Dutch partner visa: bits and bobs

When a non-EU partner wants to stay with his/her partner in the Netherlands, he/she needs to meet a number of requirements before qualifying for a Dutch partner visa. For example, one might need to sit an integration exam before coming to the Netherlands. The sponsoring partner may also need to show that he/she will have sufficient and sustainable income to provide for his/her foreign partner. In this article, we will explain some bits and bobs of the Dutch partner visa.

"Certificate of non-marriage" not required

When two unmarried partners want to live in the Netherlands, the Dutch Immigration Department will ask both the sponsoring partner and the foreigner partner to prove that they are not married to anyone else in their home countries. For example, a Nigerian man wants to live together with his Chinese girlfriend in the Netherlands. The IND will normally ask the Nigerian man to provide the IND with an “affidavit of bachelorhood” and an “attestation of martial status” issued by the Nigerian authorities, and the Chinese partner will need to provide a “certificate of non-marriage” issued by the Chinese Civil Affairs Bureau. It can be time-consuming to get these documents in both countries. The IND application form does mention that the applicants need to submit these documents. These documents may have different names in different countries. Sometimes, they are referred to as "certificate of non impediment" or "single status certificate/record of no result".

Fortunately, the Dutch Council of State (“Raad van State”) gave a groundbreaking opinion, in which the Council of State holds that “having a polyamorous relationship cannot be used as a ground for revocation of a partner visa.” From this judgment, one can infer that  “having an exclusive relationship” should not be a requirement of a partner visa, and that one should not be asked to provide the IND with a “certificate of non-marriage” when applying for a partner visa. Through invoking this Council of State judgment, Mynta Law has helped a number of clients obtain the partner visa without providing the IND with a certificate of non-marriage.

Simultaneous hearing no longer allowed

In the past, when the IND had doubts about the nature of a relationship, the IND often invited both partners to attend a simultaneous hearing. Such a hearing can be very stressful. During a simultaneous hearing, the partners would be interviewed at the same time but at different locations. The IND/Embassy staff members would ask the partners a number of intrusive questions. For example, on which side of the bed did you sleep when you went to bed for the first time? On 19 June 2023, the Dutch Council of State gave an opinion, in which the Council of State holds that such an IND practice lacks a legal basis, and that a simultaneous hearing can be experienced as a breach of private life. Therefore, the IND is no longer allowed to organize such simultaneous hearings, when assessing a partner visa application.

Not living together at the same address

In another ruling, the Dutch Council of State holds that one cannot infer from the EU Directive 2003/86 that having main residence in the Netherlands is a substantive condition of sustaining a Dutch partner visa. Therefore, one can also argue that “living at a same address” should not be a substantive requirement of obtaining a Dutch partner visa either. However, when two partners are not living together, the IND may ask them to submit extra evidence proving the genuine nature of their relationship.

More lenient income requirements

When applying for a partner visa, the sponsoring partner needs to prove that he/she will have sufficient and sustainable funds to provide for his/her foreign partner. Traditionally, the IND would like to see that the remaining length of the sponsoring partner’s employment agreement is equivalent to 12 months or longer, as from the application submission date. Nevertheless, on the basis of the Chakroun judgment of the European Court of Justice, when assessing a partner application, the IND should take all the relevant financial aspects into account (such as, savings and other types of assets).

Should you have any more questions about the Dutch partner visa, please feel free to contact Mynta Law.