Your asylum application
Shortly after your arrival in the Netherlands, you have to apply for a residence permit. This is usually an asylum application. Your guardian will help you with this. Then a procedure follows within which the Immigration and Naturalisation service [IND] makes a decision about the application. Tell your real life story, because half-truths are often uncovered and then your case will be weakened. Your guardian and your lawyer can help you if they know the facts. It is logical that you will think often about the asylum procedure; after all, the outcome will determine the course of your future. The IND assesses all the applications from foreigners who wish to live in the Netherlands or wish to become a Dutch citizen. It concerns for example people who do not feel safe in their own country. It could be that the IND has doubts about how old you claim to be. If you cannot prove how old you are, you can cooperate in an age research in order to determine your age. With the aid of an X-ray examination, the age of your skeleton is measured: your biological age. The IND pays the costs for this research.
What steps are taken in the asylum procedure?
Step 1 The registration and the guardianship
In order to apply for asylum in the Netherlands, you report to the IND application centre in Ter Apel. Here, personal details are registered and a guardian from Nidos will have talks with you. The guardian will then decide which care location you will go to.
Step 2 The asylum application
You stay for about a day and sometimes a night at the application centre in Ter Apel. Most young people then go to a so-called UMA care location [amv-Pol-locatie], where you can then have a rest for a period of a few weeks. During this period, you will also have talks with your guardian, your lawyer and the Dutch Council for Refugees. After these few weeks, you submit your asylum application. The General Asylum Procedure [AA] often takes eight days, but a decision might very well be taken to deal with your asylum application further within the so-called extended procedure and then it could take a few weeks to a few months before you have clarity about your asylum application.
Step 3 The 8 days of the General Asylum Procedure
Asylum application and initial interview: the IND asks you about who you are (identity), where you come from (nationality) and how you came here.
Preparation for the detailed interview with your lawyer (at AC): your lawyer discusses with you what type of questions you can expect.
Detailed interview: the IND asks you about the reasons for your asylum application, for example they will ask why you left your country. The IND asks questions in order to get a good idea about your situation. During the interviews, an interpreter is present who speaks your language and the Dutch language. The interpreter translates all the questions and answers so that there can be no misunderstandings because of the language.
Discussion of the detailed interview with your lawyer (at AC): the lawyer discusses with you the report of the detailed interview, what is correct and what is incorrect, and whether important subjects have not been discussed. On the basis of this interview, the lawyer will indicate what matters are different to those recorded in the report and he will indicate what he would like to see added to the report.
- Intention of a positive decision: in that case, you will be granted a residence permit.
- Intention to reject the application: in that case, the IND will indicate that it does not intend to grant you a residence permit.
- Proceed with the extended procedure: this means that the IND needs more time to investigate your case and cannot make a decision yet.
If the application is to be rejected: opinion of the lawyer. Along with you, the lawyer will reply in writing to the intention of the IND to not grant you a residence permit.
The IND draws up the ruling in which it indicates whether or not you will be granted a residence permit.
Step 4 With the information from the initial interview and the detailed interview, the IND decides whether you have the right to asylum (protection).
The rules for this are recorded in a number of laws and treaties such as the Dutch Aliens Act, the Geneva Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights. To be able to make this decision, the IND also uses a great deal of information about the country where you come from: reports about the political situation, important events, the culture and the religion, as well as for example detailed geographical maps. If the IND decides that you have the right to asylum, you will receive a residence permit in order to live here for a particular period, usually five years. The residence permit can be withdrawn in the interim period. When that permit has expired, the IND will consider whether you still need protection. If this is the case, you will be given a residence permit for an unlimited duration, and in principle you may continue to live in the Netherlands for the rest of your life. If the IND decides that you will not be given a residence permit, you will have to prepare to return to your country of origin. Your guardian will also supervise you in this.