Non-EU partner

Can EU citizens bring their unmarried, non-EU partners to the Netherlands?

EU/EEA citizens and Swiss citizens are allowed to bring their non-EU partner to the Netherlands. Based on EU law, EU citizens and their non-EU spouses have the same right to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU. Most EU citizens don’t know, however, that this right also applies to unmarried couples.In the Netherlands, marriage or registered partnership is not a requirement for couples applying for an EU residence permit.

Registration as an EU citizen

It is commonly known that EU citizens can live and work freely in other member states; they don’t need a residence card or work permit. Moreover, since 2014 they don’t even have to notify the Dutch Immigration Services (IND) when they move to the Netherlands and start working for a Dutch employer.However, the IND does have to be notified when EU citizens want to bring their (non-EU) partner with them.

Sufficient financial means

An important requirement for EU citizens to be allowed to bring their non-EU partner is that they must work, or otherwise have sufficient financial means to support their family. The income requirement for EU citizens is much less stringent than the one for Dutch citizens who want to bring their non-EU partner to the Netherlands:

  • For Dutch citizens, an independent and long-term income of at least 1.565,40 euros gross per month, excluding holiday allowance, is required.
  • For EU citizens, no minimum income is required and even a small amount of savings can be sufficient.

Long-term and exclusive relationship

The most important thing for EU citizens who want to bring their unmarried, non-EU partners with them, is to show that they have been in an exclusive relationship for a considerable period of time. The IND assumes that such a relationship is present in case of a marriage, registered partnership, and when unmarried partners have shared a household for at least six months.However, unmarried couples who haven’t lived together before or couples in a long-distance relationship can apply as well. They must prove that they are in a lasting and exclusive relationship and (are going to) live together in the Netherlands. Such proof may include photos, emails, tickets for joint holidays and/or family visits.

Right to work

EU citizens and their non-EU partners must personally apply for a residence permit with the IND. When the IND is convinced of the relationship, the non-EU partner will immediately receive a sticker in their passport, allowing him or her to reside in the Netherlands during the application process.In most cases, married partners and unmarried partners who have proven that they have lived together for at least six months can work immediately. Generally, unmarried partners who have not previously lived together have to wait until the end of a six-months decision period before they are free to work in the Netherlands.

This article was first published on 4 October 2017 on IamExpat.

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