Bringing your young adult child to the Netherlands

Bringing your young adult child to the Netherlands

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Moving to or already residing in the Netherlands and want to bring your adult child (over the age of 18) to the Netherlands too? Everaert Advocaten, a respected leader in Dutch migration law, explains how to go about it.

As a non-EU national, it is possible to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands for family reunification for your non-EU family members. Family members are limited to your core family: your partner / spouse and your minor children (under the age of 18). According to the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) and the IND customer service, it is not possible to apply for a residence permit for children over 18. However, this is not the case.

Article 8

It is possible to bring your young adult child to the Netherlands by invoking article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the implemented “young adult” policy. Unfortunately, the IND has still not updated their website with this policy, even though it has been implemented since late 2016 to comply with rulings from the European Court on Human Rights.

The main rule under ECHR article 8 is that a parent can only bring the adult child if "more than normal emotional ties involving additional elements of dependency" exist between the parent and the child.

Under the “young adult” policy, it is not necessary to prove the existence of "more than normal emotional ties" if the child:

  1. is a young adult;
  2. lives together with their parents as part of the core family;
  3. is not providing for himself but is financially dependent on their parents;
  4. did not start their own family.

Young adult

The IND considers a young adult to be someone between 18-25 years old. Whether a child is considered a young adult, is dependent on specific facts and circumstances. In some cases, the IND (and the Courts) applied the young adult policy to children over 25 years old.

Living together as a family

If the child continued to live with their parents after turning 18, the IND will consider the child to be part of the parents’ core family. The IND will assess if this is the case on the date of filing the application.

If you are already in the Netherlands and your child stayed in your home country, your child is no longer living with you as part of your core family. In that case, the IND should first assess the factual situation at the time you left your home country for the Netherlands.

Was your child living with you as part of your core family at the time you left for the Netherlands? The IND will then look if anything has changed substantially in your situation that could lead to the conclusion that your child no longer belongs to your core family, between the moment you left for the Netherlands and the date of application for legal residency for your child.

This could be the case if the young adult child lives independently. For instance, the IND considers the child to live independently if the child moved out of the family home to a university campus for study purposes. However, even in that situation, it can still be argued that the child continued to be part of the parents’ core family. Whether or not a young adult can be seen as living independently from their parents, is a factual determination and is always dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Financially dependent

The young adult child needs to be financially dependent on their parents. The parents need to show that they (will) have sufficient income to support the child in the Netherlands. The young adult child is allowed to have a side-job but needs to prove that they are financially dependent on the parents for their basic needs.

No marriage or relationship

The young adult child is no longer part of their parents’ core family if the child has started their own family by entering into a marriage or relationship. When assessing whether the young adult has a relationship, the IND takes into account the nature, duration and intensity of the relationship. Not every fling or relationship breaks the actual family bond with the parents’ core family.

Meeting the required criteria

If the young adult meets all the criteria, the IND should issue the requested permit. However, we have recently seen that the IND looks at this type of application in a more stringent way.

The requirement of living together as part of the core family seems to become the more decisive factor. In case the child is no longer living with the parent because the parent already moved to the Netherlands, the IND will require an explanation of why the child remained behind and will make a more in-depth assessment of where the child stayed after the parent left and in what way the parent remained involved in the child’s life. Evidence of daily contact, involvement of the parent in school decisions and daily routines and financial dependence become more important.

Looking at the aforementioned, we can only conclude that it is possible to bring your young adult child to the Netherlands, but the policy is not as clear cut as it seems. If you have any questions or want to discuss your situation in more detail, please contact Nikki Vreede at



Nikki Vreede

Nikki joined Everaert Immigration Lawyers in 2018 and is an expert in the field of immigration law. Nikki worked for several years as a paralegal at the District Coourt of...

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