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The Dutch IND and nearest Consulate in the UK don't seem to understand the details of my situation and are just confusing me. Preamble; I am aware this would all be much easier if my Afghani boyfriend joined me after I'd already moved to the Netherlands, but we wanted to see if an alternative scenario could work, which is this;

He goes to Iran to stay with his parents and brothers. We apply for him to get a UK visit visa so he can come and stay with me for a while and see Manchester and meet my family and friends. The crux of this scenario is, I don't want him to have to go home to either Iran or Afghanistan. As a gay man this would be very unsafe for him. I know on a visit visa he can't stay with me so I want to move to the Netherlands.

If I look for work so we can move, I know he can apply for a Schengen entry visa as I have been informed so by the IND. He would need to prove that he's been in the UK for 3 months minimum. The problem is I don't know on what basis this would be. What worries me is that it takes me a while to find a relevant job, and it could mean him either having to go home to comply with the terms of his visa, or risk over staying and would that overstay put his entry into the Netherlands in jeopardy.

If that just isn't legally feasible, I'll start looking for work in the Netherlands much sooner, move with a job and then once settled just bring him over the easier way. I just really wanted us to have time together here first before we moved.

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    Are you a UK or Netherlands citizen? Have you and your boyfriend ever lived together? If so, for how long? If not, how long have you been together altogether? (I'm not sure whether the last question actually matters, I'm afraid, but the point is that if you are not married or in a registered partnership, your boyfriend can only derive freedom of movement rights (FoM) from you if your relationship is "durable," the definition of which can vary from one country to the next. FoM is also harder to achieve in your own country of citizenship; hence the first question.) – phoog Mar 28 '18 at 15:48
  • First of all, thank you! Just your use of the official term of "durable" made it easier for me to find more info. The Dutch IND never mentioned this in their email reply to me, strange. To answer your questions if it means getting more advice... I am a UK citizen. We haven't lived together, as an Afghan citizen it is nigh on impossible to get a visa to come to the UK for less than partnership purposes (which we can't do because we haven't lived together.) My biggest concern despite the durability test is still the initial schengen entry visa which is first hurdle before applying for a permit. – Phteven Mar 28 '18 at 16:17
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    If you can get the Dutch to accept that your relationship qualifies your partner under FoM then the initial Schengen visa will be no problem. But that's a big if; given your circumstances, it seems unlikely that they will. As a gay man fearing persecution, however, he might look for asylum or refugee status. To pursue that, it would be a good idea to get legal help; if you cannot afford a lawyer, perhaps you can approach an organization that protects the rights of the persecuted. – phoog Mar 28 '18 at 17:50
  • We'll have to try. I'll do whatever I can to get his name on stuff here at my address so they can see we're at least living together. How much I don't know because on a visit visa he won't really have any legal recourse to anything. Hopefully my social landlord will do something in writing for me, council tax as well perhaps. The problem with Asylum is he would need to be here first and I can imagine the Home Office trying every nasty trick in their horrible books to deny a claim of asylum from the back of an expired visit visa. They'll say we planned that all along! – Phteven Mar 29 '18 at 10:02
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    And they'd be right, apparently. They'd also be right if they found deception in your efforts "to get his name on stuff here at my address so they can see we're at least living together" when you're not in fact living together, and that will likely get him banned from the UK and/or the Netherlands. You really ought to talk to a lawyer; the risk of a misstep is high, and the consequences are potentially devastating. – phoog Mar 29 '18 at 11:47
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Given the requirements stated in the question, your best bet is probably just to apply for a UK visitor visa. I don't expect it has a great chance of success, however. If you can afford a lawyer, you would probably increase the chance of success by engaging one.

To address some of your concerns:

The problem is I don't know on what basis [a Netherlands visa application] would be.

The option most likely to succeed is to apply under freedom-of-movement regime, if your relationship qualifies. The problem is that you must meet one of these four criteria to do so:

  • you are married
  • you are registered partners
  • you have lived together for at least six months
  • you have a child together

(English source; Dutch source)

would [an] overstay put his entry into the Netherlands in jeopardy[?]

It would not affect his ability to qualify for entry or residence based on freedom of movement. It probably would be held against him for any other kind of application.

Since UK visitor visas allow one to stay in the UK for six months, the obvious question is: could you bring him to the UK for six months on a visitor visa and then use that time to qualify for freedom of movement in the Netherlands? This proposal has at least two areas of concern:

1) Probability of a UK visa refusal: Anyone applying for a visitor visa for six months is likely to receive much more scrutiny and be therefore much more likely to receive a refusal. Applying for this purpose is also likely to be met with skepticism.

2) The timing: Can you apply for the Dutch visa before having lived together for six full months? If not, where will your partner go between the end of the six months in the UK and the move to Amsterdam?

There may be other EU countries that could help solve the second problem, but the first problem is going to be trickier.

Another option you might want to consider: Move to the Netherlands, register your partnership, and then travel together to the UK for the few months of getting to know your family and friends.

  • I have no idea how I missed that bit of the webpage when I first had information sent to me by the IND. The bit about unmarried partners needing to have lived together for six months. These rules sure do make it almost impossible for people to cultivate a relationship when you're from different countries outside of the EU. – Phteven Apr 3 '18 at 20:56
  • I think we need to seriously consider him being here on a visit visa and then going home. He'll have to maintain some serious lies with his family, we'll have to construct fake all sorts for him to show them when he goes back. The visa itself; users on the UKLGIG forum who've been through the same thing have advised us to apply for it as just "just hosting a friend for a couple of weeks to visit the city and see Mcr united play." Make sure he arrives with a return ticket and a written statement of my hosting him. Once here we can just change his return flight. – Phteven Apr 3 '18 at 20:58
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    @Phteven be careful. The UK has been known to deny entry to people who have extended their planned stay after arrival, even when they decided to do so as a reaction to the fact that they got a 6-month leave to enter stamp. Despite the fact that such a reaction seems perfectly reasonable, the UK tends to hold that it is deceptive. – phoog Apr 3 '18 at 21:06
  • Good point of course. I have to ask because I might be a bit dumb on this point... we seem to have a reputation for losing track of people who enter the UK on almost any type of visa. People have told me principally because unlike most other international airports we don't have outgoing immigration control. What could they check to show he stayed for the full six months instead of the declared amount of time? – Phteven Apr 4 '18 at 21:16
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    @Phteven here's an example: Cancelled UK visa on entry. It's not exactly the same, but it illustrates the principle. Further to your question about losing track of people, those people are generally stuck in the UK. They are not usually able to leave and re-enter; if they try to do so, they would normally be refused entry and sent back whence they came or to their country of citizenship. – phoog Apr 4 '18 at 21:28

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