Family Reunification in the Netherlands

Updated on Wednesday 05th August 2020

Family Reunification in the Netherlands Image
Individuals who have partners living in the Netherlands can submit a family reunification request. This procedure can be completed if the Dutch resident with whom you wish to live in the Netherlands is an EU national or a non-EU national. The application process will depend on the nationality of the applicant and that of the family member already living in the Netherlands.

Family reunification in the Netherlands is possible if the partner, spouse, and/or children comply with several eligibility criteria. One of our experts who offers Netherlands immigration services can give you personalized information based on a specific case and the existing family members. In case you need assistance in other immigration matters, such as citizenship by investment in Netherlands or expat services, our lawyers are at your disposal.
 

Eligibility criteria for family reunification in the Netherlands


A Dutch resident can apply for a residence permit for his or her family member but only under certain conditions:
- the applicant must have a Dutch residence permit or be a national;
- acknowledge the fact that he or she will have to provide accommodation for the family member who will come and live in the Netherlands;
- be able to financially support the family member coming to the Netherlands. 

Young individuals who are working in the Netherlands in an exchange youth program or those who are temporarily working as an au pair may not apply for a residence permit for their relatives.
 
The family member or relative who will come and live in the Netherlands following this process must also fulfill a number of conditions. These are the following: 
 
  • Documentation: the family member (spouse, parent, etc.) needs to have a valid passport when submitting the application;
  • Clean record: he or she was not found guilty of a criminal offence, was not involved in war crimes, terrorism, crimes against humanity; is not a risk to public order or national safety;
  • Tuberculosis test: the family member is required to undergo a tuberculosis test in the Netherlands within three months after the residence permit is issued; this test is not mandatory for all who apply for family reunification in Netherlands; our lawyers can provide you with a list of countries for which it applies;
  • Insurance: the one who will be joining needs to be insured in the Netherlands for healthcare costs;
  • Integration: the individual is expected to undergo the civic integration process;
  • Registration: he or she must also be registered with the Municipal Personal Records Database at the same address as the relative already established in the country.
 
The Netherlands law allows for marriage with only one person. This means that a male/female spouse or partner (registered or unmarried) can join an individual living in the country. Only one partner and his/her children can join the applicant for family reunification in Netherlands. When the marriage took place before one of the individuals received lawful Dutch residence then he/she and the partner must be at least 18 years of age.
 
It is important to note that the family member is required to prepare for this application while he or she is still abroad. We advise individuals who wish to apply for this to discuss the various requirements with our agents, before commencing the process.

Individuals who wish to move to Netherlands can find out more about the requirements and criteria for immigration if they talk to our immigration lawyer in Netherlands who specialize in immigration, naturalization, and civil law issues.
 

Documents required for family reunification in the Netherlands


As previously mentioned, the individual for whom a family reunification application is submitted must comply with the following requirements:
- have a valid passport;
- have a clean criminal record;
- be registered with the Municipal Records Database in the Netherlands;
- have healthcare insurance in the Netherlands;
 
In addition to these documents that are presented by the one who wishes to join a partner or relative in the Netherlands, the one who is already in the country will also need to submit a number of documents as evidence. These are briefly outlined below by our immigration lawyer in the Netherlands:
 
  • proof of income;
  • the marriage certificate or an unmarried status statement;
  • documents that prove parental custody, when applicable;
  • proof of passing the civic integration exam;
  • the birth certificate, legalized and translated;
  • the copy of the family member’s passport.
 
All of these documents need to be prepared before one applies for the permit for family reunification in Netherlands. Applicants who have a special family situation may be subject to apply for this permit under special facts and circumstances. These will only be taken into account when the application is evaluated if the individual is able to provide substantial evidence to sustain the claim for special procedures.
 
In some cases, applicants will also need to legalize a document at the Dutch Embassy or Consulate of their country of origin. This will involve additional costs, as established by the Embassy. In some cases, am apostille is enough. Our Dutch immigration lawyer can provide you with additional information on the officially recognized documents. These additional official means of evidence (legalization, apostille) may be required in case of birth certificates of marriage certificates as well as for other types of documents. It is important to keep in mind that while a document is legal in one country it may not be so in another, this is why official foreign documents are subject to legalization in the Netherlands. 

These are just some of the conditions that apply to those individuals who wish to reunite with a family member who already lives and works in the Netherlands. Our immigration lawyer in the Netherlands can help answer any additional questions about these requirements.
 

What rights does the family reunification holder have?

 
Once a family member has obtained the residence permit, he will be permitted to work. This depends on whether or not the individual who has applied for the permit is a Dutch or is allowed to work with a work permit. If the one who was joined by a relative has a work permit, then the family member or relative is also allowed to do so. In other cases, the employer will be the one who will apply for the work permit for the family member who arrived in the country.
 
It is important to note that the residence permit issued for the family member will contain the name of the one who was already living in the country (because the family member is living with that person). Another important fact is that if the family member applies for benefits in the country after family reunification in Netherlands, the residence permit issued under family reunification terms may be withdrawn.
 
According to Statistics Netherlands, the number of asylum seekers was lower in the first part of 2020 compared to other years. The data shows the following:
 
  • there were 125 applications for following a family member in the Netherlands in March 2020 compared to 230 submitted in the same month in 2019;
  • the number of applications was higher in February and January 2020, at 470 and 460;
  • a significant number of applications by individuals following family members was recorded in May 2018 when there were 815 submissions.


You can contact our Netherlands immigration experts to find out more about the conditions for family reunification in the Netherlands