Thursday, it was the 22nd of February; I received a letter from the IND.
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(Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst – Immigration and Naturalization Offices) It was the letter I had been waiting for in what seemed like ages upon ages! THE letter that states I will be receiving my residence permit! I wish I could put into words the feeling it gives to know you are now a resident of the country you want to reside in, that you will be a functioning member of society. They now have to make up my file. I get a sofi-number, the Dutch equivalent of a social security number. After they make my file and all that jazz that goes with it my permit will be sent to my town for me to pick it up. I got my letter Thursday so I have to wait a little while longer before I get it in my hands. I want to write on the process that I went through in getting to this point. (A little dry yet helpful in understanding I promise)
First of all there are several forms of residence permits. As in the United States you have options on how to get into the country, Americans call it a residence card or a green card but the concept is the same. Here is a list of reasons one could enter the country of America. Each reason has its own length of time allowed to stay and how much the process costs.
oWorker- Priority Workers: scientists, artists etc; Professionals with PhD’s or a Masters Degree; Skilled workers in these cases either you are hired through a company or if you are self employed you have to have a substantial amount of funds to bring into the country.
oDiversity Immigration: they are required to allow a certain amount of individuals of various backgrounds into the country yearly.
oFamily – Marriage. You can bring siblings, grandparents and parents into the country this way. Under this category you can bring in children you have that are elsewhere.
It is extremely hard to get into the country as a resident if you do not have the funds to get in or a job waiting for you so most opt for marriage for a way in however this is by no means easy either. The Dutch have their own reasons as well though much is the same.
oMarriage or relationship
oHighly skilled migrants
oSelf employment: this requires a specific amount of money to enter on these grounds.
There are of course the short term reasons; adoption, visiting family, medical reasons and study in both countries. Most countries have similar requirements and restrictions that need to be met and all one would have to do to find out are look up that particular countries Immigration office. I fell under marriage or relationship though at the moment I am not married. (That comes in September!) My partner sponsored me as a legal partner and under this had to prove without question that I would be taken care of in every way without the assistance of the Dutch Government. Therefore there is a certain amount of money a Dutch person has to make a month in order to sponsor someone. They have to also prove that I would have health insurance when approved; adequate housing must be shown by going to the town and pulling housing records. I as the person being sponsored have to prove that I am not married or legally bound to anyone. As soon as I land in the country (or any country in the EU) I have 90 days before I either have to leave or apply for an extended stay. You also need to pay for this all. The permit and application itself cost us 840 euro. With that and the paperwork we both required we spend over a thousand euro.
I applied in October of 2006, during this time I am NOT allowed to work. In December I received a letter from the IND that I was being rejected on grounds that I did not prove I was single. I had to have the document had to have an Aposille Seal. A seal proving it is legal, the information is valid and from my country. It came in to me the same day I got my rejection letter. They received in the following day. We both then had to object to their decision. Crazy stuff let me tell you. The feeling that you might not be able to stay in the country with the person you love all because of a piece of paper! They then sent us a letter two weeks ago stating they were going to need more time to decide on our objection! I have to tell you it’s nerve racking! I have already been here since October and was told it would take six months, now they wanted to add an additional six months!