Q&A on repatriation assistance for Dutch people abroad

The new bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl platform is a joint approach by the travel sector, insurers, airline companies and the Dutch government to help Dutch people who are stranded abroad.

Measures are being taken worldwide to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This means that Dutch travellers may get into difficulties and experience problems when it comes to returning safely to the Netherlands.

Are you stranded and do you need help? If so, register directly at www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl.

Do you need travel advice, or would you like to view the frequently asked questions per country? If so, please visit www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl (Dutch) and Consequences of coronavirus for travelling abroad: where can I find more information?

Need help filling in registration form?

If you do not have an Internet connection or need help filling in the online registration form, you can telephone +31 247 247 247 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. However, you should bear in mind that things are very busy at the moment, and that means we might not be able to help you immediately.

Tip: You can also ask family or friends in the Netherlands to complete the form on your behalf.

Q&A on repatriation assistance for Dutch people abroad

I am currently abroad and am worried about coronavirus. What should I do?

We recommend that you keep a close eye on developments relating to coronavirus and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Some countries are temporarily closing their borders. Our advice is therefore to check whether you are obliged to stay abroad and whether there are (still) possibilities to return home. If necessary, contact your travel organisation or airline company and use the available options.

If you have specific questions about coronavirus, please contact the public information number: 0800 - 1351 (between 08:00 and 22:00). If you are abroad, you should call +31 20 205 1351.

I am currently abroad and want to return to the Netherlands. What should I do?

In many countries, flights have been cancelled as a consequence of coronavirus. However, this does not mean that all travel is impossible. For example, it may be that travelling overland is still permitted, or that you are able to fly from a different airport or destination in Europe. We advise you to look carefully at all possible ways and means of getting home. If necessary, contact your travel organisation or airline company and use the available options.

I am not allowed to leave the country, but I want to return to the Netherlands. What should I do?

Go to www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl and register on our website. We are going to work together with the airline companies, the travel sector and insurers to get you safely back to the Netherlands. This applies to Dutch travellers and students and not to people who live abroad on a (semi-)permanent basis.

If you are unable to sort things out using the website, you should call +31 247 247 247. The line is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Bear in mind that you may have to wait a while before your call is answered.

If you are not yet able to leave, please find a safe place to stay and consult with your travel organisation or airline company if necessary. If they are unable to help you, the emergency centre may be able to offer you support. In that case, you should call the 24/7 Ministry contact centre telephone number: +31 247 247 247.

What is 'special assistance for people stranded abroad'?

This initiative is a partnership between the travel sector, insurers, airline companies and the Dutch government in order to coordinate a joint approach for stranded Dutch travellers who are experiencing problems as a consequence of coronavirus.

In cooperation with the 'joint Dutch emergency centres' and airline companies, we are working to provide help to Dutch travellers to enable them to return safely to the Netherlands or – if that is impossible – to help ensure that they stay safe in the foreign country in question.

Where necessary, embassies are working to secure landing rights for commercial flights for travel organisations and Dutch airline companies, so that the return flights can be carried out.

Am I entitled to a free plane ticket?

No. As the person travelling, you are individually responsible for your journey and accommodation. If you want to use the 'special assistance for people stranded abroad', you will also have to pay a personal contribution (in accordance with a fixed rate for 'Europe' or 'outside Europe').

Am I obliged to pay the EUR 300/900 contribution after registration?

No, that is not the case. Only when you use a flight within the framework of "Special Assistance Abroad" do you owe the fixed personal contribution (300 euros "within Europe" and 900 euros "outside Europe"). This contribution is settled afterwards by direct debit. We therefore advise you - even after registration - to keep looking for possibilities to go home independently. Our commitment is to have all Dutch travelers return home quickly, but we cannot offer any guarantees.

You can ask all your further questions about payment and payment arrangements as soon as you are contacted.

I am currently abroad. Am I obliged to return to the Netherlands?

No, this is not the case. However, we do advise you to keep a close eye on developments. Download the Ministry Travel App [BZ Reisapp] and monitor the travel advice being provided.

Some countries are temporarily closing their borders. Our advice is therefore to check worldwide whether you are obliged to stay abroad and whether there are (still) possibilities to return home. If necessary, contact your travel organisation or airline company.

What happens if the airport in a particular country is closed?

Where necessary the Netherlands will use its global diplomatic network to obtain landing rights for planes to be used to repatriate Dutch people. If you are not yet able to leave, please find a safe place to stay and consult with your travel organisation if necessary.

I have registered on the website. How long do I have to wait before I can go home?

If you have registered via bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl, we will try to help you as quickly as possible. The time it takes to get you home depends on the local situation. You should also take account of the scenario by which it may, for a while, be impossible to organise safe repatriation to the Netherlands any time soon.

If repatriation is not yet possible, we will assess the possibilities of supporting you as you continue to stay in the country in question, until a safe return to the Netherlands is possible again.

I have just registered with the embassy via the information service. Why do I now have to re-register? What is the difference?

BijzondereBijstandBuitenland.nl is intended for the repatriation of Dutch people who are stranded abroad due to coronavirus. If you are currently stranded and want to return to the Netherlands, please register here!

Registering for the information service means that you will receive an email each time the travel advice is changed and a text message in the event of a(n) (imminent) crisis. In addition, the embassy will know that you are in the country in question and will be able to send you information, for example about consular services.

What does 'safe place to stay' mean if repatriation is still impossible and who will pay for that?

If repatriation is temporarily impossible, you will be personally responsible for finding a safe place to stay. This means you will have to find accommodation in the country you are currently in.

In situations like this, we will assess the possibilities of providing continued support to you as you stay in the country in question, until a safe return to the Netherlands is possible again. For more information please visit www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl.

You will have to pay for any essential stay abroad yourself. If you have travel insurance, please contact your travel insurer.

I am travelling with several other people. Do I have to pay everyone's personal contribution, or can they pay separately?

When you register, you give your permission, as the 'main applicant', for the personal contribution of all the people travelling with you who you have registered to be deducted from your account.

If you would prefer this amount to be deducted separately, all the people you are travelling with must register separately (and also submit their bank details).

I have just returned from abroad under my own steam. Am I entitled to a reimbursement?

No. Dutch travellers are personally responsible for their own journey, accommodation and alternative itineraries. The 'special assistance for people stranded abroad' is intended for people who are unable to return to the Netherlands independently. People who use the scheme must also pay a personal contribution which is deducted from your account later (300 euros 'within Europe' and 900 euros 'outside Europe').

Will a flight be organised even for small numbers of stranded people?

Our aim is to ensure that all Dutch citizens abroad are able to return home quickly. We are doing our very best, but we cannot give any guarantees. If repatriation is temporarily impossible, the 'joint Dutch emergency centres' or travel organisations will, in urgent cases, make the necessary arrangements for 'a safe place to stay' until a safe return to the Netherlands is possible. You can register for this at www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl.

Are the flights in question extra flights or (regular) scheduled flights as well?

In the first instance, regular scheduled flights will be used. Where necessary, extra flights can be arranged by airline companies and travel organisations. These flights are not 'free' evacuation flights and passengers will have to to pay a fixed personal contribution (300 euros 'within Europe' and 900 euros 'outside Europe'). Countries bordering Europe are also subject to a personal contribution of 300 euros: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey. This contribution will be deducted from your account later.

I would like to return to the Netherlands. Is my foreign partner allowed to come with me?

Yes. The joint 'special assistance for people stranded abroad' initiative is for Dutch travellers, including their partners and/or family members. However, you should indicate this on the registration form. The personal contribution will be charged per person.

The EU has introduced restrictions on incoming travel. Is my foreign partner still allowed to come with me?

Yes. On Thursday 19 March, travel restrictions were introduced for non-essential travel for third-country nationals travelling to EU member states, the Schengen member states and the United Kingdom. These travel restrictions do not, however, apply to the family members of EU citizens. You can find the excluded categories on netherlandsandyou.nl.

I have dual nationality. Can I also use the 'special assistance for people stranded abroad' arrangement?

Yes. If you have Dutch nationality, you can contact us day and night in order to find a suitable solution for your situation.

You should bear in mind that some countries do not recognise dual nationality, and that may affect the provision of consular assistance, or the degree to which it can be provided.

I do not have Dutch nationality, but I do have a residence permit for the Netherlands. Am I also allowed to register?

Yes, provided you are registered with a Dutch municipality and / or have a valid Dutch residence permit. You must also meet the personal contribution. Go to www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl and register. Together with the airlines, the travel industry and insurance companies, we will work to ensure a safe return to the Netherlands.

Is it possible for people with a different nationality to use any available seats on board the plane?

This scheme is primarily aimed at Dutch citizens who are stranded abroad and want to return to the Netherlands. If there are any seats left on the plane, it may be that they will be offered to other (paying) non-Dutch people who are, for example, EU citizens.

How long will this scheme be available?

For the time being until the end of April 2020.

I have lived abroad for a long time. Am I also allowed to register on the website?

No. This initiative by the Dutch government is aimed at Dutch travellers. Dutch people who live abroad permanently should, in principle, continue to stay abroad and respect the measures of their new country of residence.

I have Dutch nationality and live in one of the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom of Netherlands. Is it possible to be taken there?

Dutch travel organisations and airline companies are doing all they can not to leave any Dutch travellers behind and to arrange maximum use of their available capacity to bring Dutch travellers home. The point of departure is that regular scheduled flights will be used. The same applies to the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

If repatriation is not yet possible, we will assess the possibilities of supporting you as you continue to stay in the country in question, until a safe return to the Netherlands is possible again. For more information please visit www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl.

Will people who are ill be allowed on a flight?

Passengers who are displaying clear symptoms during check-in or boarding, will be referred to the medical staff at the airport in order to obtain a 'fit-to-fly' certificate. This is in accordance with the standard airline company regulations. The airline company will ultimately take the decision whether or not to allow a passenger on board.

Are people tested for coronavirus before they board the plane?

Passengers who are displaying clear symptoms during check-in or boarding, will be referred to the medical staff at the airport in order to obtain a 'fit-to-fly' certificate. This is in accordance with the standard airline company regulations. The airline company will ultimately take the decision whether or not to allow a passenger on board.

The risk of infection on board a plane is the same as in other locations. The plane is supplied constantly with fresh air from outside and high maintenance and hygiene standards and extra measures apply on board.

So-called Corona Kits are available for use on board if a passenger suddenly starts displaying symptoms during the flight. These contain personal protective equipment for all passengers and staff, as well as materials which can be used to isolate the infected passenger.

Are people tested for coronavirus when they arrive?

No, passengers are not tested for coronavirus when they arrive. However, airports will be looking out for passengers with a fever and respiratory problems, certainly in the case of people who, in the past fourteen days, have been in a region where there are lots of people infected with coronavirus. Airports are in close contact on this issue with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM) and the Municipal Public Health Services [Gemeentelijke Geneeskundige Dienst] (GGD) and are following their recommendations. Together with them, airports are keeping a close eye on developments and are taking suitable action as necessary.