Moving to Holland, with your “Non-European family member”.


I am not a legal advisor. This is a rough guide, provided by a citizen of Europe for the benefit of other citizens of Europe. This is not a legal document and I am not liable for any inaccuracies or other errors in the advice found in this document. 

At the time of writing all legal references are belived to be correct, but you are advised to call and check all details with the European Commission’s EURES- they have a special website for “the movement of jobs and workforces” at:


For this guide to apply to you, you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • You have a Non-European Spouse/Husband/Wife/Civil-Partner
  • You are preferably willing to work for a start-up or at least to work for lower pay than “back home” while you learn the language.
  • at least two Months rent for the cheapest place you can find (one for the deposit/bond, one fore the first month)
  • If you have only been living together for a short period of time then you must be married for at least 6 months before moving to your new host state  (check with immigration at the host state as to what they consider to be a “genuine and subsidising relationship”).
  • You must have read the legal statute through completely and understand your rights (at the time of writing this is: Directive-2004 -38-EC )

So why this guide?

I feel that people need to know how to do this properly, or else they could face some of the very scary situations that we have.

Europe should be open to all Europeans! And in my mind, though there are many who will disagree, if you truly love someone no one should be allowed to stand in your way.

Love is universal. It doesn’t care about race, religion, gender, origin, money or whether you like movies or music.

Love is a force that pulls two people together.

Like gravity, Love will not be stopped, it cannot be reversed, cancelled or intervened and if you try then it is at your peril.

I write this in the hope that through it your love may continue uninhibited.

A brief warning:

Moving to a foreign country is not easy, it takes patience, causes stress and can at times lead to heated discussions with the one you love the most.

If you are less than 100% committed then this WILL break your relationship.

If you thought Uni was stressful then you might want to give up now, because this will bring you to tears more than once.

I will not be held responsible or liable if you fail. This guide is designed to help make things easier for you, if, and only if, you are crazy enough to try following in our footsteps, not to encourage you to do so.


Lets Begin:

First thing’s first, as hopeless as it seems try to find a job before you leave. Chances are it will fall through and you wont manage it, but seriously try this could save you a lot of hassle!

If like me you are leaving University to do this then you must accept that if you are the European you will need to give up on your  degree until you are settled. The law stands (at the time of writing) that the European must sponsor his/her partner meaning you must be working full time in order to register legally as a resident in another European member state.

Be realistic, in a country where you don’t know the language you wont be earning as much as back home.

You wont be able to work at a restaurant, coffee shop or bar.

And you might find yourself jobless with only 2 weeks money left in the bank, crying your selves to sleep every night.

But no matter how bad it seems don’t give up!

The best way out of a bad situation is to work your butt off and then work some more.

If you can’t find a job and you only have 2 weeks of food money left and you’re behind with the rent, ask someone for help (preferably family first). There are a number of start-ups out here who are looking for people who can work to a professional level for a minimum wage (and usually a small share in the company) and the expat community (an odd bunch as they are) are usually willing to help when you are in dire need.

Here is a quick check-list of tasks you must fulfil to be resident in another European state:

  1. Call the immigration office of the state you are moving to an verify what you need to bring with you for legal purposes and what their state’s legal requirements are (definitely check the minimum wage requirement)
  2. Get your marriage certificate legalised with an Apostille stamp – even if it’s a European one! (The European Commission’s position on this is that European certificates are legal in all European states – but you try telling that to a immigrations officer that doesn’t actually know the law that they are supposed to be upholding),
  3. Get a Job within 3 months of arrival,
  4. Pay rent on time (okay not a legal one but a really good idea all the same),
  5. Register with the local immigration authorities (must have a job),
  6. In some countries you are also required to register with your city/municipality’s local government (must have a job).
  7. Relax – all is done.

This seems fairly easy, and in an ideal world it would be, but in reality it isn’t. You will possibly struggle to find a job, you will definitely be forced go to many appointments during the registration stage, where by some officials that don’t know what they are talking about will try to tell you that you aren’t eligible or something is wrong that you know isn’t. All I can say to this is: Persevere and always carry: Your passport/travel document, Your marriage certificate and a Print out of the Applicable Law.

A Bit More Detail:

1. Calling immigration:

If you call unprepared and if you haven’t read the applicable law then they will try to tell you that it’s not possible, they are the countries first defence against immigrants, it is their job to say no! So before you call them, get clued up, and ask very specific questions, general questions will get you nowhere.

A good list of questions to get you started is:

“What documents to I need to bring to move to <insert host state here> with my Non-European family member?”// Should be answered with “proof of real work, marriage certificate and your travel documents”//

“Does my Family Member need a facilitating visa?”  //This should always be answered with a simple “no”, because as you are travelling with them and you are carrying your legalised marriage certificate, at the time of writing legally speaking they have to let you across the border, but some of them pretend that they have “never heard this rule” or it’s “not their policy” so make sure you check.//

“How long are we given after arrival to complete registration?” //at the time of writing legally you have to be given 3 months, but some of them are nice and will give you longer//

“Where do I need to go to register?”

“How much does registration cost?”//For the European this should be free, for their partner it changes from state to state but it should be somewhere around €42,-//

“Are there any scheduled changes to the laws regarding Non-European Family Members?”

“What is your full name?”//Always the most important question to ask when dealing with government officials, You need this in-case they give you misinformation//

2. Legalisation:

This varies for each origin state (the one you where born in), I recommend you Google for: “Apostille <insert your origin state here>“, In the UK it takes about a week but they allow themselves up to 6 months, so if you think you might be moving to another European state then make sure you get this done ASAP (preferably a day or two after you get married).

I know that if we needed to get any of my husband’s Malaysian document’s legalised then the Malaysian government take 2 months minimum to process them.

3.Getting a job:

There are a number of really good places to find jobs. I’d start with EURES and LinkedIn. If you aren’t getting much luck there then you might consider site’s like MeetUp to find like-minded entrepreneurs to start a company with or simply to work for.

Either way if you don’t know the language expect low pay (while you learn), long hours and a lot of stress.

4.Paying Rent:

Harder than it sounds, you need to get a bank account ASAP, or you will be facing a lot of bank charges to use your cards from you’r origin state to pay for things. //In the Netherlands you also will have to pay for everything in cash until you get a local account as Visa and Mastercard don’t seem to be accepted anywhere.//


Strangely when you have everything and you arrive early (preferably 15-30 mins before) is a very straightforward process. To get things moving smoothly when you call immigration make sure they send you the current forms and fill them out in advance of your appointment to the best of your ability and if you don’t know something call immigration and ask.

6.Local Authorities:

This one really changes based on the host state. Basically put most of them require it so that you can get a local social security number. Which is needed to open a bank account, get paid and pay taxes. You should try to do this as soon as you get a job offer. I recommend calling Immigration to ask which department you need to get in contact with to do this.


I’ll have to tell you more about this later, currently I work at an early stage start-up after just coming out of academia, as a result I don’t yet know the meaning of the word.


Hope this helps,




FOOT NOTE: I AM NOT A JOB AGENCY. If you are on LinkedIn I will be happy to accept connections and will try to help you out in any way I can, but I’m not in a position to be giving out jobs, so please don’t expect that of me.

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