Minister Grapperhaus relaxes rules for long-distance relationships

The Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, has decided to ease the travel ban on the entry of partners from third countries engaged in a long-distance relationship with someone with the Dutch nationality or EU-citizen who live in The Netherlands, subject to certain conditions. Minister Grapperhaus submitted a letter to the House of Representatives today, also on behalf of Stef Blok, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ankie Broekers-Knol, the Minister for Migration.

Dutch policy is and will remain principally focused on safeguarding public health and on controlling and monitoring the novel coronavirus. At the same time, Minister Grapperhaus recognises that the ban on inbound travel has had a significant impact on those who have not seen their partners for a long time as a result. Therefore, the restrictions in relation to long-distance relationships have again been critically reviewed, in part to establish whether any options were available to meet the needs of this group.

The amended rules only apply with regard to short stays, meaning stays in the Netherlands of up to 90 days within an overall period of 180 days. Given that, in line with European agreements on measures related to inbound travel, affected couples must be in a durable relationship, the scheme will be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The couple in question must be able to demonstrate that they have been in a relationship of at least three months, during which the couple must have seen one another ‘regularly’, in a manner as would currently be the case. In addition, the persons in question must sign a handwritten statement in which they state that they are indeed in such a relationship, under penalty of perjury.
  2. The statement must also list the personal details, place of residence and contact details in the Netherlands, as well the contact details of the foreign partner.
  3. Prior to their trip to the Netherlands, foreign partners must be able to demonstrate that they have a return ticket in their possession.
  4. Foreign partners subject to visa requirements must be able to comply with all the conditions in force, including having sufficient funds available for their trip and stay and guarantees with regard to a timely return. This may also take the form of a sponsor declaration from the partner residing in the Netherlands. Any decision regarding the visa application will involve the possibility of return.
  5. In accordance with current regulations, stays may not exceed the maximum period of 90 days. In the event that a longer stay should be deemed necessary, this will require the submission of an application for a long stay. If the foreign partner should remain in the Netherlands beyond the maximum 90-day period and has not requested an extension of his or her stay or applied for a long stay, then the immigration procedures relating to ‘overstays’ will apply under the current legal framework.
  6. If a foreign partner is travelling from a country for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued orange travel advice for health reasons, coupled with an urgent recommendation of home self-isolation, then the person involved must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the Netherlands.
  7. The supporting documents listed in the above, such as the statements, return ticket and any sponsor declarations, must be submitted to the border authorities upon arrival in the Netherlands.

The rules will come into force on 27 July 2020.