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How to bring your partner to the Netherlands under EU law

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.

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