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Can EU/EEA Citizens Apply for a Permanent Residence Permit in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is increasingly becoming the ‘go-to’ destination for migrants who are looking for a safe, stable, culturally vibrant, and economically prosperous place to live. It is easy to see why; it boasts the tallest men in the world, it has one of the best cycling networks, but perhaps most importantly, according to the OECD, the Netherlands ranks top in work-life balance and above average in jobs, earnings, housing, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections, environmental quality, personal security, civic engagement, and health status. And when asked for their general life satisfaction, nationals of the Netherlands score higher than the OECD average. So, if you are looking for a country with strong economic prospects which offers great social and personal opportunities, the Netherlands may well be for you.

Can EEA/EU Nationals Live and Work in the Netherlands?

As a national of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Union (EU), you can live and work in the Netherlands without the need for a visa or residence permit.

EEA/EU countries include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Czech Republic.

The guidance provided by Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the Netherlands states, “your passport (or ID card) of the country, of which you hold the nationality, is evidence enough that you are permitted to stay in the Netherlands and to work here. You are not required to report to the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) and also you do not apply to the IND for proof of lawful residence. Your employer does not need to apply for a work permit for you if you want to work in the Netherlands”.

Can EEA/EU Nationals Live Permanently in the Netherlands

Yes, if you are an EEA/EU national and have lived in the Netherlands for five or more years, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

The eligibility requirements for a permanent residence permit for EU/EEA or Swiss citizens are as follows:

  • You must have been living continuously and lawfully in the Netherlands for five years or more. The following count towards your period of lawful residence:
    • You have worked for at least one year during which you worked at least 40% of the usual full working hours, or, your income from work was at least 50% of the appropriate social welfare benefits standard.
    • You did not work, but you had sufficient funds to be self-sufficient
    • You did not work, but you received social welfare benefits – in the Netherlands, receiving social welfare benefits has no impact on your right of residence
    • If you have spent time in detention but prior to that detention you had already been living in the Netherlands for five years or more, continuously and lawfully.
  • You must have a valid passport or another travel document
  • You must be registered on the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in your place of residence (municipality) in the Netherlands. You will not be required to show proof of this as the database will be checked by the IND when processing your application.

Permanent Residence for Non-EEA/EU Family Members

If you are not an EEA or EU citizen, but you have a close family member who is, you may also be able to apply for permanent residence. This is open to family members including:

  • A spouse or (registered) partner.
  • Family members in the ascending line: parent, parent-in-law, grandparent.
  • A family member in the descending line: child, grandchild, great-grandchild.

To apply for permanent residence, family members need to complete an ‘Application for a Permanent Residence Document for Nationals of the Union and their Family Members’ form.

Other Scenarios which may Lead to Permanent Residence as an EEA/EU National

The IND immigration rules allow some individuals to apply for permanent residence earlier than five years. These include EU/EEA and Swiss citizens:

  • who are retired (including early retirement) – in this case, the EEA/EU national must have been living in the Netherlands for a continuous period of three years and have been working there for at least one year, after which you retired.
  • Permanently unfit to work – to be eligible on this basis, you must have been living in the Netherlands for two years before being declared unfit to work, and you stopped working because you were declared unfit to work.
  • Permanently unfit to work due to a work-related accident or work-related illness - you must have stopped working because you were declared unfit for work as a result of a work-related accident or work-related illness.
  • Cross-border workers – you can apply for permanent residence after three years of continuous residence in the Netherlands if you work in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and live in the Netherlands, and you return to your home in the Netherlands at least once a week.

Making an Application for Permanent Residence as an EU/EEA Citizen or Family Member

The application for permanent residence is completed online. At present, the application fee is €58 for adults and €31 for children. Decisions are typically made by the IND within 90 days of receipt of the application. Biometric enrolment (i.e. fingerprints, photos) is required for non-EEA/EU nationals and should be done within two weeks of sending the application to the IND. EEA/EU nationals do not need to enrol their biometric information but they do need to supply a photo.

Final Words

The application process for permanent residence for EEA/EU nationals after living in the Netherlands for five or more years is relatively simple and inexpensive. If you need help with applying for permanent residence whether as an EEA/EU citizen who has already been in the Netherlands for five years, or you are a close family member from a country outside, it is always advisable to engage the services of experienced immigration Solicitors who will be able to guide you through the process and ensure you receive a positive decision. We wish you the very best of luck with your life in the Netherlands.

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