Personal responsibility

Personal responsibility

Foreign nationals are personally responsible for their departure from the Netherlands. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) encourages foreign nationals who are not allowed to stay in the Netherlands to leave the country voluntarily and supports them during this process. Foreign nationals who do not leave the Netherlands voluntarily may be forced to leave the country.

The Netherlands applies a strict but just policy. The Netherlands welcomes migrants who can make a contribution to society and it offers protection to persons who have had to flee their country of origin. Every request for admission is therefore carefully assessed by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Those who are not admitted to the Netherlands, or who have no longer legal residence in the Netherlands, stay here illegally and are therefore obligated to leave the Netherlands.

Who has to leave the Netherlands?

Foreign nationals are not allowed to stay in the Netherlands when:

  • their application for residence (asylum or on ordinary grounds) has been rejected or withdrawn
  • they have not submitted an application for residence and are consequently illegal

Return decision

Foreign nationals who no longer have the right of residence or those who are found to reside here illegally receive a so-called Return Decision. This is a decision which states that the foreign national has to leave the country within a certain term (usually 28 days). Foreign nationals have to arrange their departure within this term, with or without the aid of the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) or NGOs, such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Entry ban

An entry ban will be imposed on foreign nationals who do not leave within the term indicated in the Repatriation Decision. Those who remain in the Netherlands, despite the entry ban, are guilty of an offence. Moreover, as a result of the entry ban such foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter the entire Schengen area for a period of at most five years. This is an additional incentive for foreign nationals to depart voluntarily.

Not voluntarily? Forced departure is enforced

Forced departure does not apply until the foreign national fails to leave voluntarily and does not accept assistance from the DT&V or other (non-profit) organisations.

Your asylum application was turned down and you must leave the Netherlands

This fact sheet provides information for those who were not granted a residence permit and must leave the Netherlands.