Oftentimes, more flexible conditions apply in order to a get a residence permit in the Netherlands for Turkish citizen, or family members of Turkish citizens. This is due to the agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

What is the Association Agreement for Turkish Nationals?

An Association Agreement is an agreement between the EU and a country from outside the European Union (third country), in this case Turkey. These agreements are made for a far-reaching cooperation between the EU and the country concerned. The agreements focus mainly on economic cooperation and trade, but often touch on many other topics, such as strengthening the rule of law and protecting human rights.

The European Union (EU) concluded an Association Agreement with Turkey in 1963. The reason of this agreement was to prepare Turkey for accession to the EU. Turkish economic regulations would be aligned with European regulations and a free trade zone had to be created.

Turkey has still not joined the EU and it does not look like it will do so in the near future. The provisions of the agreement and the protocols and decisions still apply and so more flexible conditions for a residence permit apply than for nationals of other countries from outside the EU.

In the agreement, The EU countries may no longer tighten the conditions for a residence permit for Turkish nationals from that moment on, but they may be reduced. As a result of the ban on tightening rules for Turkish nationals, some old provisions of Dutch immigration law for Turkish nationals are still in effect.

For whom?

Turkish employees

  • You have the Turkish nationality. In addition, you may have another nationality, for example the Dutch nationality.
  • You are working legally in the Netherlands in line with one of these situations:
  • You work as a paid employee.
    • You work on a self-employed basis or want to work on a self-employed basis.
    • You work as a service provider.
  • You carry out genuine and effective work. This is certainly the case in one of these situations:
    • You earn a living from work that is at least 50% of the social welfare level.
    • You work at least 40% of the full working week.
  • You do not pose any risk to public order and national security.

Family members of Turkish employees

  • You are the spouse or registered partner.
  • You are the child of a Turkish employee or of the spouse or registered partner of a Turkish employee. You are under 21 years old. Older children must depend on the Turkish employee for their primary necessities of life. Primary necessities of life are for example food, clothes and housing. These rules also apply to grandchildren who are members of the employee’s family.
  • You are the parent or grandparent of a Turkish employee or of the spouse or registered partner of a Turkish employee. Parents and grandparents must depend on the Turkish employee for their primary necessities of life.

Which less strict requirements apply to Turkish employees and their family?

Because of Association Law between the EU and Turkey, these less strict requirements apply to Turkish employees and their family.

Lower costs (fees) when applying for residence permit

Turkish employees and their family members often pay lower costs when applying for a residence permit in the Netherlands. The costs are also lower when applying for extension, a return visa, or replacement of a residence document.

Lower age requirement when applying for residence permit for partner

If you are a Turkish citizen working in the Netherlands and you want to bring your spouse or registered partner to the Netherlands to live with you? In this case, you and your partner must both be at least 18 instead of 21 years old.

Sponsor not required

Only (recognised) sponsors can apply for some residence permits. This rule does not apply to Turkish employees. You can apply for these residence permits yourself:

  • Au pair and cultural exchange;
  • Paid employment;
  • Highly skilled migrant;
  • Researcher under Directive (EU) 2016/801.

Still, the IND advises you to have your recognised sponsor apply for you. This is because the IND decides faster if a recognised sponsor applies.

No point system for residence permit for work on self-employed basis

Are you applying for a residence permit as a self-employed person? Then the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland or RVO) assesses whether your company is of essential interest to the Netherlands. Essential interest means that the company must add value to the Netherlands. The RVO assesses this according to a points system. A company must get a minimum number of points. This points system does not apply to Turkish nationals. The RVO only assesses your company by looking at your business plan.

These are the aspects RVO looks at in the business plan:

  • Your company is financially healthy.
  • Your company provides something that is needed in the Netherlands.
  • Your company helps the Dutch economy to grow.
  • Your company can do well in the free-market economy.
  • Your company does not disrupt the free-market economy or labour market.

The business plan must have a financial explanation for every part.

No more work permit (TWV) needed after working 3 years

If you are a Turkish citizen and work in the Netherlands on a self-employed basis or in paid employment? Then you no longer need a work permit (in Dutch: tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV) for paid employment after 3 years. Normally, this is only after 5 years.

Which residency permits are applicable to the Association Agreement?

Turkish employees and their family members can apply for these residence permits according to Association Law between the EU and Turkey.

Residence permit for paid employment

The requirements for this residence permit:

  • You meet the general requirements that apply to everyone.
  • You have been working for the same Dutch employer for at least 1 year.
  • You have a valid residence permit to work for this employer. And this residence permit is valid for the full period you work for this employer.
  • You are still working for the same employer.

If you get this residence permit your employer does not need a work permit (TWV) for you. Are you going to work for another employer? And you did not yet work for the same employer in the Netherlands for 3 years in total? Then your new employer does need a TWV.

Independent residence permit after stay with family member

These are the requirements for this residence permit:

  • You meet the general requirements that apply to everyone.
  • You have lived in the Netherlands with a Turkish employee for at least 3 years with a residence permit for stay as a family member. The Turkish employee has a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose.
  • You meet the requirements for extension of the residence permit for stay with a family member.

Residence permit for finding and carrying out work (orientation year) after marriage has ended

You can look for and carry out work in paid employment or start working on a self-employed basis with this permit. These are the requirements for this residence permit.

  • You meet the general requirements that apply to everyone.
  • You have had at least 3 years of marriage, or a registered partnership, with a Turkish employee who has a residence permit with a non-temporary purpose.
  • The marriage or registered partnership has ended.
  • You lived in the Netherlands at least 1 year, right before your marriage or registered partnership ended. And in this year, you had a residence permit for stay with your spouse or registered partner.
  • You must submit your application after your marriage or registered partnership has ended. Or when you no longer live together.

Independent residence permit after orientation year

These are the requirements for this residence permit.

  • You now have a residence permit for finding and carrying out work (orientation year).
  • You found a job when this residence permit was valid.
  • You meet the income requirements.

Residence permit based on the 3-year policy

Did you apply for a residence permit? And has the IND not made a final decision yet on your application after 3 years? Then you can ask the IND to issue the permit you requested based on the 3-year policy. These are the requirements for this residence permit:

  • You have the Turkish nationality.
  • You fall under Association Law because you work in paid employment. Or because you are, or want to become, self-employed.
  • You applied for a residence permit. The IND has been processing this application for 3 years and has not taken a final decision.
  • You were allowed to wait in the Netherlands while your application was being processed.
  • It is not your fault that it takes long to process the application.
  • There are no counter indications. Counter indications are reasons to reject your application. For example because you pose a risk to public order.

There is no application form for the 3-year policy, instead, you must write a letter to the IND. In this letter, you need to ask the IND to issue the permit that you have applied for based on the 3-year policy. You must do this before the IND takes a final decision on your application. Please head to our Contact Page for the IND address of the locket closest to you.