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Brexit: How can you secure your right of residence and work in the Netherlands in 2021?

The end of the Brexit transition period is nearing. It is still possible for British nationals and their family members to relocate to the Netherlands and apply for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement to secure their residence after December 31, 2020.

Residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement

As a British national residing in the Netherlands before the end of the transition period, you can apply for a residence permit under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, provided that you submit their residence permit application, best before December 31, 2020 and no later than before June 30, 2021.

Main residence

To be eligible for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement, you must first have or move your main residence to the Netherlands before December 31, 2020. Your main residence is where you live (both administratively as well as physically). As a UK national, you are considered a resident of the Netherlands when you are registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) at your town hall, the center of your activities is in the Netherlands, such as your home, work, and social life, and when you don’t stay outside the country for six consecutive months.


Another requirement is that you have sufficient resources for yourself (and if applicable: your family members) without recourse to public funds. You must therefore show that you have enough financial means to support yourself (and your family), either as a worker, self-employed professional, student, jobseeker or person who is sustainably financially independent.

There is no minimum salary threshold and it is not necessarily relevant what type of income you have. If you are economically active in paid employment in the Netherlands, you can demonstrate your income with your employment contract and your salary slips. For self-employed professionals, freelance contracts, tax returns and a statement by your bookkeeper should suffice. If you are economically inactive in the Netherlands, you can still be eligible for this permit, if you have savings or income from an inheritance, alimony, real estate, employment abroad, benefits or retirement.

Additionally, you must be enrolled in a comprehensive Dutch health insurance programme and you have no criminal record or at least you are not considered a threat to public security.

Temporary versus permanent residence

If you have been residing in the Netherlands for less than five years by the end of the transition period and you meet the other requirements for a residence permit, you will receive a temporary residence permit. This means that the permit will be valid for five years. Your right of residence on the basis of your temporary residence permit will end, if you move your main residence outside of the Netherlands.

Recourse to the social assistance system or a prosecution for a criminal offence may jeopardize your right of residence in the Netherlands, but it will not automatically result in a revocation of your residence rights. The IND must take your personal situation into account.

After five uninterrupted years of residence in the Netherlands (in total), you will be eligible for permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement provided that you had have met the other requirements for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement, in particular that you have your main residence in the Netherlands and you have had sufficient financial resources to support yourself during all of these years.

If you have already resided in the Netherlands for five years and you were issued an EU permanent residence document, this document will be exchanged for the permanent residence document under the Withdrawal Agreement

This permanent residence permit will be valid as long as you reside in the Netherlands without extra conditions. Your right of right of permanent residence will only be lost through absence from the Netherlands for a period exceeding five consecutive years.

Non-EU family members

Relationship before December 31, 2020

Non-EU family members of British nationals are eligible to apply for a residence permit as dependents under the Withdrawal Agreement during and after the transition period. Family members are defined as (married or unmarried) partners, children under 21 or financially dependent direct relatives, such as parents of adult children. The British sponsor must already reside in the Netherlands before the end of the transition period and have applied for a residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement before June 30, 2021. The relationship must have existed before the end of the transition period, before December 30, 2020. Non-EU family members who need a visa to travel to the Schengen zone can travel to the Netherlands with a tourist visa or a facilitating visa to file an application for a residence permit.

Relationship after the transition period

For British nationals who already live in the Netherlands on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and who want to bring their non-EU partner to the Netherlands with whom they have started a relationship after the transition period, the standard family reunification rules apply. Under these rules, there is a minimum income threshold for the sponsoring family member, which must at least be the statutory monthly minimum wage. The income must also be sustainable and independent. Your income may not be deemed sustainable if you do not have an employment contract at the time of application, which is valid for at least one year.

Partners (married or unmarried) who are citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, the United States of America or South Korea may travel to the Netherlands without a visa and submit an application for a residence permit in the Netherlands. Partners from other countries need to complete the civic integration exam at a Dutch diplomatic post and obtain an entry visa (MVV). This visa is applied for at the same time as the residence permit. Naturally, partners who are citizens of an EU member state or Switzerland can reside and work in the Netherlands without applying for family reunification.

Residence permit after the end of the transition period

After December 31, 2020 British nationals will be considered so-called ‘third country nationals’. To be able to relocate to and work in the Netherlands after the end of the transition period, British nationals will no longer enjoy free movement and need to meet the requirements for a ‘regular’ residence permit to be able to reside in the Netherlands – for example, for study, work or family reunification.

Residence or work in another EU country with a Dutch Withdrawal Agreement residence permit?

After the end of the transition period, free movement will end for British nationals. British residents in the Netherlands can continue their stay in the Netherlands on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the residence rights in the Netherlands do not grant any residence or work rights in other EU member states. With a residence permit in the Netherlands, stay outside of the Netherlands in the Schengen area is limited to 90 days in any 180-day period. If you live in the Netherlands and undertake work activities in another EU country, you may need a work permit in the country of work to continue your work activities.

Dutch citizenship

After five years of continuous legal residence in the Netherlands, you will be eligible for Dutch citizenship, provided that you have completed the civic integration exam and you do not have a criminal record. In principle, you must renounce your British citizenship. There are a few exceptions to this rule – for example, if you are married to a Dutch citizen or if you have been living in the Netherlands for more than 15 years and you are older than 65. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your options for dual nationality.
After obtaining Dutch citizenship, you are an EU citizen again and you regain your EU rights to reside and work in any other EU country.

If you have additional questions about your residence or work rights after Brexit or the option for dual citizenship after consulting the website or you would like to obtain legal advice regarding your personal situation, please contact Elles Besselsen or Danielle Snaathorst.

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