Home Moving to the Netherlands Visas & Immigration Permanent residence in the Netherlands
Last update on June 24, 2020
Written by Immigration consultant Andrea de Bie, Fragomen Worldwide

After living in the Netherlands for five years, foreign nationals and their family members can apply for a Dutch permanent residence permit.

Once you live in the Netherlands for five continuous years, depending on your nationality and circumstances, you may be eligible for permanent residence.

Citizens from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland are eligible for European permanent residence, as well as their family members regardless of nationality.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are also eligible for permanent residency. However, they are assessed for either long-term resident-EC status or regular Dutch permanent residency, depending on which conditions they fulfill.

Certain foreign residents in the Netherlands are also eligible for Dutch citizenship after five or 10 years. This could also be as low as three years in certain cases, such as marriage to a Dutch citizen. Read more about getting Dutch citizenship.

This guide answers some important questions on getting permanent residency:

What are the benefits of Dutch permanent residence?

Dutch permanent residence status allows you to stay in the Netherland indefinitely. Your residence permit document is valid for five years, and can be renewed.

With a Dutch permanent residence permit, you are free to work in the Dutch labor market.

Your application will be processed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND).

Permanent residence for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and family members

If you’rere an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen and have lived continuously in the Netherlands for at least five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit for citizens of the European Union and their family members’

This also applies to family members who are non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. This includes people such as spouses, dependent children, or relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. This applies regardless of their own nationality.

The five-year term can be shorter if you’ve worked in the Netherlands but have retired, become unfit for work, or are a cross-border worker. There are different conditions in each of these cases (see the IND website for more information).

How to apply for permanent residence as an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen

You must complete an application form and submit it to the IND with a passport/ID card and accompanying documentary evidence. You can download the form here (in Dutch).

Documents

You’ll need to show evidence of your personal circumstances. For example:

  • evidence that you’ve lived in the Netherlands for the entire five-year period (e.g., employment contract, health insurance policy);
  • if you’re a family member of an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, the residence document that granted you permission to stay in the Netherlands on the basis of that relationship;
  • in case you’re retired, you’ll need evidence that you were working for at least one year before your retirement;
  • if you’ve been declared unfit for work, evidence that you worked for two years in the Netherlands beforehand;
  • if you’re a cross-border worker, proof that you stayed and worked in the Netherlands for three years before getting a job in another EU state, that you still have your home in the Netherlands, and that you return at least once a week.

Fees

You must pay a fee for the IND to process your application. The fee is non-refundable, even if IND rejects your application. This is currently €50 (2016 fee), although prices are reviewed each year. For the latest fees, click here.

Processing times

The IND aims to decide on applications within eight weeks. For non-EU/EEA/Swiss family members, the processing time is a maximum of six months.

What happens next?

Dutch permanent residence

Once the IND has processed your application, you will be sent a letter with the decision. If you get permanent residence, you can collect the document about two weeks later at a regional IND desk.

Permanent residence for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit if they:

  • have lived continuously in the Netherlands for five years;
  • have a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay;
  • are sufficiently integrated into Dutch society.

The IND first checks if you meet the European requirements set out in Directive 2003/109/EC. If so, you’ll receive a permanent residence permit as an EC long-term resident (long-term resident-EC status). With this status, you typically can move to other EU member states. However, a permit for exchange purposes doesn‘t count towards your five-year period; any years of residence for study purposes only count for half of the period of your stay.

If you don’t meet the European requirements, the IND will assess your application based on national legislation. When you meet the conditions, you’ll receive a permanent residence permit in accordance with national law (a long-term Dutch residence permit).

If you fail to meet neither the European nor the Dutch requirements, the IND will assess whether you can extend your current temporary residence permit.

General requirements for non-EU/EEA/Swiss permanent residence

You must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You must have held a temporary residence permit for at least five consecutive years. If, during your stay, a temporary permit expired and you didn’t apply to extend it nor apply for another permit in time, you might end up with a residence gap, which can mean your stay, even if it has been more than five years overall, may not be classified as ‘continuous’. Read what happens when your residence permit expires.
  • You should currently hold a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose, for example, employment (with a minimum of a one-year contract), work as a highly-skilled migrant, or for family reunification (depending on the permit of the family member).
  • You have to prove you have sufficient long-term income. For example, a single person must have an income of €1,152.60 gross per month (including holiday pay), although figures are reviewed twice a year. For the latest figures, click here.
  • You must not be a risk to the public order or national security.
  • You have to prove that you are integrated into Dutch society, and can speak, read and write Dutch by taking a civic integration exam or having a comparable diploma. In some cases, you are exempt from this requirement.

How to apply for permanent residence as a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen

You must complete an application form (only available in Dutch) and submit it to the IND with a passport/ID card and accompanying documentary evidence.

Documents

You’ll need to submit certain documents to show evidence of your personal circumstances. These may include:

  • a copy of a valid passport or other official travel ID
  • proof of income (e.g., bank statements)
  • a civic integration diploma or comparable diploma (read more on the IND website)

Fees

You must pay a fee for the IND to process your application. This fee is non-refundable, even if IND rejects your application. This is currently €156 (2016), although prices are reviewed each year. For the latest fees, click here.

Processing times

The IND states a maximum period of six months to process your application.

What happens next?

Once the IND has processed your application, you will be sent a letter with the decision. If you get permanent residence, you can collect the document about two weeks later at a regional IND desk.

When your permanent residence expires

After five years, you need to renew your Dutch permanent residence permit if you want to stay in the Netherlands. Find out how to extend your permit.

More information

See the IND website for more information and to find your nearest IND desk; in general, you cannot visit an IND desk unless you have an appointment (with the exception of collecting your permit).

For queries or to make an appointment, 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.

Immigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst
Klantinformatiecentrum
Postbus 287
7600 AG ALMELO

The IND’s twitter account @IND_NL can also be contacted for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.