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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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O.L

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As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

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"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

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"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

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The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

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As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

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"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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