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Family Reunification Visas for the Netherlands

Question and Answers 17 November 2012, 11:30

Trying to reunite a family across borders is often a confusing and challenging task. There are many requirements for visas that must be figured out, with conditions varying depending upon your situation.

Family ReunificationTrying to reunite a family across borders is often a confusing and challenging task. There are many requirements for visas that must be figured out, with conditions varying depending upon your situation.

As of October 1st, 2012, changes have been applied to Dutch laws surrounding family reunification. Applications for visas can be sent to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) where they will be processed. Your specific situation will determine how the new changes will apply to you and how the IND will consider your application.

EU and Non-EU Citizens

EU citizens are allowed to stay and live in the Netherlands without restrictions. This is applicable to immediate family such as partners, in-laws, grandparents, and grand- or great-grandchildren.

Dependents over the age of 21, including children, in-laws, and grandparents, must however prove that the EU citizen in the Netherlands provided financial support, or lived with the dependent in the home country. In this case, the dependent should apply for a ‘proof of lawful residence’ in order to receive a residence document.

Non-EU citizens and family members must apply for a Regular Provisional Residence Permit (known as an MVV in Dutch) that will grant them temporary stay if approved. This must be applied for and approved before entering the Netherlands, so it is best to make sure applications are completed ahead of time. Approval is based on your family situation, and also on financial stability in some cases.

Find more details and recent updates about visas and residence permits required to stay in the Netherlands.

Sponsoring a Spouse

Couples must now be married in order to have the IND accept an application for residency of a spouse or partner. You may also be granted residency if you have a registered partner, but are not yet married.

Unmarried couples will no longer be able to apply, unless they cannot marry in their country of origin. For these couples, a temporary stay of 6 months may be granted, but the couple must get married within this time in order to prolong this stay.

Sponsors currently in the Netherlands must have lived here for a minimum of one year before being able to apply to bring a spouse here. Requirements for continued residence have also been changed, raising the limit from 3 years to 5. The ‘extended family reunion’ purpose of residence is now no longer available to apply for residency as of October 1st as well.

Knowledge Migrants

It is also possible to come to the Netherlands as someone with specific skills or knowledge. Highly skilled migrants, knowledge migrants, and researchers have other visa requirements.

The procedure for residency approval for these migrants and their families is generally much faster, especially if an employer applies on your behalf to the IND. Your MVV in this case could be approved within two weeks.

However, in order to bring family to join you, your family members must be registered in the municipal database (GBA) under the same address as you are, and your marriage must also be registered in this database. While you have a valid MVV, your spouse and family members are free to work in the Netherlands without restrictions of work permits.

Read more about working in Holland after graduation.

Other Visas

For other visa types, there are other requirements to fulfill as well before being approved for residency.

You will need to provide legal documents to prove your marriage, as well as make sure you are registered in the municipal database as partners.Otherwise, you will need to provide documents proving that you are not married.The IND will then confirm the legitimacy of your marriage and approve any applications within five to ten weeks.

This process is meant to provide sufficient evidence that the marriage is real and that it is not simply just for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit. Partners in this case must be financially supported, and must also pass the Civic Integration Examination Abroad test in order to be allowed to enter the Netherlands.

Children that are brought to the Netherlands must live with the parents, or must have permission to leave from the parent staying behind in the home country. Children over the age of 18 must also pass the Civic Integration test, unless they are citizens of Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, the USA, or Vatican City.

Financial support must be given to any family member being brought to the Netherlands, and any member between the ages of 18 and 65 will need to pass the Civic Integration test as a condition of residence in the Netherlands. This test is designed to make sure any newcomers to the Netherlands have basic knowledge and background of the country, language, and culture and is required in order to be granted residence.


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