I'm a US citizen in a relationship with an Brit.
I'm not completely clear on this, but apparently I'm not obliged to take the intergration exam if I want to stay on the Samenwoning visa, but I want to have more personal security, and so I went to the town hall and requested to take the exam, and they've set me up with Dutch classes in order to prepare for it.
I have 2 questions re: the PR
Can I apply after 3 years or 5 years? I've seen both on various forums and I'm afraid I don't know anymore what my expectations should be on this.
What does the PR allow you to do? I've read that you can live and work in the NL indefinitely. You can live in another EU country for up to 6 years (does this include working?) You can live outside of the EU for only 1 year.
Can anyone clarify these for me or point me to the most up to date info on the web?
That's right, partners of non-Dutch EU citizens have no integration requirement whatsoever.
However, you cannot apply for a permanent residence permit until you reach 5 years. Partners of Dutch citizens can apply for an independent status after three years of holding a residence permit for partnership ('voortgezet verblijf'), even if they have not broken up with their partner, but the same privilege is not granted to cohabiting partners of non-Dutch EU citizens. (There needs to be a court case about that!) [An independent status is only granted to spouses and registered partners of EU citizens who have been together for 3 years, but then only if they get divorced or dissolve the partnership.]
Note, however, that as a family member of a non-Dutch EU citizen working in the Netherlands, if you just do nothing, then at the 5-year mark you will automatically get 'long term resident' status, which is essentially the same as a Dutch permanent residence permit-- and it's completely independent.
This is not the same as what some people call the 'EU' permanent residence permit (is this getting confusing enough?), which is essentially a Dutch permanent residence permit (with the tag 'EG-langdurig ingezetene') that supposedly includes some rights of mobility in other EU countries. In reality, so far, this offers virtually no mobility. The UK, Ireland and Denmark opted out of it completely, and most other EU member states don't allow you to work freely for the first year that you are there using this permit.
Jeremy Bierbach, LLM
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Hi avocado, Thanks for the info. The 5 year wait to have an independent status is indeed unfortunate. If I understand you correctly, I could formally dissolve my current status with my partner after 3 years in order to a have that? I assume that would require my passing the integration exam... The EU PR option seems almost worthless! Unless someone has income to support themselves for a year abroad or I guess if they are a contractor or work remotely, it would be pretty much impossible to move about freely. Maybe it sounds odd, but in my case, I once moved abroad with an American partner, set about making a life with him (in BE) and then when he decided he wanted to end our relationship, my right to stay ended and I had to start my life over completely back in the US. Now that I'm here, I have a good job, a permanent contract, and I've invested nearly 3 years and am taking language courses, so perhaps I feel more urgency to protect myself and have a right to make my life here with or without a guy. And what I am finding slightly depressing the more time I spend here in Europe, is that it seems like no matter how long I live here and learn the language (s) and invest here, I see no option for me to have the luxury of thinking outside the box for my future, as in, looking for a job in another country, moving just because I want a change of scenery, and just having that kind of freedom, unless I give up my American citizenship. At this moment, I don't see myself living in the US again, but my parents are getting older, life takes different paths, and I'm just not prepared to give up my right to go "home" if I want to, even if it's to retire. Sigh :( Maybe I want too much.
Oh you don't want it too much. That’s nonsense! You have probably been hanging around the wrong people. You can have anything you want. Don’t let these people put the ‘bad mouth' on your plans.
I am American and I came here on a Work permit (now called a KM) permit in 2000. I have the Dutch Permanent Residence Permit which means I can live and work here indefinitely and if you fill out both parts of the document (Aanvraag of wijziging verblijfsvergunning regulier onbepaalde tijd).. you can get the EU permanent residence permit as well. This is the 'EG-langdurig ingezetene'.
So you get both permits in the one card. This means you can live and work in an EU country ... though not all EU countries are participating - yet.
I don't know why these people would (seemingly purposely) confuse you with all that other crap** when this card is what you need as an 'independant' person here.
There is no 1 year wait.
I have two friends that are American. One lived in Austria for many years and gained the exact same EU permanent residence permit there. When she moved here - she went to the IND in Amsterdam and after the paperwork - she was able to exchange that Austrian/EU Perm. Residence Permit .. to a Dutch/EU residence permit. The NEXT week she got a job and has been here ever since. Now how could that have happened it she had to wait a year
Another friend with the Dutch/EU Perm Res. permit moved to France and went to the Marie (like the Gemeente) and was able to exchange her Dutch Per. Permit for a French EU perm permit. She is living there now – so at least this card works for France. It took her quite a few months to find a job - but that was not because of her permit - that was simply because .. it was hard for her to find work. But she was not forced to wait a year.
So, no this card is not useless - it's just that EVERY EU country has not gotten on board with this – maybe some never will, but it takes time and there are like 25 EU countries right?
Again, I think it's a pity these people would so mislead you.
I remember when I first moved here in 2000 and I heard about the Dutch/EU Perm. Res. Permit - and people on this very forum laughed at me and said it would never happen. But it did happen and everyone shut their mouths suddenly. Now they are trying to make it sound like the card is worthless when I actually know people that have been allowed mobility.DUH!!
I watched for it - so when I saw it coming, I jumped on it. As mentioned - it takes 5 years before you can gain this permit and coincidentally after I had been here a bit over 5 years they finally enacted this EU Perm permit.
So just take note - things do happen - but like every IND in the world (like in the US with the INS) it often takes a lonnng time.
I am an Independent woman as well and though men have their uses (hee! Hee!) I would never relinquish my power for a relationship. I know so many women that are here with a guy and when things began to go sideways .. though they loved it here ... they had to up sticks and leave often with not a pot to p*** in because the relationship ended so badly. (Don’t get me started!).
IMO it is always better to make your own way and no matter what relationship you are in – you have to look out for yourself. And NO you don’t have to give up your US citizenship. I haven’t and I never will.
My advice to you?
- Complete your Dutch language studies!!!!! This will give you a GREAT DEAL of flexibility for work if needed, shopping, attending plays etc and certainly you will have SUCH fun when you hit the streets and go out pub hopping and dancing, (At least that is what I use my Dutch for! Hee hee!)
- In 5 years – formally apply for your Dutch and EU Permanent Residence Permit! You need to get that card in your hands and not just wait around under the assumption that you will get it automatically if you are still with your man. That would be foolish IMO!
In all the years I have been here – I have watched the REGELS toward immigration get tighter and tighter - there's no telling when the Dutch will suddenly drop that option. For example - when I got the Dutch/EU Perm permit - there was no Dutch language requirement - but now there is. So I am sure there are people still stuck having to keep a KM permit because their Dutch is not strong enough to pass the test So they are still operating on a Temporary Residence permit (KM) as adverse to a Perm residence permit. This is critical because you if ever need social services like the uitkerring etc ... they are not gonna gve it to someone that is required to stay employed (KM) in order to stay here. They are only here temporarily. Nope, they will be asked to return to their home country!
So get your independent Dutch/EU Perm. Res permits papers in order ASAP. If you fall in love and get married - FINE - if it goes wrong and you get involved with someone else FINE - but this will have nothing to do with your ability to stay here. That's the difference.
- See http://www.ind.nl/Brochures_en_Formulieren/index.aspx and come down to the bottom to see Aanvraag of wijziging verblijfsvergunning regulier onbepaalde tijd. This is the form you need to use to apply for both the Dutch and the EU Permanent Residence Permit.
- So then you can at least stay HERE forever and keep your US passport
- Meanwhile if you feel you might want to move to another EU country in the future (and there are a lot of them!) start doing you research now because they will come on board, eventually – though some may not. Just keep current on the issue so that if country A and count Y will accept your EU Perm Residence Permit and let you move there .. and all the rest won’t .. okay. At least you have those 2 countries to choose from out of the 25 or so EU countries.
Do not let people discourage you though. If you want to stay here in the EU – you can. You can PM me if you like.
If you have been here 3 years with your partners sponsorship - yes, you can gain an independent residence permit.
It's called De zelfstandige verblijfsvergunning voor voortgezet verblijf. Look for the form in www.ind.nl.
Thanks for all the feedback... I read this awhile ago and have since further considered my situation. I've now been here in the Netherlands for 3 years and 3 months, as a registered partner with my UK bf, but it seems like we are heading towards deciding to split up anyway. I'm wondering from re-reading the above posts, if it's possible for me to request an independent visa on the basis that I have been here for over 3 years and the relationship with formally dissolve. I have a permanent contract with my job, and I make a good salary. The one issue I have is that I've only passed Dutch level 1 and I really need to learn more Dutch before I can pass any sort of exams. What do you think? Is there a good likelihood that I would be approved for such a request or quite the opposite? :S
Whew... I've been on vacation for the last week, I've got a lot of correcting to do ;-)
STOP, lawren, before you apply for 'voortgezet verblijf' status. You don't have to. Not all partnerships are created equal. (This is where it is important to notice all of the details in a posting.) If you were in a partnership with a Dutch person, then yes, you would have to pass a Dutch exam and pay 950 euros to apply for 'voortgezet verblijf' status. However, if you were married to or had a registered partnership with an EU citizen who is not Dutch (NOTE! this does not count if you merely had a cohabiting relationship with the EU citizen-- a registered partnership means you actually had a ceremony at city hall, kind of like getting married), you have an automatic right to continued residence if the marriage or registered partnership ends, provided that the marriage/RP lasted 3 years, of which 1 year was spent in the Netherlands. You do not have to apply for anything special-- you can let the IND know that you have gotten divorced/dissolved the RP, but they will just send you a letter saying that it's OK for you to ride out your existing 'family member of an EU citizen' residence document for the remainder of the 5 years. (And after that, you can apply for a 'duurzaam verblijf' document, which is the permanent residence status that EU citizens and their [ex]-family members get automatically after 5 years, no exam required-- yes, I know, jealous yet, partners of Dutch citizens?)
Jeremy Bierbach, LLM
Thanks Avocado, I don't think my partner and I had a ceremony. We went to Den Haag and he simply registered me as his partner, and I received the samenwoning visa. So I can't apply for this 'voortgezet verblijf' status... what do you suggest then? I've been here for about 3.5 years, I have a permanent work contract and make a decent salary. I'd like to avoid asking for a work visa because I'm not sure if I lose all the time invested towards gaining the independent right to live here and I don't want to be tied to 1 job.... What can/should I do?? :S
That's a pity-- yes, there is a lot of confusion about the difference between a registered partnership and cohabitation, especially because people who don't come from countries where such a thing as address registration exists think that they 'registered their partnership' when really all they were just doing was individually registering at city hall as living at their partner's address (legally, it's no different than being someone's roommate, plus you signed a statement that you were not just living together, but living together in a relationship).
It's really frustrating for cohabiting partners of EU citizens that they are currently being given no option by the IND to get continued residence after 3 years, while cohabiting partners of Dutch citizens, and registered partners and spouses of EU citizens, do get that option. Personally, I see it as a violation of the non-discrimination principle of EU law, and I have two court cases pending about that very issue, but until the courts confirm that they see things my way, there are no options for independent stay.
One option that US citizens have, and I have helped several people through this, is to apply for independent stay as a self-employed person under the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty. Because Dutch immigration law provides that if you have ever had the 'freedom on the labor market' notation on your residence permit (Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist.) you retain that notation on any subsequent residence permit. So that means that although your permit is granted for the purpose of self-employment (and you do have to engage in some activity as far as that goes), you are free to work in any job you want, including as an employee, 'on the side'.
Unfortunately this does not work as well if you switch to an employment-related residence permit, like say a kennismigrant permit. Because tantalizingly, you will get that kennismigrant permit AND it will say you are additionally free on the labor market, but in order to keep that permit valid you DO have to stay in a kennismigrant job. In other words, you're free while you have that job, but you are not free to completely switch to a residence permit that just allows you to do whatever you want without holding down that job.