The following is a timeline for what Marco and I had to do when we were forced to get a MVV. In July we found out on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) website that the law for “Family Migration Measures” was changing.
That law said that effective Oct 1 we would need to already be married before I moved to the Netherlands. As we want to get married on Dutch soil, we decided to submit a request for an MVV (provisional residence permit) to get into the system prior to the law changing. Once started, MVV requests take up to three months. We had to get a move on as I wanted to move in mid December. Of course, it’s quite possible the law will be repealed due to a new government, but for now it is currently in effect.
[Note: MVV forms are generally found on the CONSULATE’S webpages, not the IND’s official page. As the American consulate doesn’t have one, we downloaded this copy from minbuza.nl.]
MVV request submitted (to NYC consulate): Wednesday, September 5 (i.e. before Oct 1! yay!)
MVV request approved (by the IND): Thursday, November 8
Weds July 18 – We found out the law for “Family Migration Measures” was changing.
Fri July 20 – I fax a form to the Illinois Vital Records Department to get my birth certificate with an apostille. It would end up taking over a month! Note: you cannot FAX in an Illinois birth certificate request for an apostille, as they need the physical check for the apostille as well.
Fri July 20 – mailed my single status request (with an apostille) via express mail to the NY Vital Records Department. See my post here.
Thurs July 26 – I call the NY consulate. I am told that I can NOT start the MVV process at that office and must instead have Marco contact the IND. This is the first time I felt screwed for being an American (since previous Google searches made it clear that other countries which must do the MVV in advance have a clear process for starting it outlined on the consulate page. Dutch consulates on American soil do not.)
Fri July 27 – Marco calls the IND. We are told that he must start the advice progress (.pdf) (and then do the MVV process after, though it is shorter). He must get ‘positive’ advice from the IND before we move on.
We are also told that I must take the ‘inburgerings toets‘ (Civic Integration Examination Abroad) even though Americans are normally exempt from this. But the IND said that since I was going into the MVV system, I needed to do everything that the MVV requires. Note: Marco calls later in the day, speaks to someone else, and confirms this fact.
Sun July 29 – I sign up for the test. Marco pays 350 euros, the price of the test (!)
Thurs Aug 2 – Marco gets confirmation that I can now register for the test at the NY consulate.
Fri Aug 3, morning – I call the NY consulate. They say I need to email the consulate instead. I do so.
Fri Aug 3, early afternoon – I get a reply. The test is scheduled for Friday, August 17. The woman I am emailing says to bring my passport and U.S. residency permit. That last one seems odd, so I email her back and ask if my US birth certificate works.
Fri Aug 3, late afternoon – When I get home from work, I have an email from her. She says that I am American and do NOT need to take the test. I should contact the IND for further info. (! What.)
Fri Aug 3, late afternoon part 2 – I email her back and explanation the situation in detail. She offers to contact the “Knowledge Expertise Center” in Washington (the Dutch consulate) and see how to proceed.
Sat Aug 4 to Fri Aug 10 – lots of back and forth emails with her. In the meantime, I need to keep studying, since I might end up having to take the test after all. So lots of late nights and lack of sleep loom in front of me.
Fri Aug 10 – She lets me know that the delay is because the person who can answer this question at the IND is on vacation. However, she spoke with one of his coworkers and the coworker said it is “almost likely” that I don’t have to take the test.
Mon Aug 13, etc – no reply for a few days.
Weds Aug 15 – She says she will have an answer soon.
Thurs Aug 16 – Shockingly — happily — she says that I can start the MVV process myself by submitting the papers required at the NY consulate. Documents included:
my passport (plus copies)
copy of Marco’s passport, identification pages and pages with travel stamps
MVV application form
passport photo (Dutch specifications)
my single status record with an apostille (original plus copy)
my birth certificate with an apostille (original plus copy)
NOTE: They took the copies and I kept the original. This was especially useful as both my originals each had pages affixed together permanently by the Illinois and New York state departments, and couldn’t be pulled apart without damaging them, but the official form says do not included documents with staples or paperclips. In the end, Marco needed to submit more documents (pay stubs, etc) but this is what I personally needed to submit in the beginning.
The next week or so is spent waiting for the birth certificate (the single status document arrived the week prior), and some documents Marco wanted to send in advance, to help speed up the process. The Illinois birth certificate was particularly frustrating to get but did eventually arrive around this time.
Mon Aug 27 – I go to the Dutch consulate in NYC to turn in the application, as recommended by the woman who is helping me. Unfortunately she is on vacation so it was a harder hand off than it had to be. I don’t have an appointment so I need to get there ASAP.
6:34 train to the city, arrive by 7:22 (not bad, as I had to transfer at Secaucus). Outside the Passport Photo place (Photo Mission) at 8AM sharp. In and out in 11 minutes, no issue. I wait outside the consulate for a bit, and then go inside at 8:35am. A bit too early to go up, so I talk with a security guard until 8:58 or so. Go up, and I am the second person in line (the first was a Dutch gentleman trying to get his passport renewed. He and his American wife eventually hit a roadblock when he was told they only take cash, so his wife had to go withdraw some.)
So I get the next window available, and explain my case. Suffice to say, the worker was not that helpful, saying that normally the MVV process is started in the Netherlands, and ignoring my protests that her coworker told me I could start it in New York City. Oh well. She took the application and that was all that mattered. Out at 9:23. Ran across town from 8th avenue/42nd street to 3rd avenue/40th (Port Authority) to take a bus to work, as that would be quicker than the train. Barely made the 10:05am bus, but I did. At work by 11:20am.
Thurs Aug 30 – I receive an email from the Washington consulate, with information on how Marco and I can submit a wire transfer to the IND for the MVV.
Sat Aug 31 – MVV payment is made.
Weds Sept 5 – Marco receives a letter from the IND letting him know what additional documents he needs to give. I AM OFFICIALLY IN THE SYSTEM!!!!! (The joy is because I needed to be in the system before Oct 1 to be treated under the old law). They have until Dec 3 to give a decision (they received it on Sept 3).
October – Marco requests a refund (minus administrative costs) for the payment he made for the test we were told I had to take (and then told I didn’t have to take). It will take up to 6 months to arrive (!)
Thurs Nov 8 – Marco receives a letter from the IND that our request has been approved, and they will send that information to the Dutch consulate in Washington D.C.
Hopefully I will receive the consulate letter in a few days, telling me that I can come pick up the sticker to put in my MVV…
Update: the letter never arrived. I called the Washington consulate and they said it was okay, I could go with the letter Marco received (but that got us into more trouble – keep reading).
Things slowed down a bit here due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Monday Nov 26 – I scheduled an appointment to pick up my MVV/visa sticker today at 9:20. Unfortunately I was told when I got there that I needed to show all of the same documents again (in particular, his passport copy and the single status document & apostille). But the hardest thing was that they required a second MVV application (same as the one I gave them in September!!) and passport photo. The last one got me into trouble – I had to run out and get more. So – bring the copies each time, and have extra passport photos with you.
Note they also took my passport to mail it to the Wasington consulate, as apparently the New York consulate does not add the visa sticker themselves… 5-6 business days to wait (it ended up coming that Thursday, three days later).
Tues, Dec 4 – I picked up the passport today!! The MVV visa sticker looked great. I did not need to show anything else — I just needed to hand over the blue ticket they gave me with # on it. I also got a piece of paper with general instructions about what to do next, in English.
So there you have it. That’s what it is like for an American to (unexpectedly) have to apply for a Dutch MVV! ArghhhhhhhhhhhHHHHH. So glad it’s over! 🙂 🙂