Family visa Netherlands: the Verification against EU law and the Partner Visa

Jan 14, 2024

If you want to live and work in the Netherlands as a non-EU citizen, you will have your work cut out for you. But there may be a solution at your side every day: your partner may be able to provide you a visa if they have a Dutch or European passport. If your partner has their own visa (for example a Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) or Blue Card visa), you are able to join them as a dependent family member under that visa. In this article we will look into the situation where your partner does not have such a visa, but has either a Dutch passport or an EU passport for you to piggy-back on.

If your partner has a Dutch or EU passport, this offers the possibility for you to obtain a valid visa to work and reside in the Netherlands. The procedures are slightly different. There are two paths you can go by:

  1. If your partner has a Dutch passport: the procedure is called a “Partner Visa” application. This is a procedure under Dutch law.

  2. If your partner has an EU passport: the procedure is called a “Verification against EU-law procedure”. This is a procedure under EU law, which is slightly more lenient than the previous procedure.

For both procedures you are going to need a couple of documents. All documents originating from outside the Netherlands must be original, legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German. Both the original document and the translation need to be apostilled, with the apostille being not older than 6 months when you file the application. You need the following documents:

  1. An original birth certificate.

  2. If you are married, an original marriage certificate.

  3. If you are unmarried partners, you need to prove that you are not married to someone else. For this, an original declaration of unmarried (or single) status from your current municipality of residence is required.


The Partner Visa

Dutch immigration law allows for Dutch passport holders to attract their non-EU partner to the Netherlands, under the so-called “Partner visa”. For the partner visa, it is not required that the Dutch person is married to the non-EU partner. You, as a non-EU partner do need to prove that you are in a durable relationship, and the Dutch partner needs to prove they are employed and can take care of the family.

The following rules apply:

  1. Both the Dutch person and the non-EU partner are 21 years of age. If the partners are married, this bar can be lowered to 18 years under certain circumstances.

  2. The Dutch person and the non-EU partner must register at the same address in the Netherlands. 

  3. The Dutch person must have sufficient income or means. This is  established on a case-by-case basis, where both active and passive income are taken into consideration.

  4. The Dutch person will be designated as the sponsor of the non-EU partner at the IND for the duration of the stay, and therefore responsible for them. 

  5. The non-EU partner must apply for a temporary residence permit (MVV) before being able to enter the Netherlands as part of the procedure. There is a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from the MVV requirement in the Netherlands. These countries are Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, and Switzerland. Partners from one of these countries don’t need an MVV and can await the final verdict on their application within the Netherlands. 

  6. The non-EU partner does not receive a work permit until the final verdict on the partner visa application process is received. Before then, they are required to sit tight.

  7. The non-EU partner needs to take a basic civic integration exam. This requirement is dropped if the non-EU partner is MVV exempt as explained above. 

  8. The non-EU partner may not have a criminal record or antecedents. This will be checked in the EU/EEA criminal records, and an additional antecedent declaration needs to be signed. 

  9. The non-EU partner must leave their biometric data at an IND office as part of the process.

The application must be submitted to the IND in writing, and the verdict will usually land within 3 months.


Verification against EU law procedure

The Netherlands is part of the European Union (EU), and the EU offers its citizens free movement within the EU/EEA and Switzerland region. The verification against EU law process (v-EU law in short) allows for the attraction of the entire 1st degree family of the EU/EEA or Swiss (hereafter “EU/EEA” in short) passport holder, to the Netherlands. This includes children, grandchildren and even parents. This means that a particular incoming family member is given a work and residence permit in the Netherlands with no further strings attached. The incoming partner doesn’t have to be a spouse or registered partner of the attracting partner, as long as they can prove a durable relationship by living together in the Netherlands.

The following rules apply for the Verification against EU law procedure:
1. For this procedure to work, you and the Union Citizen whom you are joining must actually be in the Netherlands during the application and when the application is granted. Otherwise, you will not get a residence permit.
2. The Union Citizen whom you are joining in the Netherlands must meet the following criteria:
(a) Have a valid EU, EEA or Swiss passport
(b) Be insured for healthcare expenses in the Netherlands
(c ) Have sufficient income or means to sustain yourself in the Netherlands. This is  established on a case-by-case basis, where both active and passive income are taken into consideration.
3. You and the Union Citizen whom you are joining will register at the same address in the Netherlands. 
4. You and the Union Citizen whom you are joining may not have a criminal record or antecedents. This will be checked in the EU/EEA criminal records, and an additional antecedent declaration needs to be signed. 
5. There is no MVV requirement for the v-EU law procedure, as it exists in the partner visa application procedure outlined above. This means that the partner can at all times wait out the application procedure for the v-EU law application within the Netherlands. 
6. You must leave your biometric data at an IND office as part of the process.

The application must be submitted to the IND in writing, and the verdict will usually land within 3 months.

Residence endorsement sticker

The partner that applies for the v-EU law procedure does not have to wait until the final verdict on the v-EU law application, before they can actually get to work. The partner is able to obtain a “residence endorsement sticker” at the IND about 2 weeks after the application is submitted. With this sticker, the partner can already live and reside in the Netherlands as if the visa was granted straight away. The final verdict on the v-EU law application process can take 2-3 months, but that will only serve as confirmation of the residence endorsement sticker. NB: the residence endorsement sticker is only awarded as part of the Verification against EU-law procedure, not as part of the Partner Visa procedure.


Disclaimer

Many of the above described processes and requirements are not regulations written in stone, but factual day-to-day practice applied by the IND and the Gemeente of your registration. This means that requirements and processes can change. Please inform yourself at the beginning of your application process what the current requirements are. 

NB: Cardon & Company is a business migration law firm. We only handle Verification against EU-law and partner visa applications as part of a business migration to the Netherlands. Please only reach out to us in these cases. In other cases, feel free to use the above for your own reference.