Dutch Immigration Part I
|Image courtesy Wikipedia|
When I embarked on the pursuit of a Dutch residence permit, I had no idea what to expect. I read a few accounts of other people's experiences to get the general gist of what the process entails, but I think each application is a personal experience depending on the timing, the current laws, where you are moving, what kind of work you will be doing, and the type of permit required. Nevertheless, my experience may be helpful, particularly to Americans wishing to immigrate under the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty.
The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty was enacted in the 1950s as a way to allow Americans to start businesses in the Netherlands. It has several basic requirements to qualify. First of all, applicants must be American citizens.
Secondly, they must start a business. Thirdly, they must possess €4500 capitol. Many of the requirements for other types of work permits are waived (ie you do not have to make a case showing how your business will benefit the Dutch economy or provide records of income) While these are the core requirements, there are several other steps required to get set-up in Dutch society which I will describe in this series of articles. Once approved, the permit is good for a year from the date of application (well...it turned out slightly differently with my permit, which I will explain later), with the possibility to renew annually.
Before leaving home, I acquired an apostilled copy of my birth certificate. How to do this varies by state and county and can take several weeks. In my case, I picked up a copy of the certificate from the Department of Health office for a small fee, and then mailed it, along with another small fee, to the Secretary of State for apostille.
The other important detail is to figure out how you will acquire money in Europe without paying too much in fees. I initially transferred €4500 worth of USD (plus extra for other payments) to someone I trusted so that they could use their bank to send the money to my account in the Netherlands. I didn't end up doing this, but it is important to understand your financial plan before leaving and also check the exchange rate. In addition, my bank requires me to alert them that I will be using my debit card abroad so I gave them a call so I would be able to access my US accounts. It should also be noted that Dutch merchants and some of the ATMs read a chip rather than the magnetic strip so American debit and credit cards will not work in many locations.
I initially entered the country on a 90 day tourist visa, which does not require any paperwork beyond a passport for Americans. My application had to be submitted before the end of the 90 days. Once it was submitted I could remain in the country until a decision was made.
I started the application process in October 2012, just after some significant changes in the immigration law threw everything into upheaval at the IND. The IND (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst) is the immigration bureau which applicants will be dealing with.
Next: Municipality Registration
SUMMARY OF PAPERWORK AT THIS POINT
- US Passport
- Birth Certificate and Apostille
- IND: Government website. Check here for application costs, forms, phone numbers, desk locations