How to bring your non-EU partner to the Netherlands
De Vreede Advocaten is a young and dynamic Amsterdam law firm specialised in immigration and international employment law for both businesses and individuals.
There are different routes to bring non-EU partners to the Netherlands, depending on whether the partner’s application will be filed under Dutch law or via EU regulations.
Applying under Dutch or EU law
An application may be filed under EU law if the sponsoring partner is a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland living in the Netherlands.
A Dutch national may also take advantage of EU regulations if he or she has previously asserted rights as an EU citizen.
For example, a Dutch national who has resided and worked in another EU country with their partner could then file an application in the Netherlands via EU law.
If this is not the case, citizens of the Netherlands will need to sponsor their non-EU partner under the Dutch national scheme (Dutch law), which also applies to non-Dutch sponsors who are not citizens of the EU/EER or Switzerland.
Differences between Dutch and EU law
A significant difference between the Dutch national scheme and EU partner regulation lies in the nature of the right being asserted by the sponsoring partner.
Under the Dutch scheme, a partner requests that his or her non-EU partner be granted the right to reside in the Netherlands as a dependent.
Under EU law, that right already exists and rather needs to be verified by the authorities. For this reason, an application under EU law is referred to as "Verification against EU Law".
Requirements for qualifying partnerships
Dutch law provides that both married and unmarried partners, including same-sex partners, may qualify for partner permits.
Unmarried partners will need to establish that they are not married to other third parties. A so-called "certificate of unmarried status" from the partner’s home country is required in most cases and partners should provide a copy of their divorce decree if married in the past.
Verification against EU Law requires that the unmarried partnership’s "exclusive" and "durable" nature be verified by showing that the partners have been sharing a household for at least six months prior to filing the application.
However, there are court decisions holding that is possible to prove exclusivity and durability by other means than proof of cohabitation. De Vreede Advocaten prevailed at the Court of Amsterdam in a case with substantial proof of an exclusive and durable relationship, but no cohabitation history whatsoever.
Under the Dutch national scheme, there is no requirement to prove that the partnership has existed in the past. However in both cases, a questionnaire included in the application provides information about the partnership and questions could be asked on the basis of that questionnaire.
When applying with the Dutch Immigration Department (IND) the sponsoring partner will need to establish that he or she has sufficient income to support the non-EU partner financially.
Under the Dutch scheme, the 2015 income requirements for married and unmarried partners living together are 1621,95 euros per month, plus an eight per cent holiday allowance. Proof of income requirements under EU law are far more relaxed.
The Dutch scheme requires an MVV Visa for partners of applicable nationality. Partners applying under EU-law are exempt from the MVV visa requirement.
Depending on the residency right of the sponsor, a non-EU partner may be required to pass the Dutch language test before coming to the Netherlands. This does not apply to non-MVV visa nationals. For example, the American partner of a Dutch national will not be required to take the language test.
Regardless of the basis of the partnership application, once your application is submitted with IND it will typically take three to six months before a decision is made.
For more information, or if you require legal advice on the application for your non-EU partner, contact De Vreede Advocaten.
This article was co-authored by Christine Sullivan, specialist in residence permits for USA nationals, and Reinier Wolters, head of the employment practice at De Vreede Advocaten.