Gezinsmigratiemaatregelen (Or: A bump in the road)

The above subject means “Family Migration Measures”. Or, in simple terms “One big headache”. You see, the previous Dutch government passed a law stating that to form a family – i.e. what Marco and I were officially doing — required both parties to already be married before the foreigner moved to the Netherlands. Originally it was supposed to take effect July 1, which was delayed. But in mid-July we got word that it would take effect in October 1. But my last day of work is December 14, and I cannot leave any earlier. Although there has been some dispute, the law is still technically in effect.

So, briefly: as we wanted to get married in the Netherlands in 2013, Marco and I had to get into the IND’s system before October 1. The only way to do that was to turn in an MVV form (temporary residence permit request) prior to that date, even though Americans are normally exempt. Since Americans are exempt, it caused a lot of headaches trying to get the process rolling as US consulates don’t really handle many requests.

The MVV application was officially received at IND on September 3. On November 9, Marco received word that our MVV form had received approval. So it is official – after getting through the first of many red tape situations, I can now move to the Netherlands!

Niki’s thoughts:

All of this craziness went down in mid-July about a week before his birthday. Twice IND told us I had to take the civic integration exam if I wanted to submit an MVV (Americans are normally exempt from that as well). So Marco dutifully paid 350 euros for a test, and I studied my heart out for three weeks and sacrificed sleep. After three weeks or so, we were given official confirmation that we did not have to take the test. He is still waiting for his refund.

In total, our lives were pretty much hell for 6 weeks until we were able to submit the form in early September. As all sources of information said Americans did not have to apply in advance before the move, we were caught unprepared in terms of documentation.

The upsides included:
1) My spoken Dutch briefly improved while studying for the test, but it went downhill again after
2) We started videochatting daily (as we needed to speak Dutch) rather than just typing messages, and ended up continuing that tradition afterwards
3) The permanent residency permit should come a bit faster as we already have approval for the MVV

Of course, it seems so long ago already, as it is already November. But I can say we were definitely getting a bit nervous the last week or so, as we haven’t been able to book any plane tickets yet. We will this week – we are hoping to get confirmation from the Washington consulate sent to my mail address, in addition to the letter Marco already received at his Dutch address.

Marco’s thoughts:

Ugh. This entire process annoyed me so much.
Even worse, it mad me feel guilty since one of the reasons we decided to live in the Netherlands was because it would be so easy for an American (or any 1st world country citizen) to move here.
Technically up until October 1st she would have been allowed to just walk into the country without any additional papers required and then just go to the IND the next morning and tell them to sign her up for “family migration” (at which point she would need the same papers & documents we used now but we could’ve done it all together and she’d be already here..)

Nobody, including the IND knows why they pushed this rule through.. well it’s because of the right wing party that was briefly in our government, but there is no logical reason to have it apply to *everyone*.
At least we knew they would grant her the permit.
No reason to deny it to a person you’d usually welcome with open arms.
So all in all it was just a small bump in the road, about the size of a Dutch mountain. 🙂

Still..I was getting anxious. I had just spent half the day whining to Roger through email that it was taking so long. Then I arrived home and saw the letter. And all frustration was forgotten 🙂

So go find your old ‘Europe’ albums. The final countdown has started! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Categories: Forms, etc., Moving | Tags: , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Gezinsmigratiemaatregelen (Or: A bump in the road)

  1. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. Did that include the tuberculosis test? I remember seeing that the test is necessary if you go the MVV route. I hope the rest of the IND dealings go smoothly!

    And it’s not the Europe song that’s stuck in my head now, it’s the Nits. 😉

  2. Marco

    No, luckily they were smart enough to realize that she was American so the ‘inburgerings examen’ and the tuberculosis tests were not needed.

    • Good thing too, since my last doctor was my pediatrician years and years (and years) ago, so I wasn’t actually sure what doctor to go visit for a TB test. Probably go find a clinic or something. 😉 And yes, next up on the to do list is applying for temporary health insurance until the permanent residence permit is approved, as is required. I think we already have a company in mind, just waiting to buy the airline tickets to know the right day to start.

      A TB test wasn’t mentioned… it was just the civic examination that we were told TWICE by IND we had to do even though I was American. Crazy.

  3. Henny


  4. Marco

    WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO (kisskisskisskisskisskiss)
    (seems Henny approves of this updated in our status) 🙂

  5. Too bad my phone company already deleted the voicemail marco left for me after he received the letter. It was pretty priceless.. *grin*

  6. Hello
    Hope is well. I’m american who now reside in the Netherlands as of sept 2015. It’s now March 31, 2015 and I just received a letter in the mail regarding my permit. The letter states that I will received another letter in the mail with the date to pick up my permit. The second letter I received was regarded the basic civic integration test. The letter states I have to do the test within 3 years, but I was told that Americans don’t need a MVV to apply for a permit so , your except from taking the test. Is this correct or false. I would appreciate your feedback regarding this matter.

    P.s. My girlfriend is my sponsor regarding my residence permit….

    • Hi. 🙂 it’s a bit confusing but there are two tests. The first you do before you arrive (Americans are exempt from this first exam).

      The second, the civic integration exam, is a test people need to take within 3 years of arriving. It tests you knowledge of Dutch language. There are three options actually: the integration exam (the easiest test) or the Staatsexamen programma I (second easiest) or programma II (hardest). The staatsexamen is for those who expect to get university level jobs or similar; not everyone needs to do it. It’s perfectly fine to just do the civic exam. You will get plenty of letters after you arrive and settle in, so you don’t have to worry about it now technically.

      You can read more here:

      The above link is from DUO, the official exam provider for all three options.

      I did programma II. You can search the blog for either “staatsexamen” or “NT2” to learn more. I hope this helps. 🙂

      • Your so sweet. Thank you for the info. I’m scared to take the exam because I’m not good at writing dutch and reading. I have a bachelor degree in business and master degree certificate in business as well from the states. I’m happy to hear you were able to get your permit. Get story, I just don’t understand why they made u get a MVV because I didn’t need it since I’m coming from New York city. These dutch rules make no sense but it’s okay tho. Thank you again for your response. 😄
        My email is

        • I had to get an MVV due to the law change mentioned at the top of this blog post. Thankfully the law was since repealed. 🙂 You’re welcome!

          Oh and I wouldn’t worry about your Dutch skills – you’re not really expected to have much *before* you move (especially if you are exempt from the first test). You have three years to build up your skills. I think the civic integration exam you take within three years only requires A2 level (google the Common European Reference Framework, I think it is called).

          In terms of where to get classes – see if the city you are moving to has an ROC Mondriaan (this is in the areas around The Hague). If you meet the right qualifications you should only have to pay 30 euros per class as the rest is subsidizied by the government. It depends on where you are moving though – I know The Hague subsidizes it for their residents, but not if other cities do. Otherwise, I took two classes at Volksuniversiteit (translates to ‘The People’s University’) and that was about 250 euros per course.

 – Under ‘English’ in the red tab, click Welcome. On the left, click Nederlands (anderstalingen). Your local library might be able to help you with finding courses as well.

      • Thank you.. 😃

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