Fewer foreign nationals refused at the border

Travellers waiting in front of the passport control desk at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
In 2020, fewer people were refused entry into the Netherlands than in the previous year. A total of 1,980 foreign visitors – referred to as third-country nationals – were stopped at the border last year; this is 920 fewer than in 2019. The main grounds for refusal changed in 2020. Relatively more travellers were refused due to a security risk, including threats to public order, homeland security and public health. This is evident from figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Third-country nationals refused entry into the Netherlands
* provisional figures

The number of third-country nationals who were rejected at the border last year stood at 1,980, almost one-third less than in 2019. Third-country nationals are foreign travellers with a nationality other than that of the European Union member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Stateless persons are also considered third-country nationals.

The coronavirus pandemic played a role in the decline. Due to international travel restrictions and travel bans, far fewer people travelled to the European Union’s external borders last year.

Refusal of entry involved US nationals in particular

The majority of third-country nationals who were refused entry in 2020 were people from the United States (290). This was 25 in 2019. Most US travellers were refused due to security concerns. The number of Brazilian nationals who were refused stood at 245, slightly less than in 2019. 175 Colombians were refused entry; this is 210 fewer than in the previous year. Colombian travellers still made up the largest group in 2019.

Other nationalities who were refused entry more often included Georgians, Ukrainians, Mexicans, Filipinos and Moroccans. However, for most nationals the number of refusals declined year-on-year.

Third-country nationals refused at the border, main nationalities, 2020*
Colombian 175
Georgian 170
Albanian 65
Peruvian 50
Mexican 50
Turkish 45
Russian 45
* provisional figures

Many refusals due to security concerns in 2020

Nearly 980 people were refused entry for security reasons in 2020. This is almost seven times the number of one year previously (140). Security risks include possible threats to public order, homeland security, public health or international relations among the EU member states. These risks, public health in particular, caused the number of refusals for security reasons to rise.

In addition, 335 people were refused because they did not possess sufficient (financial) resources to cover the period of stay and type of accommodation. This is almost 2.5 times less than in 2019, when slightly more than 800 people were stopped on this ground. Around 300 people were turned away because their documentation was not in order, due to e.g. invalid or forged travel documents such as passports, visas or residence permits. This was 730 (71 percent) less than in 2019.

International travel restrictions or bans during the coronavirus crisis have likely caused this decline in the number of refusals due to inadequate documentation or funds.

Third-country nationals refused entry, grounds for refusal
JaartalSecurity riskInsufficient fundsPassport, visa or residence permit not in order
* provisional figures

Nationalities of third-country nationals have varied throughout the years

The nationalities of the largest groups of travellers denied entry have varied from year to year. Throughout the period 2010-2020, the highest number of refusals occurred among visitors from Suriname, around 160 per year on average. Nevertheless, this number declined in recent years; from 345 in 2010 to 20 last year.

Among the groups who on average came to the Netherlands but were refused most frequently during this period were Chinese nationals; their number declined. On the other hand, the numbers of Colombian and Brazilian nationals in the same situation increased.

Third-country nationals refused entry, by nationality¹⁾
NationaliteitSurinamese Brazilian Albanian Colombian Chinese
* provisional figures ¹⁾ refused most frequently according to averages over 2010-2020