In principle, an application for an extension or change of the residence permit must be submitted before the expiry date of the last residence permit. At that time, the IND must also have received all information to be able to assess whether the conditions are met. If the application or the necessary proof was not submitted in time (after the expiry date of the residence permit), this almost always resulted in a residence gap. A residence gap means that you have to start all over again with building up residence rights for a permanent residence permit or Dutch nationality and you are still bound by the restriction of the residence permit for another five years. Furthermore, a residence gap can also have consequences for the right to social benefits or other allowances and the right to work, for which it is required that one has (uninterrupted) lawful residence. Such a residence gap often leads to disproportionate and unjust situations.
With reference to ‘the human dimension’, the IND has decided to adjust the procedure for extension applications. On the basis of this policy, exceeding the term does not longer automatically result in a residence gap. If an application and all necessary information is submitted within four weeks of the expiry of the last residence permit, exceeding the term will have no consequences and the new residence permit will be granted consecutively. Of course, this only applies if the conditions of that residence permit are met. In that case, the IND will no longer ask for the reason for the late submission. If the application is submitted after this four-week period, the IND must, on the basis of this new policy, investigate the reason for the late application and assess whether exceeding the term is excusable. In that case, it depends on the circumstances of the case whether or not a residence gap arises.
Does this new, more accomodating, policy also apply to renewal requests that have already been decided upon before this policy? Scheers Advocatuur argued in an appeal procedure that this is a question of proportionality and that the IND was also obliged to take proportional decisions before this policy. The IND has now, without waiting for the outcome of the appeal, revoked the decision with a residence gap and made a new decision, in which the residence permit was consecutively extended. In that case the residence gap has been resolved. The IND therefore also applies the new, more flexible policy to older cases, at least if legal remedies have been used on time.
For more information about applications to extend and change residence permits and residence gaps, please contact Scheers Advocatuur.