If you’re planning to stick around in the Netherlands for a while, there are other ways to do so besides changing your reason for stay or citizenship/naturalization. For those who are not from an EU member state, you have two main choices to live in the Netherlands on the long-term:

  1. Dutch indefinite residency (regulier onbepaalde tijd)
  2. EU long-term residency (EU langdurig ingezetene)

But what are the differences? Which one is right for you?

There are various reasons why you might have entered the Netherlands, and many of them could eventually result in obtaining a long-term stay permit. In this article, discover who qualifies for these permits, and what you can expect when you apply. Whether you’re deciding to settle down or are thinking about upgrading your short-term residence status, this guide will help you understand your options for the long haul.

Exceptions based on nationality

Much like many of the other potential visa and resident permits available for Non-EU citizens, there are usually exceptions applicable for applicants from certain nationalities. The information in this article is meant to describe the general processes and rules for both the Dutch indefinite residence permit and the long-term EU residence permit. However, it is recommended that you refer to the IND website for information and exceptions about your nationality.

Residence requirements

The main difference between the long-term EU residence permit (EU langdurig ingezetene) and the Dutch indefinite residence permit (regulier onbepaalde tijd) is the residence requirements for the permit holder. As the names imply, holders of a long-term EU residence permit can live in any other EU member state for up to six years without losing your residency status in the main country (in this case, the Netherlands). If you stay outside the EU while holding this permit, you only have to re-enter at least once per year to maintain this permit.
On the other hand, the Dutch indefinite permit means that your primary residence must be the Netherlands. You cannot stay outside the Netherlands for longer than three months without the risk of losing your primary residence status. Also, the Dutch indefinite permit does not allow you to work or live in any other country in the EU without additional arrangements.

Eligibility for long-term residence

To be eligible to apply for either the long-term EU residence permit or the Dutch indefinite residence permit, you need to have lived in the Netherlands for at least five consecutive years with a valid permit(s). The difference between these types of permanent residence permit is how these five years are calculated. For example, the long-term EU residence permit only considers 50% of your time living in the Netherlands if you lived here on a study visa. In other words, if you lived in the Netherlands to complete a four-year degree, only two of those years will be counted towards the “five-year” requirement for long-term EU residence. The EU long-term resident residence permit makes it easier for you to apply for a residence permit in another EU country. You must then meet the conditions of that residence permit in that EU country.
The Dutch indefinite permit requires the same amount of time living in the Netherlands and also requires you to either pass, or be exempt from, the civic integration examination. There are also several personal circumstances may allow you to apply for the Dutch indefinite permit. Visit in the IND website to learn more about these requirements.
The eligibility of either permit differs if you are the holder of a European Blue Card.

How to apply for long-term residence

The EU long-term residence permit and the Dutch indefinite permit use the same application form supplied by the IND. However, the processes are slightly different. The IND may take up to six months to decide whether or not to grant a long-term EU residence permit. For the Dutch indefinite permit, the decision period is only three months. Depending on the completeness and coherency of your application, either process may be shortened than the three or six months described.
For the sake of stability and ease when transitioning visas, it is important to observe when your temporary permit will expire and prepare your application accordingly.

However, it is important to know that while the IND is preparing their decision, you will most likely be able to retain your employment status until the decision is made.

Expert advice

There are several ways to become eligible for a long-term or permanent residence visa to live in the Netherlands and/or EU. Immigration and employment procedures in a new country can be daunting for the uninitiated; especially if you are making arrangements for your entire workforce.

We know that diving into immigration and employment procedures in a new country can feel like stepping into a maze blindfolded—especially when you’re wrangling your entire workforce. That’s where we come in. With our seasoned expertise and insider know-how, we have mastered the art of navigating the IND and smoothing out the visa and residence permit process for highly skilled workers like yourself.
If you need support navigating this process or minimising the administrative burden, contact us today.