Recently I saw advertisements in some newspapers; sort of invitations to irregular immigrants to file requests for residence permit in the country. Reasons being that the immigrants could not leave The Netherlands based on situations that could not be blamed on them.
I can imagine that such adverts will appear very enticing to an irregular immigrant, who might believe this is the solution for their problem.
As we all know, what seems too good to be true usually is not true. Let me explain! I do not want to shatter anyone’s dream, I just want to enable you to decide on the basis of knowledge instead, of being lured into something that turns out to be a dead end from the start. Read the following carefully and while doing that, be honest to yourself and be inquisitive.
Does such a residence permit exist?
Yes, it exists, so much is true. It is usually named the “Verblijfsvergunning Buiten Schuld”. It can be granted to people who, for reasons they cannot be blamed, able to leave The Netherlands; such as not in possession of documents that enables them to travel to their country of origin.
Now everyone can understand that it is not so that anyone who is undocumented is entitled to such a permit. On the contrary, those who are fully undocumented are the most likely not to get such a permit. It is not so easy to get such a permit. It is only possible for a well-described group of persons and under strict terms.
What are the requirements for such a permit?
The first requirement is that the applicant must provide sufficient evidence about his identity and nationality. Maybe one holds no passport, but any other document, copy of a document, certificates, verifiably information, statements from organisations and who know what, brought together, and in context, can be considered sufficient evidence. This means that a person, who just offers a vague story and nothing to support that story, does not qualify for this first requirement.
The second requirement is that the applicant must substantiate that the fact that he/she does not hold a passport or travelling-document anymore, is not to blame on the applicant. This means that a person, who destroyed this document or who was previously asked to get a passport but does not provide it, is to blame for it and does not meet this second requirement.
The third requirement is that the applicant must prove that everything possible has been done to get documents to travel to the country of origin. Talking is not enough; evidence is required. So, contact must be made to the nearest authorities of the country of origin to procure a travel document to travel back home. This document can be a passport but also a one trip document, a so called laissez-passer. If this document is obtained to travel home, a residence permit is not required anymore. If no permission for travel document is granted and evidence, including all efforts made is shown, then the third requirement is fulfilled.
Do I get the permit now?
No, but when all requirements are met, you can file the application with some possibility of success.
After the application has been done in the usual manner, the Immigration Naturalisation Service will send the application to the Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (D.T.&V.) where the application and evidence provided will be scrutinised. Is this person really the one he claims to be? Has this person really done everything to get a travel document? Are there other options left open?
The D.T. & V. will also contact the authorities of the country of origin with the request whether a travel document will be issued and if not, why not.
Based on their findings, the D.T.& V. will give an advice to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service.
The advice will be about the questions mentioned above.
Based on that advice, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service will make a decision on the application for a Verblijfsvergunning Buiten Schuld.
What are my chances of getting the residence permit?
It is a known fact that every year many of these applications are made, but only a small number of residence permits are granted.
Those who are really who they say they are; who will take considerable effort to gather and provide the required evidence, have a fair chance. All others should seriously consider, not making such application for it is a waste of time, efforts and money.
Where can I get information about this subject?
As always I suggest going to the source. Try www.ind.nl - website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (also in English) where you can find all sorts of information.
You can also visit Het Juridisch Loket. The nearest Juridisch Loket can be located through the website www.hetjl.nl or by calling 0900-8020 (10 ct per minute).
If these sources of information are not sufficient, or you just have a serious question for a lawyer, then our office offers serious readers consultation. People can come, only with an appointment, for a visit and for free advice from our office.
Although I am specialised in Immigration law, our office has several lawyers, each with its own speciality, such as social-security law, family-law, labour-law, criminal-law and more.
So, come to us with any legal question, not only Immigration law.
* mr. A.G. Kleijweg is with the law firm of Schuurman-Kleijweg-de Vries (Advocaten). He can be reached via Kleijweg@skv-advocatenkantoor.nl / Tel.: 070 4273215 (Tel. number is for appointment only, please!).