How to bring your partner to the Netherlands under EU law

How to bring your partner to the Netherlands under EU law

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De Vreede, Immigration Law is a young and dynamic law firm specialised in immigration law for both businesses and individuals.

Based on EU law, EU citizens and their non-EU partners have the same right to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU. This right of free movement does not only apply to married or registered partners but also unmarried partners, on the condition that they are in a long-term and exclusive relationship. Dutch nationals can fall under EU regulations when they have used their right to free movement.

A long-term and exclusive relationship

The EU does not give any definition of what an exclusive and long-term relationship constitutes. While the IND assumes that such a relationship is present when unmarried partners have shared a household for at least six months or when they have a child together, recent case law shows that even a six-month term can be a too strict criterion. It is all about the relationship itself. The couples need to prove that they are in a relationship with supporting evidence. 

Sufficient financial means

Another essential requirement is having sufficient financial means to support the both of you. The income requirements for EU citizens are less stringent than they are for Dutch citizens who want to bring their non-EU partner to the Netherlands: no minimum income is required, and even a small amount of savings can be sufficient.

How does it work?

It is a two-step application. First, the EU citizen must register at the IND. Second, the partner applies for verification against EU law. Both have to do so in person at one of the IND desks. A facilitating travel visa can be obtained for the partner with third-country nationality, who requires an (mvv) visa. 

Is there a right to work for the non-EU partner?

After submitting the application, the non-EU partner will receive an endorsement sticker in his or her passport stating, amongst other things, if they are allowed to work or not. Working is allowed if the IND is convinced of the relationship. This is always the case for parents, married couples and registered partners. In all other cases, applicants have to wait for their application to be processed, which might take up to six months. 

Residency rights non-EU partner after a break-up

The EU partner permit is dependent on the EU citizen. In the event of a break-up, the (non-EU) partner can retain their residency rights if they have lived in the Netherlands for more than three years. For married couples, this regulation is even more flexible. Being married entitles you to retain your residence rights after a relationship of three years and just one year of living in the Netherlands.

EU nationals and Brexit

UK nationals with their non-EU partners will face a different regime after Brexit. For those residing in the Netherlands before Brexit, EU law will still apply. However, there is a national transition period of 15 months. During this transition period, all UK nationals and their dependents should apply for a national residence permit. The IND will invite you to do so.

If you are planning to bring your non-EU partner to The Netherlands, do not hesitate to contact De Vreede, Immigration Law. They will be happy to assist you. 

Ester de Vreede


Ester de Vreede

Ester combines an extensive knowledge of employment law and immigration law, which proves to be an asset and of specific interest for highly skilled expats and companies that employ them....

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Leave a comment

caitwide9053 04:55 | 8 February 2020

Hello, I see that it says you should reside with your partner for 6 months. However, im from the US and I believe the longest I can stay for a period of time is 3 months. Does anyone know how to extend? We are starting to look into options so we can be together in the same country :)

Henriquespavan 03:03 | 12 February 2020

Question, I'm a EU, my girls is from Japan. We are fine about her information need to move to NL as my partner. But I'm on doubt about with documentation do I need to present for myself to bring her. even after all my settlement to be in NL is done, now is all about bring her, but I'm confuse if me as EU need to present any other papers out of prove that I'm not married with another person. If you guys could please help?/

jen237 08:14 | 17 February 2020

All the documents are provided and steps are listed on the IND's website here: * You will need to complete the Registration for EU-citizens (proof of entitlement to residency status). * You will need to complete the Application for Verification Against EU Law and she will have to provide biometric information to the IND when she arrives. * You will need to provide documents translated into English (or Dutch) and legalized that you are not married with other people, and you will need to provide your marriage/registered partnership certificate. In order to make appointments with the IND you can visit here:

lucymanlyn2 22:07 | 11 July 2020

Hello, I have been in a relationship with a German guy for 3 years. Of these 3 years, we have been in a registered partnership for 1 year. I have been living with him in the Netherlands for 1,5 years. I am staying here on a residence permit which is valid for 5 years (expires 2024) and we used the verification against EU law process to get it. I have South African nationality. If the relationship looks like it might not work out for much longer, what would my chances be of staying here? I’ve built up quite a life here now, would be sad to leave it behind. Looking forward to hearing from you, Lucy