Rules and Regulations
On this page you will find information about the Dutch laws that are applicable on immigration detention.
There are two types of regimes for foreigners who are held in immigration detention. Both these regimes are in place until the new law ‘Wet terugkeer en vreemdelingenbewaring‘ (the return and immigration detention Act) entered into force.
Rules within immigration detention (Penitentiaire Beginselenwet)
When a foreigner is arrested within the Netherlands, and there is a reasonable suspicion this person resides here illegally, they can be brought to the police office on the basis of article 50 of the Vreemdelingenwet (Alien Act), and can be held here for six hours maximum. After these six hours, the alien can be detained at the police office for five days. During this period the immigration police will investigate if the foreigner has the necessary papers and is residing in the Netherlands on a legal basis. If not, the alien is placed in immigration detention for up to 18 months. The alien is held under a limited communication regime, based on the Dutch Penitentiaire Beginselenwet (Penitentiary Principles Act). This regime is also applicable in regular detention centers where people who are held in temporary custody are staying.
Rules within border detention (Reglement Grenslogies)
Aliens wanting to enter the Netherlands without the necessary papers and/or permission can be arrested at the border on the basis of article 6 of the Vreemdelingenwet (Alien Act). They will then be placed in ‘border detention’. These are border (detention) centers where the aliens have to await the decision on their application for a residents permit (six weeks maximum) or until they get deported. This is to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the Netherlands. In border detention, the aliens are held under the regime called: Reglement Regime Grenslogies.
The return and immigration detention Act (de Wet terugkeer en vreemdelingenbewaring)
On 13 September 2013, the former State Secretary for Security and Justice and Minister for Immigration, Fred Teeven, announced the return and immigration detention Act (de Wet terugkeer en vreemdelingenbewaring). When this Act enters into force, immigration detention will have its own administrative rules. The proposal was made public in early 2014. On 19 June 2018, the Act has been passed by the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives). Now, the Eerste Kamer (upper House) needs to decide about the Act before it will be definitive.
Read more about the Regelement Grenslogies here.
Read more about the Penitentiaire Beginselenwet here.
Read more about other laws and regulations applicable to immigration detention here.