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Main residency outside of the Netherlands: Permit consequences

Main residency outside of the Netherlands: Permit consequences

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Moving outside of the Netherlands or spending a fair amount of time outside of the Netherlands? This could have consequences for maintaining your right of residence. Everaert Advocaten, a respected leader in Dutch migration law, explains when the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) considers you to have moved your main residency outside the Netherlands and what this means for your permit.

Whether you are a non-EU national with a residence permit or an EU national with a right of residence under EU law, one of the requirements to keep your right of residence is to have your main residency in the Netherlands. If you no longer have your main residency in the Netherlands, the IND can revoke your residence permit or conclude that your residency under EU law has ended.

Main residency

Main residency means that you live and spend most of your time in the Netherlands and that the centre of your main interests is here. Whether this is the case is a factual determination based on all circumstances of the case.

However, the IND has a list of circumstances in which they assume that you moved your main residency, a so-called rebuttable legal presumption of moving main residency outside of the Netherlands:

  1. When you left the Netherlands, you used a remigration scheme. For example, a scheme under the Remigration Act (in Dutch: Remigratiewet or Rw);
  2. You have been abroad longer than allowed. How long you may stay abroad depends on the type of right of residence you have;
  3. The IND receives signals that you no longer reside in the Netherlands.

If any of the above conditions apply to you, then your main residency might not be in the Netherlands anymore.

Signals of moving main residency

Signals that a person no longer resides in the Netherlands are, for instance:

  • You are no longer registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) of your local council (in Dutch: gemeente)
  • You have been deregistered from the Tax and Customs Administration (in Dutch: Belastingdienst) before departure abroad
  • The Aliens Police (AVIM) have been notified of your departure abroad
  • You resign or are dismissed and do not have a new job
  • You deregister your business, you regularly (periodically) have money transferred to an address outside the Netherlands
  • You buy off your pension rights
  • Your home in the Netherlands has been emptied and your home contents (possessions) have been moved abroad or you let / sublet to other people.

These signals can trigger an investigation by the IND to see if you indeed moved your main residency. As said, the signals are only an indication that you may have moved your main residency, but this presumption can be rebutted by factual evidence of main residency in the Netherlands.

If you temporarily do not have a registered address in the municipality, but you can show daily bank transactions at your local supermarket, this is evidence that you have not moved your main residency outside of the Netherlands. If you regularly transfer money outside of the Netherlands, but you can show you are financially supporting family members, this is evidence that you have not moved your main residency.

Spending time abroad longer than allowed

The IND also assumes that you moved your main residency if you are outside of the Netherlands longer than allowed, without having an excusable reason. How much time you are allowed to be outside of the Netherlands, depends on the type of residency you have.

Temporary or permanent residence permit asylum or regular

Temporary or permanent residence permits include: the highly skilled migrant permit, the permit to stay with a family member, a study permit or a Dutch national permanent residence permit (not: EU long-term residence permit).

The IND assumes you moved your main residency if:

  • You have been outside of the Netherlands for six consecutive months, not due to force majeure but your own choice; or
  • You have been outside of the Netherlands for more than four continuous months per calendar year, for three years in a row. The IND does not add up separate periods.

There are exemptions to this rule. If you have a highly skilled migrant permit, a permit as scientific researcher under Directive 2005/71/EC or researcher under Directive 2016/801 or a permit as a foreign investor, you are allowed to work / stay outside of the Netherlands for a total of up to eight out of 12 months.

In that case, the IND does add up the separate periods. If you have a study permit, you can stay outside the Netherlands for up to one year, if you are temporarily going abroad for education that is part of your studies in the Netherlands. You still need to meet the requirements of your respective residence permit and your residence permit has to be valid during the period of absence.

EU long-term residence permit

If you are the holder of an EU long term residence permit, the IND assumes that you have moved your main residency if:

  • You have been outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland for more than 12 continuous months. This 12-month period can easily be interrupted, even by a short stay in the EU, EEA or Switzerland;
  • You have been outside of the Netherlands but within the EU, EEA or Switzerland for more than six continuous years. The period of six years can be interrupted, even by a short stay in the Netherlands.

Residency under EU law

If you reside in the Netherlands as an EU (not Dutch), EEA or Swiss citizen or as a non-EU family member of such a citizen, your residency is based on EU law. If you have not lived in the Netherlands for more than five years under EU law, the IND assumes you’ve moved your main residency if:

  • You are outside of the Netherlands for more than six months out of a period of 12 months, without an important reason for this absence, such as pregnancy / childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training. The IND adds up separate periods; or
  • You are outside of the Netherlands for more than 12 continuous months.

Permanent right of residence in the Netherlands under EU rules (duurzaam verblijf)

If you have a permanent right of residence in the Netherlands under EU rules (in Dutch: duurzaam verblijf), the IND assumes that you have moved your main residency if you have been outside the Netherlands for more than two continuous years. This period can be interrupted, even by a short stay in the Netherlands.

UK citizen or family member of a UK citizen with “Residence Document Withdrawal Agreement”

If you are a UK citizen or the family member of a UK citizen with the residence document “Residence Document Withdrawal Agreement” for temporary residency, the IND assumes that you have moved your main residency if:

  • From 1 October 2023: You are outside of the Netherlands for more than six months out of a period of 12 months, without an important reason for this absence, such as pregnancy/childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training. The IND adds up separate periods;
  • From 1 April 2024: You are outside of the Netherlands for more than 12 continuous months.

Permanent Residence Document Withdrawal Agreement

If you have the residence document “Permanent Residence Document Withdrawal Agreement” for permanent residency in the Netherlands, the IND assumes that you have moved your main residency if you have been outside of the Netherlands for more than five continuous years.

Becoming Dutch

Please note that regardless of the type of residence permit you have, whether it is temporary or permanent, an absence of six consecutive months per one calendar year or an absence of more than four consecutive months for three years in a row, jeopardises your eligibility to become Dutch via naturalisation.

Need advice?

As the aforementioned shows, determining if you have moved your main residency outside of the Netherlands is dependent on all the facts and circumstances of an individual case. It is up to the immigration authorities to provide evidence or indications that you have moved your main residency outside of the Netherlands and if so, it is then up to you to provide evidence to the contrary.

If you have any questions about spending time abroad and implications for your right of residence or want to discuss your situation in more detail, please contact Nikki Vreede from Everaert Advocaten at vreede@everaert.nl.

Nikki

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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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