No residence permit, what next?

Life sometimes turns out differently from what you expect. You came to the Netherlands for the purpose of building a future here. But it then appears that you will not obtain a residence permit, for example because your asylum application is rejected. The Dutch Council for Refugees can examine together with you the possibilities you still have. We can also support you in making a future plan. If you are thinking about returning to your country of origin, we can put you in contact with organisations that help with return.

Please note: the information on this page may not (fully) apply to refugees from Ukraine. The most recent information for refugees from Ukraine can be found on our platform RefugeeHelp >>


If the IND rejects your asylum application, the Dutch government requires you to return to your country of origin. The government asks you to leave the asylum seekers' centre. You may possibly end up on the street, even though this is not the case in all situations. Families with children, for example, always receive accommodation. Ask your counsellor from the Dutch Council for Refugees about your accommodation situation.

If you do not obtain a residence permit in the Netherlands, this means that you still have three possibilities:

1. Living underground

Living underground is difficult. You cannot work legally and it is difficult to find a place to live. If you live on the street, you can go to the night shelter of, for example the Salvation Army, but the night shelter is sometimes full. You constantly run the risk of being arrested by the police and ending up in prison. In that case you can still be removed from the country. Many illegal migrants are abused. People can force you to take part in criminal activities, which will only make you problems get worse. As an undocumented person however you have a right to medically necessary care in the Netherlands.

You can find more information for people without a residence permit in the Netherlands here.

2. Return to your country of origin

If you do not obtain a residence permit from the Dutch government, it is important to think about your future. We understand that this is not easy. You can enter into discussion with the Dutch Council for Refugees about a possible return. Or with another organisation that provides support with returning. You decide yourself if you want to return. The Dutch Council for Refugees considers some countries not safe to return to and in that case does not provide support. We can however refer you to organisations that do help with returning to those countries.

If you return to your country of origin independently, you can receive support. Such support can consist of a product, service or financial contribution. For example a start-up sum to start your own shop and/or help in writing a business plan. Whether you receive support and what you are entitled to depends on each person and each country. The possibilities per country are set out below.

>> Is your country not yet among them? Please contact your counsellor from the Dutch Council for Refugees for more information.

Forced return

If your asylum application has been rejected, the government agency Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) will contact you about departure to your country of origin. This does not mean that you must leave the Netherlands immediately. If your lawyer has appealed against the decision of the IND, you may often await the court's decision in the Netherlands. Ask your counsellor from the Dutch Council for Refugees about your accommodation situation. Important to know: If you do not chose independent return, but are returned involuntarily, you will not receive support from the Dutch government.

3. Residence in a country other than the Netherlands

After rejection by the Dutch government, you can think about whether you can settle in a different country. Whether this is possible depends on your specific situation. You must have a right of residence in the destination country. The Dutch Council for Refugees can ask your lawyer or the embassy of the country in question about your possibilities.