For those who are considering returning to their country of origin … Foreign nationals who do not have a valid residence permit run the risk of immigration detention and deportation. After a negative decision, the applicant gets normally four weeks to voluntarily leave the Netherlands (and Europe). Those who don’t return, run the risk of aliensdetention and

Detention of aliens

When will the police detain me in detention of aliens? If you have no residence permit and the police suspect that you will not return voluntary, you can be placed in detention of aliens. Detention of aliens is an ultimate measure, a less severe measure can be applied if the person concerned has a fixed

Stop & Search/Frisk

When are the police allowed to ask me to show my identity papers? The police and other ‘authorities’ are allowed to ask for identity certificates ‘if this can reasonably be assumed to be required for performing their duties’. Authorities are almost all people who have supervising responsibilities. Checks tend to be held in cases of

Legal services

Where can I go for legal advice, for example about employment law and the Dutch housing law? Everybody is entitled to legal aid no matter whether the person concerned has a residence permit or not. The Juridisch Loket [legal help desk] provides assistance with legal questions. Well-trained lawyers give advice and information free of charge,

House searches

Are the police allowed to enter my house without reason? Normally the police need the residents’ approval before entering a residence or a room that serves as housing accommodation; they are only allowed to do so if they have a warrant to enter a dwelling. But the authorities are allowed to enter the housing accommodation


What will happen if the police think that I have no residence permit? If the police check up on you and you cannot show your identity certificate or your residence permit, the police are allowed to detain you for 6 hours (nightly hours don’t count). If further investigation is required this period of time can

Aiding the undocumented

Can I be penalised for helping an undocumented person? Help with illegal residence that is not provided in pursuit of profit is not punishable. Help with illegal border crossing is always punishable according to Dutch law, but during the deliberations in the Dutch Lower House the Minister has made it clear that humanitarian grounds will