Important information in your own language

This website contains relevant information for refugees in your own language: فارسی, Somali, العربية, English, دری, Français, ትግርኛ and Türkçe. You will encounter many unfamiliar and complex things when you are new to the Netherlands. It can be hard to find the right information before you speak Dutch, but you still need to arrange all kinds of important matters. This information contains information about those matters.

Ter Apel and emergency accommodation

This information is intended for people staying in the reception centre in Ter Apel or who have recently been moved to emergency accommodation.

What happens in Ter Apel?

You came to Ter Apel to request asylum. Ter Apel is a town in the north of the Netherlands. Most people requesting asylum in the Netherlands have to go to Ter Apel first.

Upon arrival, you must report to the IND application centre.

An identification and registration procedure will be conducted there. The Dutch Koninklijke Marechaussee (Kmar) or police will check your baggage, photograph you and take your fingerprints. You will then be issued a personal “V-number”, under which you will be registered as an asylum seeker.

The Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers (COA) also has a central reception centre in Ter Apel. The COA provides food, shelter and medical care. You will have your first interview with the IND during your stay there. This is called the reporting interview.

Insufficient accommodation in Ter Apel

Ter Apel is currently incredibly busy, and the COA does not have enough beds to accommodate everyone who arrives. You may need to spend the night on a chair, or you may not be admitted at all. Because of the long waiting times, you may be moved to another location before your identification and registration procedure has been completed. It may also take several weeks before you have your reporting interview with the IND.

Emergency accommodation

Asylum seekers are often taken to another location by bus in the evening. This is often emergency accommodation, such as a sports complex. You will be received by COA employees or employees of the municipality the emergency accommodation is in. It is currently unknown how long the emergency accommodation will remain in use. There is a good chance that you will be moved multiple times before completing your asylum procedure.

Who are we?

VluchtelingenWerk Nederland is an independent human rights organisation. We represent the interests of asylum seekers, refugees, people who have exhausted all legal means, and people travelling in connection with family reunification. VluchtelingenWerk does not make decisions regarding asylum applications, nor do we decide where asylum seekers will be taken.

What do we do?

  • We call for political attention to the situation in the reception centres on a national and local level.

  • We will keep you informed and support you during the asylum procedure.

  • If you are granted asylum, we may be able to assist you with the family reunification procedure.

  • You can also contact us if you have any other questions. We will do our best to answer them.

  • Visit for more information about the asylum procedure

VluchtelingenWerk takes legal action against the Dutch government

7 July 2022 – If the Dutch government fails to improve the reception of asylum seekers by 1 August, VluchtelingenWerk will take the matter to court. For months, there have not been enough places available and conditions in the emergency shelters are far below standard. Not a day passes without facing the question of whether there are enough places for refugees to spend the night. This cannot continue. VluchtelingenWerk urgently wants to see an improvement in the situation for refugees. A court ruling could force the Dutch government to find an acceptable solution. You can read the English press release on this subject here.


More information about corona

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 minister 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

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.

Information for children

Every summer in July and August we organize holiday weeks for refugee children. There are holidays for children, teenagers and for single-parent families. Curious? Go to

More information:

About the Dutch Council for Refugees

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.

Despite our employees' best efforts to assist you, mistakes may be made. If you feel something has gone wrong or are uncomfortable with something, discuss the matter with an employee or team leader at your VluchtelingenWerk facility. You can also file a complaint. This leaflet (Dutch/English) explains how to file a complaint and what will happen afterwards. You can also download the complaint form (Dutch/English) from our website.

The leaflet and the complaint form will be translated into all the languages available on this website in 2022.

Feedback on this 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