Dutch Immigration Law: Residence Permits and Naturalisation

Introduction

Foreigners come to the Netherlands with a specific purpose. They wish to live with their family, or for example come here to work or study. The reason of their stay is called the purpose of stay. A residence permit can be granted by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (hereafter referred to as the IND) for either a temporary or non-temporary purpose of stay. After 5 years of uninterrupted residence in the Netherlands, it is possible to request a residence permit for an indefinite period of time. Through naturalisation a foreigner can become a Dutch citizen. In order to be able to apply for a residence permit or naturalisation several different conditions must be met by the foreigner. This article will provide you with basic information about the different types of residence permits, the conditions that must be met in order to be able to obtain a residence permit and the conditions that must be met in order to become a Dutch citizen through naturalisation.

Residence permit for a temporary purpose

With a residence permit for a temporary purpose you may live in the Netherlands for a limited period. Some residence permits for a temporary purpose cannot be extended. In that case you cannot apply for a permanent residence permit and for the Dutch nationality.

The following purposes of stay are temporary:

  • Au pair
  • Cross border service provider
  • Exchange
  • Intra Corporate Transferees (Directive 2014/66/EC)
  • Medical treatment
  • Orientation year for highly educated persons
  • Seasonal work
  • Stay with a family member, if the family member you are staying with is here for a temporary purpose of stay or the family member has a temporary asylum residence permit
  • Study
  • Temporary asylum residence permit
  • Temporary humanitarian purposes
  • Trainee for study or employment purposes

Residence permit for a non-temporary purpose

With a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose you can live in the Netherlands for an unlimited period. However, you have to meet the conditions for your residence permit at all times.

The following purposes of stay are non-temporary:

  • Adopted child, if the family member you are staying with is a Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss citizen. Or, if this family member has a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay
  • EC long-term resident
  • Foreign investor (wealthy foreign national)
  • Highly skilled migrant
  • Holder of a European Blue Card
  • Non-temporary humanitarian purposes
  • Paid employment as non-privileged military personnel or non-privileged civilian personnel
  • Paid employment
  • Permanent stay
  • Scientific research based on Directive 2005/71/EG
  • Stay with a family member, if the family member you are staying with is a Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss citizen. Or, if this family member has a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay
  • Work on a self-employed basis

Residence permit for an indefinite period (permanent)

After 5 years of uninterrupted residence in the Netherlands, it is possible to request a residence permit for an indefinite period (permanent). If an applicant complies with all EU requirements, then an inscription “EG long term resident” will be put on his or her residence permit. In case of incompliance with the EU requirements, an applicant will be tested on conformity with the national grounds for application for an indefinite period residence permit. If the applicant is still not eligible under the national requirements, it will be assessed whether a present Dutch work permit can be extended.

To apply for a permanent residence permit, an applicant has to comply with the following general conditions:

  • A valid passport
  • A health insurance
  • An absence of criminal record
  • At least 5 years of legal staying in the Netherlands with the Dutch permanent purpose residence permit. Dutch permanent purpose residence permits include residence permits for work, family formation and family re-unification. Study or refugee residence permits are considered as temporary purpose residence permits. The IND looks at the 5 years immediately before you submitted the application. Only the years from the moment you turned 8 years of age count towards the application for a permanent residence permit
  • The 5-year stay in the Netherlands must be uninterrupted. This means that in those 5 years you have not stayed outside the Netherlands for 6 or more consecutive months, or 3 years in a row for 4 or more consecutive months
  • Sufficient financial means of the applicant: they will be assessed by the IND for 5 years. After 10 years of continuous living in the Netherlands, the IND will cease to check financial means
  • You are registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in your place of residence (municipality). You do not have to show this. The IND checks if you meet this condition
  • Moreover, a foreigner has to successfully pass a civic integration exam. This exam is aimed at the assessment of Dutch language skills and knowledge of the Dutch culture. Certain categories of foreigners are exempted from this exam (for example, EU nationals).

Depending on the situation there are certain special conditions, which may differ from general conditions. Such situations include:

  • family re-unification
  • family formation
  • work
  • study
  • medical treatment

The permanent residence permit is granted for 5 years. After 5 years, it can be renewed automatically by the IND with the request of the applicant. Cases of cancelation of the indefinite time residence permit include fraud, infringement of national order or threat for national safety.

Naturalisation

If a foreigner wishes to become a Dutch citizen through naturalisation an application must be submitted to the municipality where that person is registered.

The following conditions must be met:

  • The person is 18 years or older;
  • And has lived uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 5 years with a valid residence permit. The residence permit has always extended on time. The residence permit must be valid during the procedure. If the applicant has the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, a residence permit is not needed. There are a few exceptions to the 5-year rule;
  • Immediately prior to the naturalisation application, the applicant needs to have a valid residence permit. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. The residence permit is still valid at the time of the naturalisation ceremony;
  • The applicant is sufficiently integrated. This means that he or she can read, write, speak and understand Dutch. The applicant shows this with the civic integration diploma;
  • In the previous 4 years the applicant has not received a prison sentence, training or community service order or paid or had to pay a large fine either in the Netherlands or abroad. There must also be no ongoing criminal proceedings. With respect to a large fine, this is an amount of €810 or more. In the last 4 years the applicant may not have received multiple fines of €405 or more, with a total amount of €1,215 or more either;
  • The applicant must renounce his or her current nationality. There are some exceptions to this rule;
  • The declaration of solidarity must be taken.

Contact

Do you have questions with regard to immigration law? Please feel free to contact mr. Tom Meevis, lawyer at Law & More via tom.meevis@lawandmore.nl, or mr. Maxim Hodak, lawyer at Law & More via maxim.hodak@lawandmore.nl, or call +31 (0)40-3690680.

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