Retaining your Dutch right of residence after a change of circumstance

Retaining your Dutch right of residence after a change of circumstance

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Are you residing in the Netherlands on a residence permit, but your circumstances change? You may be able to retain your right of residence. Everaert Advocaten explains your options, after first describing different purposes of stay in the Netherlands.

Study and search year

If you have a nationality from outside of the European Union (EU) and want to study in the Netherlands, the Dutch university can apply for a residence permit for you with study as purpose of your stay. The application needs to be filed with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). Once you have obtained all the required credits to obtain your diploma, you can apply for an orientation (search) year permit.

During the orientation year, you are free to work and can spend your time to submit a new application for a residence permit to continue your residence in the Netherlands after the orientation year ends. If you find a job with an employer that holds the recognised sponsor status with the IND, you might be eligible for a highly skilled migrant permit.

Highly Skilled Migrant Permit

The general requirements for the highly skilled migrant permit are that the employer must be willing to sponsor you, that your salary meets the applicable threshold and general immigration requirements must be met. If granted, you will be issued with a highly skilled migrant permit, which is dependent on your employment contract.

Residence with partner – regular family reunification or residence based on EU law

Should you have a partner or spouse in the Netherlands, you might also be able to base your residence in the Netherlands on your relationship as well (regular family reunification). This is the case if your partner is Dutch or a third-country national with a residence permit in the Netherlands.

If your partner is an EU national, you can file an application for Verification against EU law. If your partner has EU citizenship, it is somewhat easier to obtain a residence permit.


For both applications, it is required to prove your exclusive and durable relationship (or marriage / registered partnership) and to prove that you have sufficient means of income. The income requirements for both applications are different: under EU law, income can come from any source. If you have 10.000 euros on a savings bank account and can provide proof, this is considered sufficient.

For regular family reunification, you must however provide proof that you generate a monthly income, which must be equal to (or above) the minimum wage. If you work in employment, your income must in principle be available for at least one more year. If you are self-employed, your gross profit must have been above the minimum wage in the 18 months preceding the application.

In both applications, you must enclose a copy of a shared rental agreement, photos, statements from friends and family regarding the relationship, and documents on your income. With the right of residence as partner / spouse, you are free to work for any employer.

Retain right of residence as partner of an EU national after your relationship ends

If things do not work out in the end and your relationship ends, your right of residence is in jeopardy. However, you might be able to keep your right of residence when you are the partner or spouse of an EU national. If your partner is an EU national, there is an option to retain your right of residence, based on EU law. It would be required that your partner did not leave the Netherlands before the divorce proceedings started or the relationship ended. In addition, to retain the right of residence, the exclusive and durable relationship or marriage / registered partnership must have lasted at least three years, of which at least one year in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, it must be proven that there are still sufficient means of income, and that you still take out Dutch health insurance. You can then notify the IND in writing on the termination of your relationship. In the notification, you would include a copy of the initial application, your marriage certificate and proof of the divorce, along with recent photos and recent documents regarding your income. That way, you can prove that you have the right to retain your right of residence. The IND will need to confirm this, and then your residence document remains valid.

Durable residence

If the IND confirms that your right of residence still is in place, your right of residence simply continues. You will even be eligible for a permanent right of residence after five years – so called durable residence. To be eligible, you will need to show that you have legally resided in the Netherlands for five consecutive years, and that there were sufficient means of income to get by during those five years. Furthermore, you must prove that you were covered for health insurance.

Convert residence permit after change of circumstances

If you hold a residence permit as partner of a Dutch citizen or person with a residence permit in the Netherlands and your relationship ends, there is no way to retain the same right of residence, but you might be able to convert your residence permit into a residence permit humanitarian non-temporary, based on the termination of your relationship. You could also apply for a new residence permit, for example based on employment or regular permanent residence. These options would require passing the integration test. Please read this article for more information on regular permanent residence.

Do you have a dependent right of residence, and does something change in your situation regarding the relationship or your income? You may be able to keep your right of residence or convert your residence permit into a new residence permit with another purpose of stay. For more information, you can contact the lawyers from Everaert Advocaten.

Sofia Helbing


Sofia Helbing

Sofia joined Everaert Advocaten as a paralegal in September 2021, having completed a student internship at the firm during her master's. At Everaert Advocaten, she mainly focuses on family and...

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