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I am an EU citizen (not Dutch), with an EU child, married to a non-EU spouse (South African). I am moving to the Netherlands and am trying to understand the process.

I asked an initial question about this in the past. The IND referred me to this link.

My problem is I am getting conflicting information from the IND in the Netherlands as opposed to the embassy in South Africa.

The IND states we need to have my wife apply for a Schengen 90-day visa in South Africa, then apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands once we arrive.

The Dutch embassy in South Africa told me that we cannot apply for a Schengen, but should rather apply for a MVV.

My questions are:

  1. Do we apply for a Schengen or MVV visa in South Africa to allow my wife to enter the Netherlands?
  2. Can we travel together to the Netherlands and may my wife remain in the Netherlands while the residence card is being processed?
  3. If a Schengen visa, is it not a problem if the 90 days run out prior to the residence card being issued?
  4. On the IND website link I provided, the EU family member has to prove that: 'Has lawful residence in the Netherlands (a proof or registration or a valid residence document)' - what does this requirement mean?

I have a small child and want to avoid a situation where he would be separated from his mother.

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  1. Do we apply for a Schengen or MVV visa in South Africa to allow my wife to enter the Netherlands?

It's not really clear whether they will process your application as an MVV application, but there is certainly evidence that they will process it as a Schengen short-stay application. On the VFS Global site, the page about visiting family notes the fee exemption for family of EU citizens:

The following categories of applicants are exempted of Visa fees only:

Spouse and Dependent Children of EU Nationals (Proof of EU Nationality and relationship with applicants needs to be provided). Provide air ticket which clearly shows that you will be travelling with the EU Citizen. This is subject to EU treaty rights i.e. Spouse and Dependents cannot exercise this exemption when visiting country of origin of the EU National.

Because VFS seems to charge a separate fee, you should also be able to submit your application directly at the embassy or consulate, to avoid paying any fee at all.

  1. Can we travel together to the Netherlands and may my wife remain in the Netherlands while the residence card is being processed?

Your wife can remain in the Netherlands as long as you are also in the Netherlands, because she enjoys freedom of movement in the EU when she is with you.

  1. If a Schengen visa, is it not a problem if the 90 days run out prior to the residence card being issued?

Not as long as the two of you are together. If you have to leave the Netherlands then she's probably okay as long as the application is pending, but the situation would then be controlled by Dutch law, with which I am less familiar, instead of by EU law.

  1. On the IND website link I provided, the EU family member has to prove that: 'Has lawful residence in the Netherlands (a proof or registration or a valid residence document)' - what does this requirement mean?

This means that before your wife can apply for her residence card, you must register your residence with the municipality so you can submit proof of your registration along with her application.

  • Very detailed answer - thank you. The IND website is excellent, however, it is not clear on the rights of the non-EU spouse - unless I missed it – Will777 Oct 10 '17 at 10:32
  • Unfortunately, your advice about Freedom of Movement rights is incorrect. It only applies to countries other than the country of your nationality. If you're a Dutch citizen, then any other EU country has to let your non-EU spouse in based on Freedom of Movement rights, but the Netherlands does not have to (and won't). You will have to pay the visa fees to VFS as well as you don't have the right of a free visa. I have personal experience with this (being a Dutch citizen with at-the-time non-EU-citizen family members) – Erwin Bolwidt Oct 10 '17 at 13:33
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    @ErwinBolwidt in the linked "initial question," OP reveals that he is a British citizen, so this answer is written with that in mind. You are correct that it would not apply to family of a Dutch national (unless a "Surinder Singh" exception were to apply by virtue of the Dutch national having exercised treaty rights in another EU country). – phoog Oct 10 '17 at 14:01
  • @phoog Right you are. That information about the OP's citizenship would be better put in this question itself rather than a linked one. – Erwin Bolwidt Oct 10 '17 at 14:14
  • @ErwinBolwidt that is a good point. I have edited the question to clarify. – phoog Oct 10 '17 at 14:19
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I have gone through a similar process to move to the Netherlands from the UK with my girlfriend who is an EU citizen. Since we are not married, my answers might be slightly different from what you would go through but I'd like to offer any help anyway as I know how stressful this process could become :)

  1. Do we apply for a Schengen or MVV visa in South Africa to allow my wife to enter the Netherlands?

I applied for a Schengen visa at the Dutch Embassy in London and it was processed much quicker than a regular Schengen visa (could be done in one day but mine took slightly longer). In order to apply for this quick process, I had to prove that I could apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands (by showing some proofs of our relationship) and that we were both going to the Netherlands together by showing plane tickets. This visa was free.

  1. Can we travel together to the Netherlands and may my wife remain in the Netherlands while the residence card is being processed?

When you have submitted the application for the residence permit, the IND will put a sticker on your spouse's passport to show that the application is being processed, that she is legally staying in the country and she is allowed to work.

3.If a Schengen visa, is it not a problem if the 90 days run out prior to the residence card being issued?

This should not be a problem at all.

  1. On the IND website link I provided, the EU family member has to prove that: 'Has lawful residence in the Netherlands (a proof or registration or a valid residence document)' - what does this requirement mean?

This means that you need to register at the municipality where you will live and submit that with your wife's application.

I hope this helps.

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    The fact that you're not married to your girlfriend only affects the process of establishing that she is covered by the freedom of movement directive. The fact that her visa was free of charge implies that you did establish that successfully, whereafter the details of the process should be the same for her and for Will777's wife. Welcome to the site! – phoog Oct 10 '17 at 14:04
  • @phoog Thanks! Actually my girlfriend is an EU citizen and I am not. I see you have perfectly answered the question and just wanted to put mine here to help out any unmarried couple that might need some help with this process in the future. – tank1610 Oct 10 '17 at 14:29
  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I was not aware of the sticker placed in the passport – Will777 Oct 11 '17 at 3:34
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I will write here, but I'm not an expert, so please wait until you get a more informative answer or a confirmation for my answer.

There are two procedures to get MVV (at least how it was 6 years ago):

  1. You can apply to it from outside of NL and then get visa to enter NL and finish application here
  2. You enter NL by any other visa and apply to MVV here

So I think both suggestions are possible and correct. I would follow IND since they have latest/finest info and they have much more massive number of cases that they handle. Also time to get 90 days visa is probably much faster so you can enter NL complete earlier (if it is important for you).

The main - don't worry! NL has really open procedures and they are less bureaucratic than other countries might have. They always welcome you and your family and family is priority number one for every Dutch here. Also your case doesn't look any exceptional so I don't expect anything going out of the track wrong.

  • Good to hear, and thank you for your input – Will777 Oct 10 '17 at 10:37

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