3]

Territorial detention of asylum seekers under Article 59b of the Aliens Act may be imposed initially for four weeks, subject to the possibility of extension by another two weeks or another 3 months.[4]

Territorial detention of asylum seekers on grounds of public order may be ordered for a period of up to 6 months, with the possibility of an extension for another 9 months in the case of complex factual and legal circumstances, or an important issue of public order or national security.[5]


The majority of persons in detention both at the border and on the territory are detained for less than 3 months in practice, although in some cases they are detained for longer:


Average duration of immigration detention in the Netherlands


First half of 2018

First half 2019






< 3 months





3-6 months





> 6 months






Source: Government of the Netherlands[6]


In 2017 the average detention period was 44 days for territorial detention and 32 days for border detention. The available figures do not distinguish asylum seekers from other immigrants.[7] For 2018 and 2019 the average detention period is unknown.


[1]Article 59(7) Aliens Act

[2]Article 3(7) Aliens Act.

[3]Article 59(5) -(6) Aliens Act.

[4]Article 59b(2)-(3) Aliens Act.

[5]Article 59b(4)-(5) Aliens Act.

[6]Rijksoverheid, Rappportage Vreemdelingenketen available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/2SpvN0E for 2018 and at https://bit.ly/35PCkUX for 2019.

[7]DJI, DJI in getal 2013-2017, August 2018, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/2t7B1jf.


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