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Cloggie Queries: Mixed Messages About Immigration

By Clogsandtulips @clogsandtulips
Cloggie Queries: Mixed Messages About Immigration Cloggie Queries: Mixed Messages About Immigration Welcome to Cloggie Queries! In this new feature, I will be taking questions on expatriatism, the Netherlands, and expatriating to the Netherlands. Got a question? Email it to me at [email protected] and I will answer it here on the blog.
Cloggie Queries: Mixed Messages About ImmigrationDear Cloggie Queries,
For several weeks we have been doing some research on what we have to do to move to the Netherlands.
I am a Dutch citizen and my wife is an American citizen. Right now (end of August 2011) we are in the final stages of receiving my green card. (finally!) We got married in Florida, US.
We are seriously considering moving to the Netherlands for at least two years after receiving the green card and the re-entry permit (about the end of June 2012) which makes sure my green card will remain valid.
We want to move to the Netherlands because my wife wants to learn my culture, family and language even better. It is also the perfect time for us to make this step since we don't have anything major keeping us here in the US at the moment.
As I was saying we did a lot of research on what visas and documents to get in order to make this step. Unfortunately, I find researching moving to the Netherlands more confusing than the research I had to do for the green card. This is why I'm sending you this email. From what I understand (from internet research) this is what we have to do:
  • Legalize/apostille our marriage certificate with the Dutch consulate in the US. (This issue is confusing me the most)
  • Go to the Netherlands (when everything is in order, like reentry permit)
  • Within three days of arriving in the Netherlands apply for the VTV (vergunning tijdelijk verblijf) at the local alien police
Are these the correct steps for us to take or am I missing something?
Also, I know that I, as the partner of a foreign citizen, have to make a certain income for my wife to be allowed to stay. Do you know whether I must have a job and income well before her application or can I start a new job there the moment she comes with me?
Anyway, I hope you can provide me with more information. So far I've already learned a lot from your blogs. And they were a fun read!
Thank you very much in advance,
Dear Mark,
You are most certainly not the first to be confused by the immigration procedure in the Netherlands, nor will you be the last. I have no idea why they haven't taken the steps to make it clearer as it would save time for everyone involved.
As a Dutch citizen re-entering the Netherlands, I'm not sure what you need. As for your wife, she'll need an apostille stamp for her birth certificate and you will need one for your marriage certificate as well. Here's what you need to do to get those:
Marriage Certif: You need a Certified Copy of your marriage certificate from the city you were married in. This will cost about $5. Send the Certified Copy along with the fee (in Maryland, where we were married, this was $5.50) and a self-addressed-stamped-envelop to the secretary of the state you were married in. He or she will approve your marriage and send the certified copy back with the stamp attached.
Birth Certif: Same deal... She'll need to get a Certified Copy of her birth certificate from the city she was born in and then send that along with the fee and SASE to the secretary of the state she was born in.
All you need is the stamp, but both of those certificates must have that stamp. The immigration department and the municipality (gemeente) where you register will want to see this. I was already in the Netherlands when we figured all this out, so it can be done from here, but my advice is to have it done before you leave the US.
In our situation, my husband was still living and working here in the Netherlands and as part of my application, he had to prove that he had a high enough income to support the both of us. I'm not sure how this would work in your situation. What I would do is call, stop by or email someone at the IND (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst) and ask. (I think that's what they're refering to when they say "foreign police." We had absolutely nothing to do with the foreign police here and, from what I gather, that's a good thing!) You may even be able to find information on the website itself.
Once you're here, you'll need to go to the local IND office to pick up an application for the verblijfvergunning. There's an application fee of roughly €1,000 (for us it was just on the cusp of €900 and that was almost 3 years ago). The application is pretty straight-forward and took us all of 30 minutes to fill out. Make sure you have passport-sized photos as they'll ask for one with the application to go on the verblijfvergunning card.
It takes about 3 months for them to process the application and have your card ready. There's an additional fee of around €200 I believe, for the card itself.
I know for me the verblijfvergunning also doubled as a work permit because I was married to a Dutch citizen, so I didn't have to apply for a separate work permit. You may want to double check this though as your situation is somewhat different and things can change over time.
That first verblijfvergunning is good for one year and will have to be renewed (and repaid for -- but not as expensive) after that. Any time you renew the card after that first year, it's good for five years.
Anyway, I hope that helps. Do be sure to check with the IND to make sure that things haven't changed and that you know exactly what to do for your specific situation.
Thanks for your question and for reading the blog! Best of luck to you and don't hesitate to stop by the blog, Facebook Page, or shoot me an email should you have further questions.
Cloggie Queries
What was the immigration process like for you? Do you have any advice for Mark?
Photo: Alex Goldmark, Flickr

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