Family and the Dutch American Friendship Treaty visa
Oct 16, 2023
So you have decided to move to the Netherlands and apply for the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (“DAFT” in short). This is a major life decision. And not only for yourself as the main applicant. You also have the position of your family members to consider. In this article we will dive into a couple of topics that you need to specifically take note of when you take along your family under DAFT to the Netherlands.Position of main applicant under DAFTThe main applicant under DAFT will receive a visa to work as a self employed person in the Netherlands. This means the main applicant may only work for a company in which he or she holds at least 25% of the shares. This needs to be proven during the application procedure. The main applicant will receive an endorsement sticker in their passport during their first IND meeting after 1-2 weeks. With this sticker they are already able to work in the Netherlands self employed, never in regular employment. In Dutch the text will read “Arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan, arbeid in loondienst niet toegestaan.”
Position of spouse or underaged child under DAFT
The spouse and underaged child (under 18) may join the main DAFT applicant as a family member. Family members under DAFT will receive a visa to work as either a self-employed person in the Netherlands, or in regular employment. This scope is therefore actually broader than the visa obtained by the main applicant. The spouse or child will receive an endorsement sticker in their passport during their first IND meeting after 1-2 weeks. With this sticker they are already able to work in the Netherlands self employed, but not yet in regular employment. In Dutch the text will read “Arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan, arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met een TWV.” The spouse or child will be able to work in regular employment only after the final verdict of the DAFT has been obtained.
Position of adult children or parents of the main applicant under DAFT
Adult children (18+) of the main applicant under DAFT cannot join the main applicant under DAFT. They need to apply for a separate visa. Parents of the main applicant also have no position under DAFT. Both parents and adult children need to apply for a separate visa. If none is available for them, they can pursue an article 8 EVRM application. This is a rather difficult procedure in which they needs to prove they are totally dependent on you, as a result of which they are joining you to the Netherlands. Cardon & Company does not facilitate this.
Official documentation for your family members
Once you decide to move to the Netherlands, you are required to register at the municipality where you’re going to live. If you are moving to the city of Amsterdam, you can register online in advance. During your registration you need to file an original and apostilled birth certificate for each and every joining family member. If you bring along a child from a divorced ex-spouse, there needs to be an original and apostilled court verdict appointing total legal custody over the child to yourself as parent. If you bring along a child from an ex-partner (never married), you need to bring along an original and apostilled declaration of consent from the ex-partner, attesting to their consent that you bring your child to the Netherlands. If you bring along a child from a deceased ex-partner or spouse, you need to bring along an original and apostilled death certificate of that ex-partner or spouse.
Schooling for your children
If you move to the Netherlands with a DAFT visa, you are going to setup a business in the Netherlands. This means you will be able to expense certain costs into your business. If you setup a Dutch BV company and obtain the 30% ruling you are eligible to some very interesting tax breaks under DAFT. This includes the expensing of your children’s schooling costs at an expat school as costs in your company. Make sure you keep the invoices and receipts in your administration. This option is not available to the regular ZZP/Eenmanszaak company setup, or a BV setup where the 30% ruling is not obtained.
Relocation costs for your family to the Netherlands
If you move to the Netherlands with a DAFT visa to start working from a Dutch BV company, you are going to enter into the employment of your own company. Dutch law provides employers (in this case: your Dutch BV) the option to provide their employees (in this case: you ) with a tax free compensation for relocation costs incurred as part of the execution of their jobs. If you set up your company before you move to the Netherlands (or in any case before you register at your Dutch municipality), your relocation to the Netherlands will fall under this facility. This includes the plane tickets and moval of household goods for yourself as main applicant and for each of your joining family members.
Driver’s license for your self and your spouse
If you are moving to the Netherlands with a driver’s license from any non-EU country (including the USA) you can only use that driver’s license for 185 days after your registration here. After that you need to obtain a Dutch driver’s license. If you have obtained your 30% ruling as part of your DAFT application, this gives you the unique capability to swap your existing non-EU driver’s license for a Dutch one, without having to pass a Dutch driver’s exam. Just bring your 30% ruling, a statement of good health from the CBR and your still valid non-EU driver’s license to your Dutch townhall and obtain your new license. The exact same applies to the partner of the 30% ruling holder. Other family members need to obtain their driver’s licence the regular way.