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Staying abroad with a residence permit

If you have a Dutch residence permit, you may stay abroad for certain periods of time. However, you must live in the Netherlands and spend most of your time here. This is what we call having your main residence in the Netherlands. On this page you can find out how the IND assesses whether you have your main residence in the Netherlands. And what the consequences could be if you change your main place of residence.

Time spent outside the Netherlands

How long you may spend abroad depends on your residence permit.  Are you abroad for longer than is allowed? Then you have changed your main residence. Did you use a remigration scheme when you left the Netherlands, for example, under a regulation of the Repatriation Act? Then you will always have changed your main residence.   

Temporary or permanent residence permit (asylum or regular permit)

You have changed your main residence if any of these situations apply to you:

  • You stay outside the Netherlands for more than 6 months in a row. And this is not due to circumstances beyond your control.

  • For 3 consecutive years you have been outside the Netherlands for more than 4 months in a row. The IND only counts these 4 months per calendar year (January to December).  We do not add up individual periods you spend abroad over these 3 years. You have moved the centre of your activities abroad. This means that you cannot prove that you carry out most of your activities in the Netherlands. The IND looks at this case by case. 

Examples of a change of main residence

  • You are outside the Netherlands from 1 November 2020 to 31 May 2021. This counts as 7 months in a row.

  • You are outside the Netherlands in 2019, 2020 and 2021 from 1 July to 30 November. This counts as 5 months in a row for 3 consecutive years.

Examples of no change of main residence

  • You are outside the Netherlands from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021. This counts as 6 months in a row. 

  • You will be outside the Netherlands in 2019, 2020 and 2021 from 1 December to 30 April.  This counts as 4 months in a row (January to April) for 3 consecutive years. The period 1 to 30 December will not be added to the period 1 January to 30 April. 

Exceptions for temporary residence permits

For the following temporary residence permits, different rules apply:

  • Residence permit for study: you may stay outside the Netherlands for a maximum of 1 year as long as your residence permit is valid. This is allowed if you are going to follow temporary education abroad in order to be able to complete your studies in the Netherlands. Are you going to study temporarily in another EU country? And has your educational institution reported this to the IND? Then you can study in the other country for a maximum of 360 days. We add up separate periods.

  • Residence permit highly skilled worker and scientific researcher Directive 2005/71/EC or researcher Directive 2016/801: you may work abroad for a total of up to 8 months in a period of 12 months. This means that we also add up separate periods. You must still continue to meet the conditions of your residence permit.

  • Residence permit as a foreign investor: you may stay outside the Netherlands for a maximum of 8 months in a period of 12 months. This means that we also add up separate periods. You must still continue to meet the conditions of your residence permit.

  • Residence permit for transfer within a company (Directive 2014/66/EU): you will not change your main residence if you are in another EU country with your short- or long-term mobility residence permit.

Verification against EU law (family members of EU, EEA or Swiss citizens)

You have moved your main residence if you stay outside the Netherlands for a total of more than 6 months in a 12-month period. This means that we also add up individual periods.

Permit for long-term EU residents

You have changed your main residence if:

  • You are outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland for more than 12 months in a row.
  • You have been outside the Netherlands for more than 6 years in a row, but within the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Permanent EU residence permit (indefinite for family members of EU, EEA or Switzerland citizens)

You have changed your main residence if you have been outside the Netherlands for more than 2 years in a row.

Residence document temporary residence Withdrawal Agreement (UK nationals)

You have changed your main residence if you have been outside the Netherlands for more than 6 months in a row. 

Residence document permanent residence Withdrawal Agreement (UK nationals)

You have changed your main residence if you have been outside the Netherlands for more than 5 years in a row.

Other facts regarding change of main residence

The IND does not only look at the period that you stay abroad. The IND can also establish that you changed your main residence based on other facts, for example:

  • You de-registered from the Personal Records Database (BRP) of your municipality. Are you temporarily going to another EU country for intra-EU mobility? Then you may temporarily unsubscribe from the BRP for that period. However, your employer, educational or research institution must report this to the IND on time.
  • You de-registered from the Tax And Customs Administration of the Netherlands before going abroad.
  • Your departure abroad has been reported to the Aliens Police (AVIM).
  • You resign or are fired, or your employer's company ends. Or you stop with your own business (business termination). 
  • You cancel a bank or giro account.
  • You have periodic benefits (money) transferred to an address outside the Netherlands.
  • You buy off pension rights.
  • Your home in the Netherlands has been emptied and the contents (belongings) have been moved abroad.
  • Your home in the Netherlands is (sub)rented to other people.

Consequences of changing main residence

Have you moved your main residence abroad according to the IND? Then your residence permit can be revoked. Or your permit will not be renewed.