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!
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.
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!