Where is the border? | National Ombudsman

Sophien (not real name) was born in the Netherlands but lives in the United Kingdom (UK). His wife is from there. Sofian quickly moved to England to live with his wife. They had two children there. Sophien still has family in the Netherlands and would like to visit with her family for a long time.

Apply for a visa

From the end of 2020, the UK is no longer part of the European Union. This makes it somewhat difficult for Sophien’s wife and children to stay in the Netherlands for a while. For this they have to apply for a visa. It takes time and money. Sofian can use the EU Family Order online because he is Dutch himself.

Expedited process

The order ensures that they can apply for short-term visas for his wife and children at a lower cost and with a faster procedure. Sophia is happy to have this option and goes to VFS. This agency organizes visa applications in the UK on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ).

No explanation

But Sophian’s request is rejected. His family members do not fall under the EU Family Directive regulations. He has to apply for visa through normal route. Sofian takes another look at the information on the internet and reads it carefully. According to him, his request should have been approved. He also did not receive an explanation from VFS Global and BZ as to why his family members were not eligible. He tries through various aid agencies to get approval. But this also fails. Sofian has been trying to arrange it for almost a year, but never got around to it. Now?

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Check back

Sophian contacts the National Ombudsman. Could they mean anything to him? Our colleague Sema comes to work. He calls our contact person at BZ and asks if he would like to revisit Sofian’s case and explain why his family members are/are not following the rules. BZ is re-examining the case, including information on the EU Family Directive. And guess what: Sofiane was right. His family members are eligible.

Correct the information

It took a long time, but I’m glad Sophian finally got help. BZ also informed Sofian that they will correct the information on their website about this and also inform VFS. I hope other citizens don’t end up in the same trouble as Sophian. A positive result.

The person in the photo is not the person in the text.

This column appeared in De Telegraaf of May 20, 2023.

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