Living in the Netherlands
If you are coming to live in the Netherlands, there will be lots of things to arrange. Depending on your own situation, these may include a residence permit, health insurance or learning Dutch.
People who need protection can apply for asylum in the Netherlands. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) assesses asylum applications.
Applying for asylum from inside the Netherlands
If you are already in the Netherlands, you can submit an application for asylum to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The IND assesses whether asylum seekers genuinely need protection.
Apply for asylum from outside the Netherlands
It is not be possible to apply for asylum at a Dutch embassy or consulate.
If you are in a refugee camp outside the Netherlands, your application for asylum must go through UNHCR.
If you want to live in the Netherlands, you may need a residence permit. In many cases you will also have to apply for a long-stay visa before coming to the Netherlands. This visa is also called an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV).
Are you from a country outside the European Union (EU) and do you want to live in the Netherlands for an extended period of time? If so, check whether you first need to pass the civic integration exam in your country of residence.
Do you need to take the civic integration exam?
If you are at least 18 but under the age of retirement you must take the civic integration exam in order to live in the Netherlands for an extended period of time. If one of the exemptions (page in Dutch) applies to you, you do not need to take the exam.
What do you have to do?
You can prepare for the examination using the Naar Nederland self-study pack. It is available in several languages.
Register with DUO
Before you can sit the civic integration exam, you must register with the Education Executive Agency (DUO).
How much will it cost?
The exam fee is € 150.
Make an appointment with the embassy or consulate
After you have paid the exam fee, the Education Executive Agency (DUO) will send you a payment confirmation. You can use this confirmation to make an appointment at a Dutch embassy or consulate. That is where you will sit the exam. Not all embassies and consulates provide this service. To find out where you can sit the exam, see the list of embassies and consulates.
At your appointment for the examination, you need to bring valid means of identification (passport), the confirmation of your appointment and a recent colour passport photo.
When will you know the result?
You will receive an email from DUO within 8 weeks telling you if you have passed your civic integration exam.
Authorisation for Temporary Stay (MVV)
After you have passed the civic integration exam, you can apply for an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV). You must apply for it within 1 year.
Continuing with your civic integration
After arriving in the Netherlands you will continue with your civic integration.
If you are a Dutch national or have a residence permit you can – under certain conditions – bring your foreign child(ren) to the Netherlands. In some cases, a child under the age of 18 may be able to get a residence permit. This depends on your child's nationality.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website provides information on the application and procedure. For example, what you have to arrange in the Netherlands, and what has to be arranged abroad.
If your partner or spouse lives in the Netherlands and has Dutch nationality or a residence permit you can – under certain conditions – join them in the Netherlands.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is responsible for issuing residence permits. Check whether you are eligible to join your partner in the Netherlands. The website explains what you need to arrange abroad, and what your spouse or partner needs to arrange for you in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, there are two ways to have your relationship recognised by the law; you can get married or enter into a registered partnership. Both are possible between people of the same or opposite sex. Find out more about marriage, cohabitation agreement and registered partnership here.
In the Netherlands, you must get married in a civil ceremony. The documents you need to provide in order to get married depend on your nationality. The municipality where you wish to marry can tell you which documents you require.
If you are visiting the Netherlands you will find that most people can speak English. But there are many places where you can learn Dutch in the Netherlands and/or abroad.
- Learning Dutch in the Netherlands
The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. You can learn Dutch at all levels in the Netherlands. The Dutch Language Union can give you more information about the options for learning Dutch.
Learning Dutch in another country:
People who live or work in the Netherlands usually have to pay tax here. The Tax and Customs Administration website provides information about what you need to arrange when you come to the Netherlands to live and work.
Tax information for private individuals and businesses
Belastingdienst.nl (the Tax and Customs Administration website) has information for foreign nationals who come to the Netherlands:
- information for private individuals (including on tax refunds)
- information for businesses (including on VAT)
Telephone number from abroad
If you can't find the information you want on the website, you can find the information to call the Tax and Customs Administration here.