Voluntary departure

Voluntary departure

Foreign nationals who are not allowed to remain in the Netherlands are obligated to leave the Netherlands. Return to their country of origin is most logical in such cases. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) coordinates this return. The DT&V encourages and assists foreign nationals as much as possible, so that they can depart voluntarily.

Illegal foreign nationals or rejected asylum seekers have to leave the Netherlands within 28 days, depending on their status.

Illegal foreign nationals

Foreign nationals who never applied for a residence permit and who are detained by the Police or the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee must leave the Netherlands immediately. In general they are placed in a detention centre or a removal centre.

Rejected asylum seekers

Asylum seekers whose application has been definitively rejected, have 28 days to leave the Netherlands voluntarily. During this period, they will be accommodated at a reception centre of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA). The DT&V helps foreign nationals prepare for their departure from the Netherlands.

Foreign nationals whose asylum application has been rejected and who do not leave the Netherlands within 28 days (for example because they do not have travel documents), are commonly housed in a so-called freedom-restricting centre. This is where the preparations for departure will continue.

Issuance of residence permit during the repatriation process

In some cases, the State Secretary may still decide to grant a residence permit to a foreign national who fails to leave the country through no fault of his own. This may be the case, for example, if the authorities of the country of origin refuse to issue a travel document, despite the many attempts of the foreign national to demonstrate his identity and nationality. In exceptional cases, the State Secretary can also grant a residence permit if, for example, war breaks out in the country of origin or if a natural disaster has taken place.

Return process for adult foreign nationals

This infographic summarises the return process. Foreign nationals whose application for a residence permit has been rejected or whose residence permit has been revoked, or people who are in the Netherlands illegally, must leave the country. They are given a deadline for voluntary return.