Central reception centre

Asylum seekers who arrive in the Netherlands report themselves to the aliens police (AVIM) in the application centre in Ter Apel. Immediately after reporting, they will be given 3 to 10 days of shelter in the 'central reception centre' (col) of the COA in Ter Apel or Budel. There they will have a medical intake, a TB check and the application interview. COA staff check whether asylum seekers need special attention or counselling, and provide meals and care products.

Central reception centre for young people

We provide unaccompanied minors (UAMs) who have reported to the Aliens Police (AVIM) with shelter in the 'central reception centre for UAMs' in Ter Apel. There, the young people will be awarded a guardian by the Nidos Foundation, and from that time they are in their guardianship.

  • Vrouw ontvangt broodmaaltijd in de centrale ontvangstlocatie
    © Inge van Mill

Process reception centre

After the registration interview, an asylum seeker moves to a 'process reception centre' (pol) close to an IND office. There, they go through the general asylum procedure. Staff of the Dutch Council for Refugees give information about the asylum procedure. In the process reception centre, asylum seekers have access to necessary medical care via the Health Centre for Asylum Seekers (GZA).

COA staff guide and support asylum seekers during their stay in the process reception centre. They give practical information about living in the Netherlands and in a reception centre. In the process reception centres, residents usually get a food allowance so that they can cook their own meals. Because of the intended short duration of stay, the activities available in the process reception centre are limited: adults can take the Basic Dutch course and do volunteer work in the centre. Children go to school. For children, there is a range of sports, games, arts and music activities in every reception centre.

Asylum seekers who are likely to get a permit already start their integration and participation here. They take 'Dutch as a second language' lessons (NT2).

Process reception centre for UAMs 

During the general asylum procedure, unaccompanied minors (UAMs) aged 15 to 18 stay in a 'process reception centre for UAMs' also called 'pol amv'. There they get guidance and support from their lawyer and their Nidos guardian. Young people aged 13 and 14 years also stay in one of our process reception centres if Nidos does not have a host family for them yet.

COA mentors support young people 24 hours a day. In the process reception centre, young people receive a food and living allowance, and a complete range of activities.

Pre-process reception centre

If asylum seekers cannot start the general asylum procedure after their stay in the central reception centre, they go to a so-called 'pre-process reception centre', also called 'pre-pol'. There they undergo the period for rest and preparation and wait until the procedure starts. The pre-process reception centre is not a regular COA centre. This type of location is only needed if the IND has a waiting time as a result of a high influx of asylum seekers.

A pre-process reception centre is often on the grounds of a reception centre. The activities on offer are as much the same as those in the reception centre as possible. This allows the residents to already start the living in a COA centre programme.

The reception centre (azc)

After the general asylum procedure, most adult asylum seekers go to a reception centre:

  • Asylum seekers with a residence permit, also called status holders. They are allowed to live in a reception centre until they are allocated accommodation in a municipality.
  • Asylum seekers in the extended asylum procedure. 
  • Rejected asylum seekers. They have right to up to 28 days of shelter in a reception centre. In this period they can prepare for their departure. If they do not leave independently within this term, they can move to a return centre.

In a reception centre, the residents get a food and living allowance and they cook their own meals. We offer a lot of activities and various programmes in reception centres, which residents can do to prepare for their future.  

  • Twee vrouwen koken in de gemeenschappelijke keuken in het azc
    © Inge van Mill

Small-scale housing facilities for unaccompanied young people

After the general asylum procedure, unaccompanied minors will go to a foster family, small-scale reception facility of Nidos Foundation, or a small-scale housing facility (kwv) of the COA. Around 20 young people from the age of 15 without residence permit live in a small-scale housing facility. The same applies to young people aged 13-14 years without residence permit for whom Nidos has no foster family available yet. We give them 24/7 support and guidance in their development into adulthood. Just like in the process reception centre, the young people get a food and living allowance and can cook their own meals.

Protected shelter

Unaccompanied minors are an extra vulnerable group and there is a great chance they will be confronted with human trafficking, honour-related violence, or child marriage. If Nidos establishes that the risk is great, we immediately place young people in 24/7 protected shelter. The COA has a number of protected reception facilities by Jade Zorggroep and Xonar in the north and south of the Netherlands. Here, we give young people a safe place to live, where they can settle down and work on their empowerment, competencies and future.

Information about the support of unaccompanied young people
  • Alleenstaande jongeren in kamer azc
    © Inge van Mill

Reception centres for extra guidance, support and supervision

Some asylum seekers are unable to live independently in a reception centre. They have, for example, psychological problems, lack skills, or cause a nuisance. There are 2 reception centres for them: the reception centre for intensive guidance and support, and the enforcement and supervision centre. We can also refer asylum seekers to the Veldzicht Psychiatric and Forensic Centre.

Reception centres for extra guidance, support and supervision