A quick guide to family reunification in the Netherlands
If you want to come and live in the Netherlands to join a partner or family member, there are special immigration procedures that allow for this. Find out about the rules that apply to your situation.
Partners and children
The Netherlands has a family reunification ruling for partners and children under 18 years of age. Young adult children up to around 25 can also be eligible if they are still living as part of their parent’s family. For non-EU citizens, being sponsored by your Dutch family member is usually the most convenient way to get a residency permit for the Netherlands. There are rules and conditions that vary according to the specific circumstances, so it’s good to seek expert advice when applying for family reunification.
Partners of Dutch citizens
You can apply for a family reunification permit if you and your Dutch partner are married, in a registered partnership or in a long-term relationship. The same rules apply to same-sex couples. There are certain conditions that apply. The most important ones are being able to prove your relationship and that your Dutch partner’s income meets the requirements.
Proving your relationship
If you are married or in a registered partnership, you need to submit a legalised certificate of marriage or registered partnership to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Your certificate must be legalised or authenticated with a stamp called an apostille. Not all partnerships registered abroad are recognised by the IND so be sure to check this with your advisor.
If you are unmarried, you need to prove that you are in a durable relationship. This can be done by answering a questionnaire and providing supporting evidence. For example, registration at the same address or a rental contract, travel tickets that show you have visited each other regularly, pictures of you and your family together, etc. You also need to submit a legalised Declaration of Unmarried Status to show that your relationship is exclusive.
Your Dutch partner’s income must be above a certain threshold. The exact amount is adjusted two times per year – ask your advisor or check the updated income requirements from the IND. Their employment contract should be valid for at least a year at the time you apply. If it is valid for less than a year, the IND will look at their income in the past. If your Dutch partner is self-employed, the income they made over the past 18 months will be assessed.
Even if the income is lower or not guaranteed for long enough, it may still be enough to meet the requirements. The immigration authorities are required to always look at your individual situation. In some cases, it’s possible to add your income to your Dutch partner’s income. Check the possibilities with your adviser.
Partners (or family members) of EU citizens
EU citizens can live and work in other EU countries without needing a residence permit. They can also bring their family members. This includes their partner and children under 21, and in some cases other family members. You do not have to be married or in a registered partnership. A durable relationship is also sufficient. The IND assumes that you have a durable relationship if you and your partner have a child together or have lived together for at least 6 months. In some cases, you can prove this even if you’ve lived together for a shorter time. However, it is important that you start living together in the Netherlands and register at the same address.
A visa to join the EU partner in the Netherlands is required for some nationalities. If this is the case, you must first apply for a facilitation visa at a Dutch embassy abroad. You must prove the family relationship at the embassy. You can travel to the Netherlands with this visa. Your EU family member then registers with the IND, and you apply for 'Verification against EU law'. The IND must give you a decision on your application within six months.
If you are in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, you can apply for a residence permit for your partner through your employer. If you are the partner of a British national who is in the Netherlands under the conditions of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, EU law applies if your relationship existed before 1 January 2021. The application must be made within 3 months of the family member arriving in the Netherlands, or before 1 October 2022. Turkish nationals can bring their children under 21.
If your partner has a different residence permit, the conditions that apply are similar to those for partners of Dutch citizens.
Parents of Dutch children
If your child has Dutch nationality, they are an EU citizen. If your child is dependent on you, then the Dutch authorities must grant you a residence permit to take care of your child in the Netherlands.
In practice, you must show that you genuinely provide care for your Dutch child, with or without the child's other (Dutch) parent. It is important to provide 'objective' evidence such as the birth certificate, statements from the hospital, the GP or other authorities, and proof that you support your child financially and/or provide daily care.
If you have more questions about family reunification permits or want advice on your personal situation, contact IN Amsterdam partner, Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers. They are specialists in immigration matters.