Brexit: How to secure your right of residence and work in the Netherlands in 2021

Brexit: How to secure your right of residence and work in the Netherlands in 2021

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The end of the Brexit transition period is nearing. Time is running out for British nationals and their family members to relocate to the Netherlands and apply for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement. Luckily, the folks over at everaert have detailed the individual steps you need to take to obtain a residence permit, depending on your situation.

You are in the Netherlands before December 31, 2020

As a British national with their main residence in the Netherlands, you can apply for a residence permit under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, provided that you submit a residence permit application. Ideally, this should be done before December 31, 2020, and no later than June 30, 2021.

You are considered a resident of the Netherlands when you are registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) at your town hall and the focus of your activities is in the Netherlands, such as your home, work, and social life. Additionally, you must not reside outside the Netherlands for over six consecutive months.

Another requirement is that you have sufficient resources for yourself and your family members without recourse to public funds. You must provide proof that you have enough financial means to support yourself (and your family), either as an employee, self-employed professional, student, job seeker or sustainably financially independent.

There is no minimum salary threshold and it is not necessarily relevant what type of income you have. If you are economically active in paid employment in the Netherlands, you can demonstrate your income with your employment contract and your salary slips. For self-employed professionals, freelance contracts, tax returns and a statement from your bookkeeper should suffice.

If you are economically inactive in the Netherlands, you can still be eligible for this permit, if you have savings or income from an inheritance, alimony, real estate, employment abroad, benefits or retirement.

Additionally, you must be enrolled in a comprehensive Dutch health insurance program and have no criminal record or be considered a threat to public security.

You have lived in the Netherlands for less than 5 years

If by the end of the transition period, you have been residing in the Netherlands for less than five years and you meet all the requirements, you will receive a temporary residence permit. This permit will be valid for five years. Your right of residence based on this temporary residence permit will end if you move your main residence outside of the Netherlands.

Recourse to social assistance or prosecution for a criminal offence may jeopardise your right of residence in the Netherlands, but it will not automatically result in a revocation of your residence rights. The Immigration Service will always take your personal situation into account.

After five uninterrupted years of residence in the Netherlands, you will be eligible for permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement, provided that you have met the other requirements, in particular, that you have your main residence in the Netherlands and that you have had sufficient financial resources to support yourself during the five years.

You have lived in the Netherlands for 5 years or more

If you have already resided in the Netherlands for five years and you were issued an EU permanent residence document, this document will be exchanged for the permanent residence document under the Withdrawal Agreement.

This permanent residence permit will be valid for as long as you reside in the Netherlands, without extra conditions. Your right of permanent residence can only be lost through absence from the Netherlands for more than five consecutive years.

You have non-EU family members

If you have non-EU family members, this is what you need to know:

Relationship before December 31, 2020

Non-EU family members of British nationals will still be eligible to apply for a residence permit as dependents under the Withdrawal Agreement after December 31, 2020. Family members are: married or unmarried partners, children under 21 or financially dependent direct relatives, such as parents of adult children.

You (the British sponsor) must already reside in the Netherlands before the end of the transition period and have applied for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement before June 30, 2021. The relationship must have existed before December 31, 2020.

Non-EU family members who need a visa to travel to the Schengen zone can travel to the Netherlands with a tourist visa or a facilitating visa to file an application for a residence permit.

Relationship after December 31, 2020

If you already live in the Netherlands on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and you want to bring your non-EU partner to the Netherlands with whom you have started a relationship after December 31, 2020, the standard family reunification rules apply.

Under these rules, there is a minimum income threshold for the sponsoring family member, which must earn at least the statutory monthly minimum wage. The income must also be sustainable and independent. Your income may be deemed unsustainable if you do not have a valid employment contract for at least 1 year, at the time of application. Depending on the nationality, your partner may need to complete the civic integration exam at a Dutch diplomatic post and obtain an entry visa (MVV).

After the end of the transition period

After December 31, 2020, British nationals will be considered "third-country nationals" and your free movement in the EU will end. To move to and be able to live and work in the Netherlands, British nationals will need to meet the requirements for a "regular" residence permit, for study, work or family reunification.

British residents who are already in the Netherlands can continue their stay in the Netherlands on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement but these residence rights do not grant any residence or work rights in other EU member states.

Regain EU citizenship

After five years of continuous legal residence in the Netherlands and if you have completed the civic integration exam and you do not have a criminal record, you will be eligible for Dutch citizenship. In principle, you must renounce your British citizenship. There are a few exceptions to this rule, for example, if you are married to a Dutch citizen.

You can consult everaert's website for more information. If you have any remaining questions please contact Elles Besselsen at [email protected] or on +31(0)20 752 32 27.

Elles Besselsen


Elles Besselsen

Previously an archaeologist, Elles now practices European and Dutch immigration law. She joined Everaert Advocaten as a lawyer in 2018. Elles assists private individuals with family migration and civic integration...

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Anne Kathleen 13:48 | 19 November 2020

Just look at the IND website, all this information is on there. They speak english and are very helpful. You don't need any company to help you.