How long can I stay outside the country without jeopardizing my permit?
This question is asked our team a lot. And very understandably! Honestly there isn’t one straight forward catch all answer to this question. Firstly, because immigration states in its policy that the specific facts of the matter a very much determining whether or not someone is regarded to have changed her/his seat of residence outside the Netherlands. Secondly because there are certain circumstances under which Immigration allows one to stay outside the country for longer periods of time.
To begin with I want to emphasize that this blog refers to persons who are staying in the Netherlands in a temporary residence permit. When asking the question how long one may stay outside the country one must keep in mind that the question immigration asks is somewhat different. What immigration would be asking is if someone has changed her/his seat of residence outside the Netherlands. The presumption being that one only requires a residence permit of the person has the Netherlands as their seat of residence or home. Longer periods of stay outside the country would in this light not lead to the revoking one’s permit if from the specific circumstances it follows that her/his home is here in the Netherlands for instance if dependent family members are continuously residing in the country.
Immigration has set a couple of boundaries:
- Consecutive stays outside the country for four months for three years in a row will be regarded as having changed one’s seat of residence.
- Six months consecutive stay outside the Netherlands, unless one can prove that this was not due force majeure. (Prison time is however seen as force majeure).
On the other hand, Immigration has also made a few exceptions. These are the most common:
- Highly skilled migrants are allowed 8 months per year stay outside the country if it is for the purpose of their work and they are still paid in the Netherlands.
- Holders of the foreign investors visa are also allowed 8 months per year stay outside the country.
- For students who temporarily for completion of their study need to follow some form of higher education abroad. A period of one year consecutive is not seen as temporary.
As a rule, one should avoid long periods of consecutive stay outside the Netherland and in any case avoid a consecutive stay of four months or longer. Secondly to be on the safe side, if one is not a highly skilled migrant, I would avoid atotalstay of six months per year outside the Netherlands.