Can I travel to the Netherlands to seek asylum with out a visa, because I want to seek asylum?

Will Kenya Airways allow me to board a plane with out a visa to Schiphol Airport, considering I have my passport?

  • 8
    It's two questions, yes you can claim asylum if you are in the country and no you cannot fly there on a commercial flight
    – Gayot Fow
    Mar 3, 2017 at 13:37
  • 5
    Why do you need to travel to the Netherlands to apply for asylum, can you not do so at their Embassy/Consulate in Kenya?
    – nikhil
    Mar 3, 2017 at 18:19
  • 3
    Why is this tagged kenyan-citizens? We have no basis to assume the OP is Kenyan. Mar 3, 2017 at 18:30
  • 1
    It's worth noting that you'll, as I understand it, initially be detained after you claim asylum. You may wish to contact the Dutch Council for Refugees for practical advice from experts who know the situation there inside and out. Mar 3, 2017 at 18:38
  • 5
    @nikhil Because applying there is basically hopeless, showing up is the only way to have your application considered seriously.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 3, 2017 at 20:24

3 Answers 3


Not with just a Nairobi-Amsterdam ticket, since the airline is fined if it carries someone without the right documentation. EUR 11,250 per passenger, just so you know.

As such, you need to buy a ticket to a country you can enter visa-free or with a visa on arrival via Amsterdam

For Kenyans, countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines don't require a visa at all.

So you could buy a ticket with KLM from Nairobi to one of these countries (for example Nairobi-Singapore), which will then involve a connection in Amsterdam.

On the plane, tear apart the connecting boarding pass and flush it down the toilet.

Once you get to Amsterdam, claim asylum at the dedicated application centre (Aanmeldcentrum Schiphol).

  • 11
    This seems like very risky advice. How sure are you this works?
    – Spork
    Mar 3, 2017 at 16:48
  • 6
    I'm curious as to why can't you get a NBO–AMS–IKA itinerary as a single booking. Could it be that KLM is specifically trying to keep people from doing the very thing you're describing? Mar 3, 2017 at 17:02
  • 14
    @nikhil Not going through the "proper channels" is pretty much par for the course with genuine asylum seekers, as those channels are typically foreclosed to someone who is, say, being persecuted. They're still entitled to an evaluation of their claim for asylum. Mar 3, 2017 at 18:28
  • 12
    @nikhil If I felt that my life was in danger, I would want to get out as soon as possible. Being refused boarding for a flight is a significant delay and a significant cost, and would draw attention to me: I'd be very keen to avoid that. When it's important to get something right first time, a little time spent planning it is a very wise investment. Also, in most cases, there's probably no sudden event that means a person must leave today; rather, it is a deteriorating situation that eventually gets bad enough that one feels the need to leave soon. Mar 3, 2017 at 18:57
  • 8
    @nikhil The international conventions provide that asylum seekers are immune from prosecution for immigration violations that they commit to reach the country where they've applied for asylum, and such violations may not be considered in evaluating the asylum claim. It is not a gray area of the law; it's a risk the asylum seeker takes (because if the application is unsuccessful, the person may be held liable for the violations, although as far as I'm aware they're normally just deported). As to harming the case for those transiting, there's no way around that.
    – phoog
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:02

The answer appears to be no: it is extremely unlikely that the airline will allow you to board. According to Timatic, a Kenyan citizen who wishes to enter the Netherlands must have a visa, proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay, and documents necessary for entry to their next destination. What's more, airlines are required to give special scrutiny to passengers from Kenya:

Airlines flying from the following airports to the Netherlands: Abu Dhabi (AUH), Accra (ACC), Bahrain (BAH), Beijing Capital (PEK), Boryspil (KBP), Cairo (CAI), Damman (DMM), Dar Es Salaam (DAR), Dubai (DXB), Entebbe (EBB), Guangzhou (CAN), Hong Kong (HKG), Hamad (DOH), Istanbul Ataturk (IST), Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW), Johannesburg (JNB), Kigali (KGL), Kilimanjaro (JRO), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Kuwait (KWI), Lagos (LOS), Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO), Muscat (MCT), Nairobi (NBO), New Delhi (DEL), Sao Paulo (GRU), Singapore (SIN) and Teheran (IKA) must provide copies of travel documents of all passengers on these flights in case they do not hold proper travel documents upon arrival in the Netherlands and are inadmissible. Copies must include the data page of the passport/travel document, the page with the visa and the page with departure/clearance stamp, where applicable. Non-compliance with these entry regulations will result in fines up to EUR 11,250.– per passenger for the carrier.

As you can see from the last sentence, the airline will have a strong incentive to check your travel documents before you board the plane.

  • 2
    What is the source for the quoted material?
    – phoog
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:15
  • 2
    A Timatic search (link now included.) Due to the nature of the website, I can't link directly to the search results; I searched assuming the traveller was a Kenyan citizen traveling directly from Kenya, whose destination was the Netherlands and had proof of return/onward travel, was planning to stay for 5 days, and had approximately three years of validity remaining on their Kenyan passport. Some of these choices were a bit arbitrary, but I tried to pick the options that would make admittance the most likely and still came up short. Mar 3, 2017 at 14:27
  • 1
    See here for a more usable (for us) Timatic interface. Mar 3, 2017 at 16:58
  • 1
    @MichaelSeifert: nowhere did the OP state their nationality. It's quite likely they're Somali, living in Kenya.
    – smci
    Mar 5, 2017 at 2:35
  • 1
    @smci: Fair point. However, for Somali citizens, the situation is even worse; Timatic straight-up says "Admission refused to holders of travel documents issued by Somalia." The "fly to a third country and claim asylum in AMS" plan is also much harder, as very few countries permit visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel for Somali citizens. (Kuala Lumpur might still work, though.) Mar 5, 2017 at 14:23


You can only apply for asylum after you have already arrived in the country (or at its borders). Why do you think so many people are risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean (and from Africa, also the Sahara) to get into Europe? They wouldn't be doing that if they could simply board a flight.

No airline will allow you to board if you do not already have a visa or otherwise a right to remain in the country of destination.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:31
  • 5
    "They wouldn't be doing that if they could simply board a flight." To be fair, many of these people can't get to (or don't have) a working commercial airport, even if they can afford international travel. Mar 3, 2017 at 17:27
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit If people can travel across the Sahara and the Mediterrnean they can probably get to a working commercial airport. Not all of North Africa is a failed state.
    – gerrit
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:32
  • 2
    @gerrit: Sure, they could also pop into CDG once they've made it as far as France. But how are they supposed to board an airplane at such a working commercial airport, when it is discovered that they're not even citizens of the country they've just illegally strolled into? FWIW most of the refugees currently fleeing into Europe have not come across the Sahara. Mar 3, 2017 at 17:42
  • 2
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit True, many have passed through Turkey though, and even spent considerable time there. A considerable number of Syrians have Russian visas but not refugee status there, I suspect it's not easy for them in practice to book a ticket Ankara via Berlin to St. Petersburg, then apply for refugee status in Berlin (this example happens to require a change of airport, but I'm sure there are examples that do not).
    – gerrit
    Mar 3, 2017 at 17:55

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