Divorce and Residence Permits in the Netherlands: What Refugees and Expats Need to Know

Divorce and Residence Permits in the Netherlands: What Refugees and Expats Need to Know

Are you considering divorce and have a residence permit? Our experience with people from diverse cultures allows us to understand the challenges you face in the Netherlands. Navigating the system and knowing what to do isn't always easy. That's why we're here to help. Since we handle almost everything online, you don't need to visit the court or a lawyer. Divorce is also possible if your partner doesn't live in the Netherlands. We have extensive experience with divorces involving international aspects and residence permits, so you're in good hands.

Consequences of divorce

It's wise to first investigate the potential consequences for your permit. A divorce can impact your residence status. If your permit is based on your partnership, but this partnership is ending due to divorce, the grounds for your residence permit may change. This has consequences. Therefore, before proceeding with divorce, you should check with the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) about applying for a different permit.

Which Other Residence Permit Can You Apply For?

The type of residence permit you can apply for depends on your personal situation. Always consult the IND first to understand your options. We'll provide some examples of possibilities for applying for a different permit later in this article.

If Your Partner Doesn't Live in the Netherlands

We can still arrange your divorce even if your partner doesn't reside in the Netherlands. It's important that your partner is reachable online. We also need to ensure that your partner agrees to the divorce and that we can establish direct contact. Your partner doesn't need to come to the Netherlands for the divorce proceedings.

Is This Suitable for Your Situation?

If you want us to handle your divorce, there are a few conditions. First, both parties must be willing to cooperate. Also, one of you must have an address in the Netherlands.

Required Documents

To process the divorce in the Netherlands, we need a copy of your marriage certificate. You can request this from the place where you got married. If it's difficult to contact the country where you married, we can use the original marriage certificate instead, but it must be officially translated. We'll return the original certificate to you after the divorce procedures.

Duration of the Divorce Process

The complete divorce procedure typically takes about 6 to 8 weeks.

Divorce in Your Home Country

After the divorce is finalized in the Netherlands, you may choose to register it in your home country. The rules for this vary by country.

Cost of Divorce

We have two fixed prices for the complete divorce process: one with compensation and one without. If your income and assets are below a certain amount, we can apply for compensation on your behalf. With compensation, the divorce will cost you only €61,- per person (or €112 if your income is slightly higher). Before we start procedures, we will check if you are eligable for the compensation.

Without compensation, the full divorce costs €895 per person. It's possible that one party qualifies for compensation while the other doesn't.

The cost depends on your income. No additional fees are charged beyond these amounts.

Compensation for Divorce Costs from Abroad

You don't need to live in the Netherlands to be eligible for compensation. We can apply for compensation for your partner, even if your partner lives in another country.

These are the steps we'll take:

  1. Check if we can apply for cost compensation.
  2. Create a draft of the divorce agreement (and a parenting plan if you have children).
  3. Discuss the divorce documents with you in an online meeting.
  4. Send you the final version of the divorce documents for signing.
  5. Submit the divorce to the court and register it with the municipality.


  • No need to go to court or a lawyer
  • No need to be present in the Netherlands
  • The entire procedure is online and in writing
  • Possible compensation of costs
  • Quick and easy procedure

Can You Apply for a Different Residence Permit?

If you currently have a residence permit based on partnership or marriage, it is possible you have to apply for a different permit before starting the divorce process. Contact the IND for specific information about your options.

Here are some examples:

More Than 5 Years of Residence Permit with a Partner

If you've had a residence permit with your partner for more than 5 years and met all conditions, you might be eligible for an independent residence permit.

Less Than 5 Years of Residence Permit with a Partner

If you've had a permit for less than 5 years, you'll need a new 'residence purpose' to stay in the Netherlands. This could be work, study, or staying with your Dutch children.

Dutch Children

If you have minor Dutch children that you're raising, you may have the right to stay in the Netherlands.


If you have a job, you might be able to apply for a work-based residence permit.

EU Partner

If your partner is from an EU country, EEA country, or Switzerland, but you have a different nationality, your ability to stay in the Netherlands after divorce depends on how long you've lived here.

Turkish Origin

Different rules apply if you're of Turkish origin. You can apply for an independent residence permit after 3 years.

How to Apply for a Different Residence Permit

To apply for a different residence permit, submit a new application for the permit you now want. Visit the IND website for conditions, application procedures, costs, and forms.

If you have a nationality that requires an MVV (Authorization for Temporary Stay), you don't need to apply for a new MVV to request a different residence permit. You can submit the application directly in the Netherlands.

Remember to check the IND website for the most up-to-date information and specific details about your situation.

Over de schrijver
Mijn naam is Mirjam Timmerman en ik ben jurist. Ik ben in 1993 afgestudeerd in het Internationaal recht. Samen met mijn collega, ben ik een van de initiatiefnemers van Stichting Oprecht Scheiden. In onze echtscheidingspraktijk hebben wij dagelijks met scheidingen te maken. Ook privé zien we het scheidingsleed om ons heen. Met onze stichting hebben wij ons ten doel gesteld mensen in een scheidingssituatie zo goed mogelijk te helpen. We houden van ons werk en proberen daarom altijd te streven naar de hoogste kwaliteit. We zorgen voor constante bijscholing en blijven in ons vakgebied op de hoogte van wat speelt. Met onze stichting willen we een platform bieden waar alle informatie over scheiden samenkomt. We vinden dat goed geïnformeerde mensen beter in staat zijn om de juiste beslissingen te nemen. Dat voorkomt veel ruzie en beperkt ook de last die de kinderen hebben van een scheiding.
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