Important information in your own language

[ Belangrijke informatie in je eigen taal ]

When you are new to the Netherlands, there are many things unknown and complex. As long as you have not mastered the Dutch language, it is difficult to find the right information. Whereas you must settle all kinds of important affairs. On this website, you will find relevant information for refugees in your own language.

Situation in Afghanistan

[ Situatie Afghanistan ]

Many Afghan nationals living in the Netherlands have contacted us to express their serious concerns about their family in Afghanistan.

VluchtelingenWerk (Dutch Council for Refugees) does not decide on evacuations. This is done by the Dutch government.

Asylum seekers cannot usually request asylum until they arrive in the Netherlands. As an exception, the Dutch government tried to evacuate Afghans who were working for the Netherlands or within the scope of the Dutch contribution to international military or police missions.

The e-mail address of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been closed since 17 September. It is no longer possible to submit evacuation requests. The e-mails that have been sent are now being kept in a database that is being submitted to the UNHCR and IOM. It will take a long time before agreements are made on how to assess these e-mails and for what purpose. We do not know whether the Dutch government will answer the e-mails that are still in the inbox.

The government announced in a letter dated 14 September that it will still assist a limited number of groups:

  • Dutch nationals
  • residents of the Netherlands
  • interpreters who have worked for the Dutch military or police missions
  • people who had already been called up for evacuation, but who failed to reach the airport.

If you fall into one of these groups, and have not yet contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we advise you to contact them by telephone on +31 24 7247247.

Are you already in the Netherlands, but your family is not? In that case, you can apply for reunification with your immediate family if you have an asylum permit. The Netherlands has a procedure for this. Immediate family includes your spouse and unmarried children up to the age of 25 and living at home, who are currently living abroad.  For more information, please see the page on Family Reunification on this website.

Unfortunately, there is no specific procedure in the Netherlands for other family members.  You can submit a regular application for other family members, but this is subject to strict conditions. The chance of success is therefore very small. In some cases, an exception can be made for family members who are particularly dependent on you and there is no one else to take care of them. For more information, please see the IND's website (under the tab Family, other reason).

We hope your family is safe. If they are facing problems in Afghanistan, they can contact UNHCR or the Red Cross ( and
VluchtelingenWerk will continue talking to the Dutch government to urge them to protect Afghan refugees.

The Dutch Council for Refugees will remain available in the 'corona crisis'

[ VluchtelingenWerk blijft bereikbaar in ‘corona-crisis’ ]

Services by the Dutch Council for Refugees (VWN) will also continue during the 'corona crisis'. Refugees can keep counting on our support in these turbulent times. We will continue to respond to questions. But the coming time we will do so differently. We can answer many question via telephone, email, or WhatsApp. If this can't be done, the team leader of the Dutch Council for Refugees can decide to schedule you an appointment at our office.

So: call us or email your question. See the poster put up in our office for the telephone number and email address.
Or see the panel on the right of this page (on laptops) or below (on smartphones) and enter your city or town into the white bar.

For more information about corona, please see:

  • >>
  • In this video, you can follow Mark Rutte’s part of the press conference in English, in which the prime ministers brings you up to date on the measures for the coming period, so you can understand the latest news on the corona virus in your own language.

Applying for asylum in the Netherlands from abroad

[ Niet in Nederland, wel asiel aanvragen voor Nederland ]

VluchtelingenWerk does not decide on asylum applications or issue visas for travel to the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) looks into whether you qualify as a refugee on behalf of the government.

You cannot submit an asylum application to the IND from abroad. You must travel to the Netherlands first. Nor is it usually possible to obtain a visa to travel to the Netherlands to apply for asylum here. You can read more about the asylum procedure in the Netherlands here:

This website:,  provides an overview of refugee organisations that may be able to help you in your country of residence.

If you are not granted asylum

[ Als je geen asiel krijgt ]

Information for children

[ Informatie voor kinderen ]

Are you younger than 18 years of age and looking for information about school, living in a reception centre, or Dutch culture? The Children's Helpline and the Dutch Council for Refugees have websites especially for refugee children. Go to:

About the Dutch Council for Refugees

[ Over VluchtelingenWerk ]

The Dutch Council for Refugees is an independent organisation that acts in the best interests of refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Our employees and many volunteers commit themselves to the protection of asylum seekers and refugees by providing personal support and representing their interests at their admission, reception, and social participation. We base our work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Feedback on this website?

[ Feedback op deze website? ]

The Dutch Council for Refugees has compiled this website with utmost care. If you discover an error, please tell us about it in Dutch or English at

Contact and advice


If you need personal advice or guidance, please contact the Dutch Council for Refugees in your reception centre or municipality. Type the place name or postcode where you are staying.

Spreekuur means consulting hours. Sometimes it says Juridisch spreekuur. These consulting hours are meant for matters around your residence status or family reunification.

If the Dutch Council for Refugees is not active in your municipality, the contact details of the regional head office are shown above. In that case, please contact your municipality or the organisation in your municipality that provides guidance to refugees.