Dutch Family Visa, Explained

If you want to bring your family to the Netherlands with you, you’ll need to apply for a Dutch family visa. The process can be long and confusing, but this article will explain everything you need to know about Dutch family visas. We’ll cover how to get a Dutch family visa, what documents are required and how long it takes to get approved or denied, and also address common myths about Dutch family visas.

Dutch Family Visa, Explained

How do you immigrate to the Netherlands as part of a family? The Dutch immigration law provides an option to apply for a family visa, which allows you to immigrate together with your family to the Netherlands and settle there permanently. The options here are twofold: either you are married to someone who has Dutch citizenship or if you have children with your partner or spouse who has or will receive Dutch citizenship at some point in the future.

This post provides information for non-EU citizens who wish to apply for a Dutch family visa. A Dutch family visa is a temporary residence permit issued to non-EU citizens who are married to or cohabiting with an EU citizen. This visa allows non-EU family members to reside in The Netherlands with their EU spouse or partner (and any children). For example, if you are married to a Dutch national, you could apply for a Dutch family visa and subsequently reside in The Netherlands with your husband/ wife and children.

If you’re the spouse or child of a Dutch citizen, you’re eligible to apply for a family visa in the Netherlands. With this visa, you can legally live and work in the country under certain conditions – such as proving that you have access to enough money to support yourself while not working, living in the same house as your sponsor, and passing Dutch language proficiency tests – with an eye toward applying for permanent residency later on (in three years) if all goes well. Read on for more information on how to get your Dutch family visa!

What is a Dutch Family Visa?

A Dutch family visa is a way to reunite with loved ones in the Netherlands. You might need a Netherlands family visa to move to the country and join certain relatives already living there. Moreover, which family members you can join and the process of how you can join them depends largely on their nationality.

However, it is possible to join your family member in the Netherlands when you are married or are in a registered partnership when you wish to stay with your unmarried partner or as a minor child stays with your parent(s).

In some cases, you will need a residence permit to live with your partner in the Netherlands. You will need a provisional residence permit (MVV) and/or a residence permit. The provisional residence permit (MVV) is a special visa for stays of more than three months in the Netherlands. Different conditions apply to persons with the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and their family members.

Just like other European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) countries, the Netherlands operates a two-tier immigration system. Those from other EU/EFTA member states can travel freely to the Netherlands and face fewer restrictions when it comes to family members joining them. Those from outside the EU/EFTA will normally need a visa or residence permit.

Furthermore, your spouse, (registered) partner, or parent is your sponsor. A sponsor has to meet certain obligations for which he/she signs a sponsor’s declaration.

Who is Eligible for a Dutch Family Visa?

To begin with, a Dutch family visa refers to a Netherlands residence permit with the purpose of family reunification. Just like mentioned earlier, different conditions apply to persons with the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and their family members.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens

All EU/EEA citizens can move to the Netherlands without a visa or residence permit. If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland and want to travel to the Netherlands to join a member of your family, you do not need a Dutch residence permit/Netherlands family visa. If you want to stay with your family member for longer than 90 days, however, you will have to register with the Dutch authorities. This applies to the following relatives:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Children/grandchildren under 21
  • Dependent children/grandchildren over 21
  • Any other financially dependent relatives

The exception to this is if your relative is a Dutch national. In this case, you will usually need either a combined entry visa/permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf – MVV) or a residence permit.

Non-EU/EEA citizens

If you are not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland but want to join a family member in the Netherlands who is from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will have to apply for Verification against EU law and secure a certificate of lawful residence (proof of legal residence). And finally, you will need to apply for a Netherlands family visa (Dutch residence permit) if neither you nor your family member is from the EU/EEA or Switzerland. You will also need a Netherlands family visa if your family member is a Dutch national (even though the Netherlands is part of the EU, Verification against EU law does not apply.)

Requirements for a Netherlands Family Visa

When you apply for any type of Netherlands residence permit, there is a standard set of Netherlands visa requirements that you have to fill. Then, depending on the type of visa, there are additional conditions and requirements.

You will be asked to hand in several documents to support your application. They are usually stated on the application form or the Dutch/embassy consulate in your country will inform you further

Partner visa to join non-EU/EFTA or Dutch nationals in the Netherlands

You can apply for a partner visa in the Netherlands if you are the spouse, registered partner, or are in an exclusive long-term relationship. In addition to this, you or your partner must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You and your partner must be 21 years or over (there is an exception for Turkish nationals).
  • The two of you must live together in the same household in the Netherlands.
  • Your partner must be a Dutch national or a non-EU/EFTA national with a long-stay residence permit for the Netherlands.
  • Your partner has a sustainable income to support the household.
  • If you need an MVV to enter the Netherlands, you must pass the Civic Integration Exam Abroad.

How to Apply for a Dutch Family Visa

Just as we mentioned earlier, a Netherlands family visa is the same as a residence permit, so the same rules apply. To travel to the Netherlands, you or your child need a provisional residence permit (MVV). The MVV is a sticker that the Dutch representation places on the passport. In some cases, no MVV is needed. You apply for the MVV and the residence permit at the same time. This can be done in 2 ways:

your partner or you (being the parent) apply to the IND in the Netherlands. You or your child apply to the Dutch representation. The Dutch representation forwards the application to the IND. After the application is submitted, you will get a letter from the Dutch representative stating how the fees are to be paid. For the application form and information on how to apply and how to pay the fees, please contact the Dutch representative.

How Long is the Netherlands Family Visa valid?

The residence permit to stay with a family member is issued for a maximum period of five years, or less if the duration of the residence permit of the family member is less than five years.

Can I Work With a Dutch Family Visa?

On the residence document, you will find your employment status. This status tells you whether and under which conditions you are allowed to work. If and under which conditions you are allowed to work depends on the employment status of your parent(s), spouse, or (registered) partner.

Dutch Family Visa and Permanent Residence

If you have lawfully lived in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of five years and you have a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. Certain conditions will have to be met in order to be eligible for permanent residence.


If someone has a residence permit for a family member, it depends on the family member if your residence permit is issued for a temporary or non-temporary purpose.

If your family member has a residence permit for a temporary purpose, your residence permit will also be issued for a temporary purpose. If your family member is a Dutch, EU/EEA- or Swiss national, or is in possession of a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose, your residence permit will also be issued for a non-temporary purpose.

Final Thoughts

Like many countries in Europe, the Netherlands offers visas for those who would like to be with their family members. A Dutch family visa allows a foreign partner and/or their children to move to The Netherlands if they are married or have registered civil partnerships. Once there are living here they can apply for a residence permit that is valid for 2 years. After 2 years they can apply for an indefinite residence permit as long as there is no evidence of serious domestic violence between both partners. However, proceed with the link below to visit the official website of the Dutch Immigration authorities for more information.