Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 08:59 GMT

Netherlands: Information on the rights and obligations conferred upon Convention refugees, including whether they have the right to return to the Netherlands

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 October 1996
Citation / Document Symbol NLD25241.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Netherlands: Information on the rights and obligations conferred upon Convention refugees, including whether they have the right to return to the Netherlands, 1 October 1996, NLD25241.E, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


In a telephone interview on 4 October 1996, a legal adviser with the Refugee Council in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, a nongovernmental organization that provides legal, financial and social assistance to refugees and refugee claimants, provided the following information which represents the organization's position.

 People who are granted refugee status in the Netherlands, i.e. Convention Refugees, are given "A" status; people who are accorded permission to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds are given "C" status. Convention Refugees have permanent residence rights in the Netherlands (unless their status is revoked), possess many of the rights enjoyed by citizens of the Netherlands and have the same access to employment, education, housing and social security as do citizens of the Netherlands. They are entitled to vote after five years of legal residence in the Netherlands and require a driver's licence obtained in the Netherlands in order to drive. Convention Refugees have the right to family reunification, provided the refugee's partner and non-adult children have the same nationality as the refugee and do not have permanent residence status in a third country. Convention Refugees are obliged to obey the rules of the law.

Convention Refugees who have retained their national passports may use them to leave and re-enter the Netherlands, while those who do not have a national passport may apply for a "refugee passport," which is not a passport of the Netherlands but may be also be used to leave and return to the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities may revoke the "A" status if a person has returned, even temporarily, to the country from where he/she fled, or if a person has renewed his/her national passport at the diplomatic mission in the Netherlands after receiving Convention Refugee status, or even if the person "maintains contacts" with the diplomatic mission in the Netherlands. There is no law preventing a Convention Refugee from leaving or returning to the Netherlands. However, the legal adviser was unsure how the authorities would react to a Convention Refugee who had been abroad for several years and wanted to return and reside in the Netherlands.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Refugee Council in the Netherlands, Amsterdam. 4 October 1996. Telephone interview with legal adviser.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld