NETHERLANDS – Unmarried Partners No Longer To Be Recognised as Dependents
The Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND) in the Netherlands has announced that, effective 1 July 2012, unmarried partners will not be accepted as dependents for immigration purposes unless they can prove that they are legally unable to marry in their home country (e.g. same sex couple).
The new rules state that only married partners are eligible for family reunification. Unmarried partners may not apply for family reunification. An exception applies for partners who are unable to marry in the foreign national’s country of origin, who may instead apply for a “temporary marriage visa”.
Temporary Marriage Visa
The temporary marriage visa is valid for six months and is available for couples who cannot marry in the country of origin, and who meet certain other criteria. The visa’s purpose is to enable the couple to then marry or register a civil partnership in the Netherlands, after which, it can be converted into a long term residence permit. However, there is some confusion over the specific criteria for this visa: Peregrine is monitoring the situation.
The IND announcement makes it clear that foreign nationals with a current residence permit granted on the basis of a partnership rather than a marriage or civil registration will be able to retain their residence permits and renew them as needed.
Additionally, under EU regulations, unmarried partners are recognised as dependents (provided they meet certain conditions), so EU national unmarried partners of non-EU employees working in the Netherlands may still be granted dependent status.
- Note that, from 1 July 2012, it will be very difficult for employees to being unmarried partners to the Netherlands as dependents, unless the unmarried partner is an EU national or qualifies for a temporary marriage visa.