The COA collects and uses data to be able to provide asylum seekers with reception and counselling. If you applied for asylum in the Netherlands and are (or perhaps have been) a resident of one of our reception centres, this privacy statement applies to you.

Important terms explained

The term 'personal data' is very broad. It applies to all data relatable to a person ('the person involved'). This could be data such as your name, address, date of birth, nationality and telephone number. The term also includes less obvious data, such as your personal interests and bank account number. 'Processing personal data' refers to all operations we can carry out on your personal data. This could, for instance, be recording, storing, altering, passing on and destroying data.


We process the following categories of personal data about you:

  • Statutory identification number (such as your V number);
  • Identification data (such as name, date of birth and sex);
  • Contact details (such as telephone number and email address);
  • Address details (such as residential address and the address of the reception centre);
  • Document data (such as document type and document number);
  • Personal characteristics (such as profession, family relations and personal interests);
  • Financial data (such as bank account number, income data and assets);
  • Communication data (such as interview reports and notes);
  • Legal/procedural data (such as data related to your asylum procedure).

In addition, we may process the following special categories of personal data on you:

  • Data which may reveal the following:
  • Racial or ethnic origin, or;
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs.

And possibly processing of:

  • Biometric data for the purpose of identifying you;
  • Data concerning health;
  • Data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

The COA receives your personal data from you directly, from your lawyer, or from other government agencies and (social) organisations involved in your asylum procedure, reception and counselling or care.

Government agencies and (social) organisations from whom we may possibly receive your data:

  • Agencies of the Ministry of Justice and Security:
    • Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (Repatriation and Departure Service, DT&V);
    • Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND);
    • The police and its bodies, such as the Afdeling Vreemdelingenpolitie, Identificatie en Mensenhandel (Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking Department, AVIM);
    • Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen (Custodial Institutions Agency, DJI) and its body Dienst Vervoer en Ondersteuning (Transport and Support Agency, DV&O).
  • Other partners with whom we cooperate:
    • Koninklijke Marechaussee (Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, KMar);
    • GezondheidsZorg Asielzoekers (Health Centre for Asylum Seekers, GZA);
    • Stichting Nidos (Nidos Foundation), the independent custody and family custody institution in the Netherlands.

Wij verwerken uw persoonsgegevens om opvang en begeleiding te kunnen bieden tijdens uw asielprocedure in Nederland (ons hoofddoel). Dat is nog steeds erg breed en kan worden opgesplitst in meerdere (verenigbare) doeleinden. Onze belangrijkste doeleinden zijn:

  • Het bieden van opvang en begeleiding. De opvang bestaat uit onderdak, verstrekkingen en het bieden van toegang tot basisvoorzieningen zoals gezondheidszorg in een van onze COA-locaties.
  • Het verzorgen van uw begeleiding in een COA-locatie, onder meer door:
    • Het ondersteunen van u bij de voorbereiding op een toekomst in Nederland of daarbuiten;
    • Het versterken van uw zelfredzaamheid op de opvanglocatie en voor de toekomst;
    • Specifieke begeleiding op het gebied van scholing, wonen, emancipatie, integratie en participatie of terugkeer;
    • Het uitvoeren van woonbeheer, bijvoorbeeld door kamerbezoek en -controle, registratie van signalen van mensenhandel & mensensmokkel en registratie van incidenten.
  • Het ondersteunen van u bij de weg naar volwassenheid indien u een alleenstaande minderjarige vreemdeling (hierna: “amv”) bent.
  • Het beëindigen van uw opvang, onder meer door:
    • Het ondersteunen van uw uitstroom naar een gemeente;
    • Het bemiddelen voor huisvesting naar een gemeente;
    • Het begeleiden van uw zelfstandige of gedwongen terugkeer naar het land van herkomst of Dublin-land.
  • Het verzekeren van veiligheid en leefbaarheid op een locatie. Niet alleen die van u maar ook die van andere bewoners en/of COA-medewerkers, bijvoorbeeld door registratie van agressie, geweld en overige incidenten.
  • Het handelen bij een noodsituatie, zoals bij een ongeval of bij een aandoening waarbij er voor u acute zorg nodig is.
  • Het uitvoeren van wetenschappelijk en historisch onderzoek, voor statistische doeleinden en voor archiveringsdoeleinden in het algemeen belang.

We are only allowed to process your personal data if we have a 'lawful basis' to do so. Such a basis is pursuant to the GDPR. For the above-mentioned objectives (section 3), we can invoke several bases:

  • Processing is required to comply with a statutory obligation;
  • Processing is required to protect your vital interests or those of another person;
  • Processing is required for the COA to carry out a task in the general interest or a task in connection with exercising public authority, or;
  • You yourself gave permission for data being processed for specific purposes. 

In most cases we process data to comply with our statutory task of providing reception and counselling. Without your data, it is not possible to carry out this task in full.

We may share your personal data with others because this is necessary for your reception and counselling. Of course, this is something we only do with good reason.
We will only share the data necessary and only with those persons who need the data to be able to carry out their work. Just like the COA, other parties must handle your personal data with care. We make clear agreements about this.

We may share your data with:

  • Agencies of the Ministry of Justice and Security:
    • Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (Repatriation and Departure Service, DT&V);
    • Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND);
    • The police and its bodies, such as the Afdeling Vreemdelingenpolitie, Identificatie en Mensenhandel (Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking Department, AVIM);
    • Dienst Justitiële Inrichtineng (Custodial Institutions Agency, DJI) and its body Dienst Vervoer en Ondersteuning (Transport and Support Agency, DV&O);
  • Healthcare partners:
    • GezondheidsZorg Asielzoekers (Health Centre for Asylum Seekers, GZA), via healthcare organisation Arts en Zorg;
    • MediFirst;
    • Regeling Medische zorg Asielzoekers (Medical Care for Asylum Seekers Regulation, RMA), via healthcare insurer DSW;
    • The Municipal or Joint Health Service and Regional Medical Assistance Organisation (GGD and GHOR).
  • Other partners with whom we cooperate:
    • The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar);
    • The International Organisation for Migration (IOM);
    • Stichting Nidos (Nidos Foundation, the independent custody and family custody institution in the Netherlands);
    • The Dutch Council for Refugees (VWN);
    • Veilig Thuis (the reporting centre for domestic violence and child abuse);
    • The Expertise Centre for Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (EMM).
  • Other categories of partners with whom we cooperate:
    • Municipalities;
    • Banks;
    • Transport services, such as taxi and coach operators;
    • Educational institutions, such as day nurseries and schools;
    • Government inspectorates, emergency services, supervisory authorities or judicial institutions, for carrying out a legal duty or in case of emergency;
    • Lawyers of residents for representing their interests;
    • Lawyers, accountants and auditors for representing the interests of the COA;
    • Insurance companies in connection with the liability insurance of asylum seekers;
    • Interpreting services;
    • Cooperation partners specialising in children in reception centres and AMVs (UAMs).

Your personal data will stay within the European Union as long as we are responsible for your data. If we send your data to a country or organisation outside of the EU after all, we will not do so without taking appropriate security measures.

We do not retain your personal data longer than necessary to achieve our objectives. We have laid down all our retention periods.  For you, the retention periods below are the most important to known.
Data we process in connection with your accommodation and counselling are included in your 'resident's file.' In general we retain these data at least 20 years after closing the file. For financial documents that are collected in connection with financial provisions by the COA, we apply a 7-year retention period.

The COA has appropriate measures in place to protect the processing of your personal data and to prevent data abuse. To protect personal data within COA, we comply with, among other things, government security standards and regulations. In addition, all COA employees, temporary employees, and volunteers are obliged to observe confidentiality.

On the basis of the GDPR you have several rights. Under certain circumstances, you have the right to inspect the personal data we process on you, and to change or destroy your data (or have them changed or destroyed). Under certain circumstances, you also have the right to object against processing, the right to limit processing and the right to obtain your data in a digital format. If you wish to make use of one of your rights, please contact us via the details below (see Section 9).

We will process your request as soon as possible, but at least within a month. If answering your request will take more time, we will inform you about this within a month. We will meet your request to the extent possible, but we may or cannot always do so. There may be good reasons to reject your request. For example, the COA may be obliged to retain your data pursuant to legislation.

In addition to the above-mentioned rights, you may file a complaint with the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch Data Protection Authority, hereinafter: 'AP'). The AP monitors compliance with privacy legislation in the Netherlands. We would appreciate it if you contact us first before you contact the AP. We will try our utmost to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction. The contact details of the AP are available on the website

Take into consideration that we must verify your identity in case of questions or requests. We do so to prevent your personal data from being shared with a wrong party or being changed incorrectly.

All decisions by the COA when carrying out its reception task are made by COA employees. The COA does not use fully computerised individual decision taking. This means that no computerised decisions, without human intervention, are taken about you which may have legal consequences for you or which can affect you considerably.

In you have any questions, requests or complaints about your data being processed by the COA, please contact the COA information line via the email address: We try to respond as fast as possible, but at least within one month. In highly exceptional situations, we can extend this term to up to three months.

Postal address:
Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers
Postbus 30203
2500 GE Den Haag

The COA also has a Data Protection Officer (FG) with the important task to supervise compliance with the GDPR by the COA internally.

Contact details of the FG: attn Mr Pieter de Groot.

This privacy statement was laid down by the board on 27 August 2019.