Since its been a long time coming, I thought a quick run-down of the paperwork process would be appropriate. I may expand this into a detailed article in the future and the order may be a bit off based on our particular circumstances, but for now…
Getting a Residency Card for USA Spouse of an Expat: The “Good”-Parts Version
1) Get your spouse employed or placed in the Netherlands. This is a vital step because non-EU citizens can only get working visas though employment. If your expat is gets a Knowledge Worker Visa, you won’t need to get a work visa of your own. Otherwise you won’t be able to work until you’re hired by a company willing to go through the paperwork.
2) Before you move, get your “moving” visa. This sticker is placed in your passport and allows you to stay in the Netherlands for an extended period of time.
2a) Get apostilles of your birth certificate & marriage certificate. Apostilles are an extra layer of officialness. I’m not sure why the Netherlands insists on them, but you need it anyways. They are typically issued by the office of the Secretary of State of the state you were married in and I was able to do everything by mail but I’ve heard rumor that some states are less flexible and require you to visit them in person.
3) Move. Move your pets. Start counting the days/weeks until you get your residency card.
4) Register as a resident in your local town/city. Everyone is required to register with their town hall within 5 days of moving to a new city. As expats its important to do this quickly since it will prevent delays with your other paperwork. Also, you’ll get a personal ID number from this process that acts like a Social Security number. You’ll need that to open up bank accounts and the like.
5) Your spouse will probably need to process his/her temporary residency & work visa paperwork first. If you’re in Maastricht, this will involve completing paperwork with your expat’s company and a trip to the IND for a temporary temporary resident/work permit sticker in your passport. Try to do it all at once if you can, but I’m not sure that’s possible.
6) Go back to your town hall and complete the paperwork to get your apostilled marriage license approved. When we were there we were told this process could take 4-6 weeks. They’ll want to take your marriage license for this approval, but you’ll also need it to finish up your own IND visit if you haven’t already.
7) Wait. If you can/need to, visit the IND to complete get your own temporary temporary sticker. Your expat won’t need to wait for the marriage license paperwork to go through so he/she will probably make a trip to Eindhoven for the official residency card during this time.
8) Wait for the marriage license stuff to get through all the hoops. When you get the document stating that your license is approved you may need to send a copy back to the IND (they do the approval, but a different department must need it for the residency card).
10) Get the letter stating that you are approved. Its in Dutch of course.
11) One week later, get a letter stating that you can go pick up your residency permit.
12) Take the train to Eindhoven (if you’re living in Maastricht anyway) and pick up your new card. Remember to bring the letter and your passport with you. In my case, my card indicates that I am the spouse of an expat and that I can work without a working visa (my husband is a Knowledge Worker). Your card will reflect your relationship with your expat and your ability to work.
13) Celebrate with beer & waffles!