I was granted a residence status in the Netherlands before 1 January 2022

If you have applied for asylum in the Netherlands as a refugee and have been granted residence status, we encourage you to quickly learn the language and discover how people live in the Netherlands. It is also important to learn how people in the Netherlands interact and how society is organised. This is called civic integration.


You live in an asielzoekerscentrum (asylum seekers centre), you obtained your residence status before 2022 and you are on the waiting list for a house in the municipality of Gulpen-Wittem, Maastricht, Meerssen, Vaals or Valkenburg aan de Geul. Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland (the Dutch Council for Refugees) will help you integrate into society. Vluchtelingenwerk will also help you with all kinds of practical matters once a home is available. The municipality will aid you in your search for work and provide you with a living allowance.

Civic integration

Once you have obtained a residence permit, you must follow a civic integration course and obtain your civic integration diploma. Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (Education Executive Agency) will send you a letter that tells you what to do. You must obtain your civic integration diploma within 3 years.

You can follow the integration course at various educational institutions in the region. Your counsellor from Vluchtelingenwerk or your consultant from Sociale Zaken (Social Affairs) Maastricht Heuvelland will help you make an informed choice.

Civic integration for family migrants and other migrants

You have passed your civic integration exam abroad and you have come to the Netherlands to form a family with your Dutch partner, or you have a non-temporary humanitarian residence status. You are going to continue your integration in the Netherlands. Please note that the continuation of your integration is at your own expense. Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs will send you a letter that tells you what to do.

Participation statement

Everyone who must integrate should sign a participation statement. By signing the statement, you declare that you know and respect the rights, obligations and values of Dutch society. You must sign the statement at the municipality. Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs will send your data to the municipality, after which you will automatically receive an invitation to sign the participation statement. It may take a while before enough people have signed up to form a group. You will receive an invitation as soon as there are enough people to start a group.

The participation statement programme takes half a day. Important matters related to living in the Netherlands will be explained during the gathering. Please contact Post-SocialeZaken [at] maastricht.nl if you have any questions or want to learn more.

  • You are on the waiting list for a house in the municipality of Gulpen-Wittem, Maastricht, Meerssen, Vaals or Valkenburg aan de Geul. As soon as a home is available, you will receive an invitation letter from Sociale Zaken Maastricht Heuvelland for a house viewing. On the day you receive the key, Vluchtelingenwerk will go with you to the house and you will sign the rental contract.


    After signing the rental contract, you and the counsellor from Vluchtelingenwerk will go to Sociale Zaken Maastricht Heuvelland to apply for benefits. Vluchtelingenwerk will help you sort out practical issues. You can tell your Vluchtelingenwerk counsellor what you would like help with.

  • If you do not yet have a job, you will receive a living allowance from the municipality. This is laid down in the Participatiewet (Participation Act). The Participatiewet includes agreements that you must adhere to. These agreements will be explained to you during conversations with your consultant at Sociale Zaken.

  • The Participatiewet stipulates that you must do your best to find work. Working during your civic integration not only enables you to earn money yourself, but also to learn the Dutch language faster. Working together with colleagues allows you to learn how people in the Netherlands interact. You and your consultant at Sociale Zaken will jointly draw up a plan that sets out your goals. Your consultant will support you in achieving your goals