Step-by-step process to getting your MVV
Disclaimer: Everything shared in this post is my own personal experience and may differ from that of another person hoping to relocate to the Netherlands. Please, always do you research and if that does not suffice, contact or visit the embassy for help. You quite literally have to eat, breathe and sleep all things immigration irrespective of the country you want to move to. This blog is specifically targeted towards South Africans wanting to move to the Netherlands.
So, you’ve decided to move. You have thought about it, done your research, found a job – or whatever other reason compels you to move – and now you want to start your process. Great! Luckily for you, you have myself and many others who have gone through this process, so you’re in good hands and don’t have to do this alone.
First and foremost, Facebook is your friend; find the South Africans Wanting to Emigrate to the Netherlands group on Facebook which was recommended to me by a friend and where you can get access to a wealth of information and tips or advice directly from those who have relocated to Dutch waters. At first, I thought it was a bust but I soon myself learning a lot and continued to use Facebook as a tool for gaining authentic insight for my journey to relocating.
How to obtain an MVV + Types of Dutch visas:
Step 1: Gather all relevant documents:
Documents required: unabridged certificate, letter of non-impediment from the Dept. of Home Affairs (this can take several weeks so plan ahead), passport. If you have a sponsor (employer/spouse/family) the processing period will allow them time to also get their respective Dutch documents done – for further information regarding your visa options visit the IND website. You’ll find each type of visa lists the corresponding documents applicants need to submit to the Dutch government in order to get things underway.
Word on the street is that if you’re being sponsored by a company or an EU passport holder – as opposed to just one-manning relocation alone – the process is a lot easier and can be quicker in some cases. Overall, an approved visa can take up to 6 months because… well, it’s South African Home Affairs.
Your unabridged certificate will cost you R50 while the letter of non-impediment will be about R75. Please bear in mind that depending on the type of visa you are applying for; you may be required to include a police clearance certificate (from SAPS) and your tertiary qualification, both of which need to be apostilled by an accredited law firm.
Step 2: Notorise all your documents:
This is mandatory and will typically take about 4 to 6 weeks through government. However, if you go the legal services route and use an attorney, you can have your documents notorised or apostilled within 2 days which is extremely convenient. I obtained the services of Mnguni Attorney in Pretoria where I was charged R750 per page to apostille or notarise. You might want to expend some effort shopping around for different prices as there are some companies that charge exorbitant amounts of money and you’re gonna need to save your coins for what matters most.
Step 3: Prepare for and write the Inburgerings exam:
While you wait for your documents to be notorised, it would be the best time to prepare for your Inburgerings exam, which is super easy. I had the luck of knowing someone was gracious enough to send me links to resources that helped expedite the arduous task of actually studying. If you don’t have someone like that in your corner, fret not! If you attended a school that taught Afrikaans as a second language you should be able to grasp the basics. But if you are like me and knows nothing about the language, just put as many hours into practicing for your exam.
If little old me could do it, then so can you! could do it, you can too. Writing the Inburgerings exam will be dependent on what type of Dutch visa you’re applying for but cost-wise it set us back 150 Euros (about R2600) and the entire thing consists of three parts: the written exam, listening and comprehension and an oral exam. While that may sound daunting, just remember that at some point yours truly had to do it and I passed! Because of the pandemic, it took 90 days to receive my results but rest assured, it’s typically a shorter waiting game. To check whether you need to write the Inburgerings exam visit this website here.
Step 4: Submitting all your documents:
Your sponsor (in this case, my partner) will submit the documents on their side and wait another 90 days to receive a decision. Again, it takes a short time to receive feedback but due to the pandemic, expect delays. They say it will be 90 days, but I waited 8 weeks.
Step 5: Getting you MVV:
Once your visa application is approved, your sponsor will receive an email/ SMS notifying them of a letter of approval. There is a huge rise in South Africans migrating to the Netherlands so make sure that book your MVV appointment online in order to bypass unnecessary headaches. At that, you only have two options: Cape Town and Pretoria. Another important note: do not be confused by VFS – you must go the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You will not be assisted if you miss your appointment or arrive late.
You will also need to take the following with you:
- MVV issue letter which will be sent to you by your sponsor
- Your passport
- Passport photos taken according to the Dutch prerequisites
- You will get your fingerprints done on the day
- Copy of passport of your sponsor
- MVV issue form
- Letter of non-impediment
Mine was ready for collection within two days of dropping it off which is quick. From here on you can book your flights and get your PCR test which should be valid for 48 hours.
Out of this entire process getting an appointment was the WILDEST experience. I initially an appointment in Pretoria but because I wanted to get to Europe before Christmas, we had to opt for Cape Town where slots were still available. I then booked my departure and enlisted DHL Express to ship my passport from the Dutch Embassy in Cape Town to where I was staying in Pretoria. Only for them to not collect it at all! To this day, I will never forgive them for the MASSIVE inconvenience and financial loss caused by DHL, and I would highly suggest that you use a different courier service provider to avoid any nasty surprises. No one from DHL even escalated the matter!
One important takeaway from this entire experience is that: you should always have plan B and expect the unexpected. You can never have control over everything and if Omicron was anything to go by, such sentiments have never rung more truly. You also need to have patience and a solid support system – I was lucky to have my friends, family and most importantly, my partner throughout this.
One last thing to add: DO NOT relocate overseas unless you really want and are ready to. It takes a lot to up and leave the life you know behind to start over somewhere else.
Be sure you stay tuned for Part 3, the final post of this series. (Find Part 1 here)