Whew, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything! We have first vaccines next week so I hope that life will go back to “normal” soon enough. We’ve had to enjoy the outside from our balcony and dream of going out again… I don’t have much to write about so I took the time for a break to recharge my batteries. And it’s been amazing. I’ve had lots of time to read, kick back and watch some shows I’ve been meaning to watch, and clean out the house. But I got a pretty important letter in the mail so it’s time to talk about my Dutch Residency Permit.
What is the Dutch Residency Permit?
Dutch Residency Permit is important for a non-Dutch citizen like myself. It allows me to travel most of Europe without a passport for up to 90 days. But most importantly it allows me to live in The Netherlands without issue. It’s the official ID for non-Dutch residents and without it I’d be living here illegally!
When can I get one?
This special permit is granted after filing for one with the Dutch Integration website. Sander and I are together and that’s the main reason for my stay. We had to prove our relationship to the government. It was an easy enough process and I received mine after a few months of waiting. After that comes the hard part. I had to complete the Dutch Integration Exams. These include (when I took them) 5 exams and one job interview known as the ONA. I had 3 years to do them, so I had enough time to practice and get pretty good scores. The Dutch Residency Permit placed me in the system and reminders came almost monthly about taking the exams… It’s actually pretty important and the fines for failure are quite high.
How long does it last?
My particular Dutch Residency Permit lasts for 5 years! There are permits that are only 1 year though so be aware of what sort of permit you have.
How can I renew my permit?
After I had gotten the results of my tests, I got silence from the government. I had no idea what I’d have to do when the ID came close to expiring so I got worried. Lucky for me, I got a letter in the mail that alerted me when I was eligible to renew my permit. The process is super simple compared to everything else. Log into the website, answer some questions about yourself, and pay the fee.
It does ask if the reason for living in The Netherlands is the same. In my case it is! We’ve applied and we’re now waiting to see if I need to go in for fingerprints and an updated signature. They also mention I might need a passport photo, so I’ll have to dig mine out! I applied for a new passport last year and that process went super smooth.
How do I become a citizen?
In my particular circumstances, I can actually apply for citizenship this year. However, there are conditions. The biggest one is, I would have to give up my American Citizenship. That’s not something I’d like to do though, as I still have family and assets in America. One way around this is to either marriage or a domestic partnership with Sander. I may need to take a few exams as well. The stress and paperwork don’t seem worth it right now so all I’m doing is a renewal. But this also means that if something happens to Sander or our relationship dissolves, I cannot stay in The Netherlands. My reason for being here is to be with him and if that reason is void then I need to go back to America!