A third-country national can apply for an extension of the validity of their regular, fixed-period residence permit from three months before it expires. The application for an extension will be considered "on time" if it is received no later than the day prior to the expiration date, unless there is a delay that cannot be attributed to the third-country national. Late submission that is the third-country national's fault may lead to a so-called "residence gap".

A residence gap occurs if the new effective date of the extended residence permit does not start on the same date as the previous residence permit, as this interrupts lawful residence. The third-country national will not have the same rights provided to them under the residence permit during the residence gap, and they will have to restart the standard five-year period to obtain, for example, a long-term EU residence permit or Dutch citizenship. This is often perceived as unjust or disproportionate.

On 8 April 2022, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) published a message regarding the process for determining residence gaps that are caused by the submission of late extension applications for regular fixed-term periods and other long-term periods. The IND has looked at how the residence gap problem can be solved within the current laws, regulations and policies with a focus on human rights.

The new process is as follows:

  • If the extension application has been submitted within four weeks of the expiry of the last permit, the IND assumes, without inquiring, that the delay cannot be attributed to the third-country national.
  • For extension applications that are late by more than four weeks, the individual will be evaluated to see if they can be excused.
  • The residence permit will, in principle, be extended consecutively to the old residence permit, even if the proof that the conditions have been met is submitted later (but within four weeks after offering reparation).
  • The reminder letter, which is sent three months before the expiration of the validity of the residence permit, has been amended to stress the importance of submitting on time.

The IND now seems to be more lenient with late-submitted extension applications.

With this, a policy change has taken place

This policy change was incorporated into the Aliens Circular 2000 (Vc) on 30 of June 2022 and can be found under paragraph B1/6.1 Vc. It is, therefore, important to check whether the IND has correctly applied its policy on extension applications that are submitted late. If not, this more favourable policy can be invoked.

For further information on this topic please contact Drenusha Hoxha at Maes Law by telephone (+31 85 902 12 70‚Äč) or email ([email protected]). The Maes Law website can be accessed at www.maeslaw.nl.