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You can apply for permanent residency after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay in the Netherlands. There are 2 types of permanent residency:

  • long-term residency EC, based on EU law
  • a permanent residence permit, based on Dutch national law

The IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) determines for which permit you qualify.

Why a permanent residence permit?
Once you have a permanent residence permit (EU or national) your stay in the Netherlands does no longer depend on a certain purpose of stay. A permanent residence permit can only be revoked if you leave the Netherlands permanently or if you commit a serious crime. Moreover, you are free on the labor market, which means you do not need a separate work permit to legally work in the Netherlands. You request a new card every 5 years.

Permanent residency is however not the same as Dutch citizenship. If you are a Dutch citizen, you have the right to vote and stand as candidate for Dutch parliament. After becoming a Dutch citizen, you can apply for a Dutch passport. But, in many cases you have to renounce your other nationalities. You keep your original nationality when you apply for permanent residency.

Comparison chart long-term residency EC, national permanent residence permit and Dutch citizenship

long-term residency EC national permanent residence permit    Dutch citizenship
Apply after 5 consecutive years of residency, with non-temporary purpose of stay. Study period counts for 50% Apply after 5 consecutive years of residency, with temporary or non-temporary purpose of stay Apply after 5 consecutive years of residency, with temporary or non-temporary purpose of stay
Keep other nationalities  Keep other nationalities In some cases you have to renounce your other nationalities
You may not vote or stand as a candidate for Dutch parliament You may not vote  or stand as a candidate for Dutch parliament You may vote and stand as a candidate in the elections for Dutch parliament
Having this permit for 5 years allows you to apply for Dutch citizenship Having this permit for 5 years allows you to apply for Dutch citizenship Allows you to apply for a Dutch passport 

 

Long-term residency based on EU law
Having a residence permit as a long-term EU-resident allows you to apply more easily for a long-term residence permit in other EU countries, although the conditions for the residence permit may differ from one country to the other.

In the Netherlands, the following conditions apply:
- you have been living in the Netherlands for 5 years or more with a valid residence permit1
- during the 5-year residency you did not stay outside the Netherlands for more than 6 consecutive months, or more than 10 months in total
- when you apply, you have a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose
- you have passed the civic integration exam
- you have sufficient long-term income. The standard amount is reviewed every year on 1 January. 

1In general, you must have had a residence permit with a non-temporary purpose throughout the 5-year period. An exchange period or orientation year for example, are temporary and do not count. However, half of your study period does count. For example, if you studied in the Netherlands for 4 years, 2 years add towards the 5-year period.

Permanent residency based on national law
If you do not (yet) meet the conditions for a long-term residence permit based on EU law, you may qualify for a national permanent residence permit.

The conditions are the following:
- you have been living in the Netherlands for 5 years or more with a valid residence permit2 
- when you apply, you have a valid residence permit with a non-temporary purpose
- you have passed the civic integration exam
- you have sufficient long-term income. The standard amount is reviewed every year on 1 January. 

2This may be a residence permit with a non-temporary or a temporary purpose of stay. All consecutive residence permits you have held count towards the total of (at least) 5 years.

Other rules apply to diplomats, consular staff or employees of an international organization (summarized as privileged). 

For more information or advice, please contact Barbara Wegelin and Eline van Deijck.

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