Long-term residence in the Netherlands for Croatian nationals
Croatian citizens who want to live in the Netherlands long-term must apply for verification against EU law and request a certificate of lawful residence.
As Croatia is a newer EU member, some restrictions apply for living and working in the Netherlands.
If you’re a Croatian citizen, you can apply for verification against EU law and obtain a certificate of lawful residence (proof of legal residence) if you want to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months. Before you apply you must register with the personal records database (BRP) in your local municipality and get a citizen service number (burgerservicenummer or BSN), which is needed to register with the tax authorities and you may also be asked for it by your GP, in hospitals and pharmacies. You can find out more information here.
There are also work restrictions for Croatian citizens: you may only work in the Netherlands if your employer has a work permit for you for the first 12 months. After 12 months’ continuous, legal employment, you can work freely in the Netherlands without a permit. These restrictions will be reviewed in 2018 and may remain in place until June 30, 2020.
Conditions for obtaining a certificate of lawful residence
You can apply for verification against EU law if you:
- work as an employee;
- are self employed;
- work as a service provider/recipient (eg. lawyer);
- are a student;
- are not earning an income (but have sufficient financial support).
To request a certificate of lawful residence, you must:
- be a Croatian citizen;
- hold a valid passport/travel ID;
- be registered in the Dutch Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP);
- have health insurance;
- have sufficient funds for your stay, for example, a single person must have EUR 1,135.40 per month – however, this will be reviewed mid-year, so check the latest figures here;
- have a work permit (if applicable) organised by your employer for the first 12 months of your stay.
How to apply for verification against EU law
You have to apply in person at your local IND office. Make an appointment by calling the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad. The IND will tell you which documents you need to bring along and where to go.
You will need to take your passport/travel ID, proof that you fulfil the conditions, and other documents related to what you intend to do in the Netherlands, for example:
- a signed declaration from your employer;
- a work permit (or the application for one);
- information relating to self employment, such as a business plan or bank statements;
- proof that you've enrolled on a course as a student;
- proof of means of support and a health insurance policy.
Any copies need to be legalised or authenticated, and in Dutch, English, French or German. For information about legalising documents and translation, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
You have to complete the form called ‘Application for Verification against EU Law (certificate of lawful residence)'. You can download the form here.
It currently costs EUR 53 to apply, and if your application is refused, you won't get a refund. For more information on the latest fees, see here.
The IND can take up to six months to make their decision.
Once you have the EU certificate of lawful residence
There are still some restrictions on Croatian nationals working in the Netherlands. For the first 12 months of your stay, you may only work if your employer has a work permit for you. After working 12 months of continuously working with a work permit, you can work freely in any sector without a work permit.
How long does the certificate last?
The certificate is valid for five years. Shortly before it expires the IND will inform you that you can apply for an extension. Find out how you can extend your residence permit.
After five continuous years of residence, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence for EU citizens. You can find more information in our guide to Dutch permanent residence in the Netherlands.
For more information
The Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND)
See the IND website for more information and to find your nearest IND desk.
For general and specific queries, you can contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad.
7600 AG ALMELO
The IND's twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.
The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.
Need advice? Post your question on Expatica's Ask the Expert service to see if we can help.
Updated: 2013; 2015.
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