The Netherlands is becoming increasingly popular with migrants looking for a safe, stable, prosperous, and culturally rich country to live and raise their families. The facts speak for themselves; the Netherlands has been ranked by the OECD Better Life Index as number one for work-life balance, and above average for jobs and earnings, housing, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections, environmental quality, personal security, civic engagement, and health status. On a scale of 0 – 10, citizens of the Netherlands scored their country 9.5 for work-life balance, 9.3 for life satisfaction, and 9.2 for safety.
According to EU statistics, there are approximately one million non-nationals living in the Netherlands, almost equally split between EU and non-EU nationals. If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen who has been living in the Netherlands for a while, you may be wondering whether you can now, or at some point in the future, apply for permanent residency. In this article, we will explain the immigration rules that apply for permanent residency for non-EEA/EU nationals, and how you can apply when you are ready to do so. The guidance in this blog is only for non-EEA/EU nationals; different guidance applies to EEA/EU/Swiss citizens and those with an asylum residence permit.
The permanent residency offers a host of benefits, not least that you will be free of immigration control and can remain for the rest of your life. It can only be cancelled if the individual commits a serious crime and/or becomes a risk to public safety or security. In addition, with permanent residency, you are one step closer to acquiring citizenship of the Netherlands if this is something you aspire to. You will be free to find a job with any employer, and if you choose, switch jobs or employers.
The immigration system in the Netherlands makes it relatively simple to acquire permanent residency. Most migrants will be eligible for permanent residence status if they have been living in the Netherlands for five or more years.
There are two main routes to permanent residence in the Netherlands, as follows:
This route to permanent residency is based on EU law and enables you to more easily apply for a residence permit in another EU country. In addition, you will not need to meet the conditions defined by that country for a residence permit.
In order to apply under this route, you will need to satisfy the following eligibility criteria:
The second option to acquire permanent residence in the Netherlands is to apply for a permanent residence permit under Dutch law. The eligibility criteria for permanent residence permits are defined by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and are broadly the same as those for the long-term resident EC route above.
The Dutch eligibility requirements also stipulate that only the years living in the Netherlands from the age of eight counts towards the five years; hence the earliest anyone can apply under this route is at the age of 13 years.
The income requirements are the same for both permanent residence routes, as are as follows:
The eligibility rules are similar for both the EU and Dutch routes to permanent residency in the Netherlands. If you are unsure which permit to apply for, it is advisable to speak to immigration Solicitors who will be able to assist you based on your individual circumstances. Given the importance of securing permanent residence for you and your family, and the time and costs involved in applying, it is important to make sure your application is correct and has the best chance of receiving a positive decision from the immigration and naturalisation service.
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