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A Guide to Permanent Residence in the Netherlands

Categories: Culture

You’ve shared nearly 5 years of your life with the enchanting Netherlands. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of experiences. Yet, you’ve grown deeply fond of this land of tulips. Its unique charm has captured your heart. Now, you want to make this place your own for many more years, perhaps even a lifetime. You’re ready to take a significant step to propose… for a permanent residence permit.

Is it as simple as picking out an engagement ring? We’ve crafted a guide that breaks down the process of obtaining permanent residence in the Netherlands. It’s time to turn your love for this country into a lifelong bond.

A permanent residence application form

Understanding Dutch Permanent Residence

With a temporary residence permit, you can only stay in the Netherlands for 5 years. But picture a life here where you’re not bound by time limits on your stay, where you can truly put down roots, and where you have nearly all the privileges of Dutch citizens. That’s precisely what permanent residence (or “verblijfsvergunning voor onbepaalde tijd” in Dutch) offers.

“Nearly the same privileges?” you may ask. As a non-Dutch citizen, you won’t have the right to vote in national elections or hold positions in specific domains, like law enforcement or the military.

Dutch permanent residence comes in three types:

  • EU long-term residence: It’s a legal status that grants non-EU citizens the right to live and work in a European Union member state indefinitely. It provides a pathway to permanent residency and certain social benefits within the EU.
  • Permanent residence on the basis of national grounds: It’s a legal status granted by a specific country to non-citizens who have met that country’s criteria for permanent residency. This status is based on the national laws and regulations of that particular country and is not governed by European Union (EU) rules.
  • Permanent residence for EU citizens and their family members.
  • It refers to the legal status granted to EU citizens and family members who have lived in another EU member state for an extended period of time. It signifies a long-term commitment to living in a host EU country.

    When you apply for a permanent residence permit, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will automatically assess whether you qualify for EU long-term residence. If not, they’ll check your eligibility for permanent residence on national grounds.

    Having an EU long-term residence permit will make moving and settling in other EU countries smoother. EU regulations often grant certain privileges and streamline processes for individuals with permanent residency in one EU country who plan to live or work in another.

    a row of modern dutch houses

    Requirements: What Does it Take?

    Becoming a permanent resident in the Netherlands isn’t handed out like candy. In 2022, 15.530 people applied for Dutch permanent residence, but only 79% of them were accepted. But don’t stress too much about it. Think of it as building a strong relationship; you need to demonstrate your value before each side agrees to a long-term commitment. If you meet all the requirements, there’s no need to fret.

    Home Sweet Holland

    You must have made the Netherlands your official home for an uninterrupted period of at least five years. This duration is shorter for certain EU/EFTA citizens, and there are exceptions. During this time, you should have held a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose, such as work, study, or family reunification.


    Culture and language play a vital role in this journey. Prove your dedication to Dutch society by learning the language and actively participating in your community. Passing the Dutch civic integration exam is a must, although exemptions may apply based on your circumstances. Many internationals opt for a Dutch course to help them get ready for this exam.

    As of 2023, the language requirement remains at level A2, although the Dutch government plans to increase it to level B1 in the future.

    Financially Fit

    Show that you possess an independent and sustainable income sufficient to support yourself. In 2023, this translates to a monthly gross salary of €1,508.22, inclusive of holiday allowance. Paid employees must continue receiving it for the next twelve months. Even if your temporary employment contract lasts less than twelve months, your income can still be deemed sustainable if it meets the required amount and you’ve maintained an average monthly income at or above this threshold for the past three years.

    For freelancers and business owners, you should also have an average monthly profit of at least €1,508.22. To meet the sustainability criteria, you must have maintained this income level for 18 months prior to your application.

    Staying Out of Trouble

    To qualify for permanent residence, it’s crucial to maintain a squeaky-clean criminal record. In other words, you should have no past run-ins with the law and should not pose any threat to public order or national security.

    Ensure you also meet the conditions specified in your current residence permit. Never let your permit expire or extend it late.

    Officially on the Books

    You should be registered in the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen – BRP) in your local municipality. Simply put, you have a BSN number. This registration ensures you’re a recognized part of the community.

    And, of course, health insurance. Proper health coverage is a must. Ensuring you’re registered and insured is a legal requirement and a sign that you’re integrated into Dutch society.

    an applicant filling out an application form

    Making it Happen: How to Apply?

    Now that you’ve got the essentials, it’s time to take action and turn your Dutch adventure permanent. Here’s how to apply for permanent residence in the Netherlands:

    Online or By Post?

    You have two application options: online or by post. If you’ve got a DigiD account, the online route is your best bet. Otherwise, you can submit a written application form by post. Please note that the written form is available only in Dutch.

    Gather Your Documents

    Before diving in, ensure you have all the necessary documents ready. Document requirements can vary based on your nationality. For non-EU/EEA citizens, you’ll typically need to submit copies of your valid passport, current residence permit, proof of income, a civic integration diploma, and evidence of a clean criminal record.

    Remember, any foreign documents should be legalized and translated into Dutch, English, French, or German

    Application Fee

    There’s an application fee of €210 for adults and €70 for children under 18. Certain situations may mean different fees. You can pay this fee immediately with iDEAL if you apply through the website. You’ll receive a letter directing you to the payment if you submit a written application.

    It’s important to note that the application fee is non-refundable, even if the IND rejects your application.

    The Waiting Game

    With your application sent, all that’s left is to wait. The IND aims to make a decision within a 6-month period. During this time, keep an eye on your mailbox for the decision letter. If it’s a positive response, make an appointment to collect your Dutch permanent residence permit at an IND desk.

    a female tourist holding tulips in amsterdam

    The Perks: Embracing Your New Home

    Congratulations, you’ve successfully secured your permanent residence! This exciting milestone means that the Netherlands is now your forever home. You’re no longer tethered to your employment or family situation. Knowing that unexpected changes won’t force you to pack your bags and leave gives you peace of mind.

    You can now stay in the Netherlands as long as your heart desires. The only scenarios that may lead to the cancellation of your permanent residence are residing outside the Netherlands for a prolonged duration or committing a crime.

    You also no longer need a work permit to thrive in the Netherlands. Your residence permit will clearly state, “Arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist” (Free to work. Work permit not required), opening doors to more opportunities.

    To note, you still need to renew your permit every 5 years. Legally living in the Netherlands with a permanent residence permit is the only requirement. All you need to do for permit renewal is fill out the application form and pay the cost of €70.

    Dutch park with many different flowers

    Happily Ever After

    With a clear roadmap of steps and requirements in hand, obtaining permanent residence in the Netherlands does not need to be a source of worry. While some paperwork is involved, consider it as the start of an exciting new chapter with this charming land. It means a lifetime filled with tulips, windmills, delectable stroopwafels, and enriching experiences. Savor the benefits, relish work permit freedom and enjoy the privilege of indefinite stay!