My husband and children are EU citizens but I only have a South African passport. We plan to emigrate to the Netherlands but I have concerns about the procedure to follow. I was advised to apply for a visa (facilitation) and then apply for a residence permit when arriving in the Netherlands. However one of the checklist requirements on the visa application is that my husband requires proof of registration in the Netherlands. We are not sure whether he should fly ahead and register first before I apply for my visa. Any advice?
You seem to have received confusing and incomplete information.
Your situation is dealt with by Directive 2004/38/EC.
Below important parts of that directive are explained. For exact text of relevant articles, see link above.
A Union citizen is the national of an EU member state. A spouse of a Union citizen is a family member for the purpose of this directive [article 2]. The directive applies to Union citizens who move to or reside in a member state other than that of which they are a national and to their family members who accompany or join them [article 3].
Your husband does not need to already reside in the Netherlands; when your husband moves there, he is covered. You and your husband can travel together or separately.
A Union citizen can enter any member state with a passport or a identity card and will never require a visa. A family member may need a visa, which should be easy to obtain and issued quickly and free of charge. When eventually getting registered and obtaining a residence card you no longer need a visa [article 4].
When covered by this directive, you are entitled to a free visa, if able to prove your status.
A Union citizen has a right of residence for up to three months, just by having a valid passport or identity card. A family member accompanying or joining a Union citizen with a right of residence also has that right [article 6]. After three months a Union citizen has a right of residence only in certain situations, e.g. if being employed [article 7].
Only after three months will additional conditions apply. Initially just having your husband moving there will be enough for you to be entitled to a visa as a family member.
You should apply for a Schengen visa from a Dutch embassy or consulate. State that you plan to move to the Netherlands and that you intend to register after arrival. If already set, you may want to include travel dates, address in the Netherlands and planned employment or other activity. It may be best to file the application directly with the consulate or embassy and not use their commercial partner; you should be allowed to do that.
It is not clear which visa checklist you're looking at. You should be using the visa facilitation checklist for family member of EU, EEA or Swiss nationals. This is an application for a short-stay visa, but strangely it is the correct application for you even if you intend to remain in the Netherlands permanently. The relevant item on the checklist:
- Proof of right to free movement
6.1 Proof that your family member is using or has recently used his/her right to free movement.
> For example: proof of registration in the Netherlands or a Dutch residence permit for your family member as an EU/EEA or Swiss national.
> If you are travelling to another Schengen member state on whose behalf the Netherlands issues visas, please provide proof of registration in the Schengen member state in question or a residence permit for that member state in your family member’s name.
Notice that the proof of registration is offered as an example.
The text in item 6.1 is incomplete. It should read "Proof that your family member is using, has recently used, or will be using his/her right to free movement." That is, the fact that the family member will not be making use of the right of free movement before the actual trip is not relevant. This is your case, of course, and in such a case the proof that your family member will be using the right to free movement would be travel reservations showing that you and your spouse are traveling together to the Netherlands.
This may be seen from the page Family Members of EU EEA Nationals at vfsglobal.com, which says in part
You are eligible if you can prove objectively that all of the following requirements are met:
- You are a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss national. (this includes a spouse, registered partner, child who is under 21 or a depending family member); and
- you are accompanying the EU/EEA/Swiss national or planning to join him/her; and
- this EU/EEA/Swiss national is travelling to or is residing in another member state than that of which he/she is a national.
Note that the last point includes citizens of Italy who are traveling to the Netherlands. More explicitly, the facts of your travel establish your eligibility because
- Your husband is an Italian citizen; and
- You are traveling to the Netherlands with your husband; and
- Your husband is traveling to the Netherlands (which is a member state other than Italy) with you.
From this, it is apparent that any request for your husband's proof of registration in the Netherlands must be optional.