How to Submit a DAFT visa Application
The first step in immigrating from the US to The Netherlands with the DAFT visa
If you’re just discovering the DAFT visa, I have an article that explains what the DAFT visa is and its requirements before proceeding.
Now that you have everything you need to begin your DAFT visa immigration, the very first thing you have to do is make an appointment with the IND and submit your application to get your DAFT visa moving.
You can turn in your DAFT application to the IND either through the mail (you will have to go this route in the Covid-19 pandemic times) or through making an in-person appointment with them. Book your appointment with the IND as soon as possible. I have more information about this step further down this page.
This is where you can click to find the DAFT visa application form: IND DAFT APPLICATION FORM
You’re not going to have everything the application requires right off the bat, and that’s okay. Turn in the application as the first step anyway. You’ll have an opportunity to turn in the additional documents as you progress through the DAFT visa process. It extends your regular 90 day time period you can stay in the EU as a US citizen. So, upon submitting your (unfinished) application, you’ll be able to legally stay in the EU for 6 months instead of 3 months from the date the IND receives it.
For your IND appointment, you will need the following:
- The DAFT application form (you’ll eventually completely fill it out).
- Your valid US passport along with scanned copies of your identity pages and the pages containing your current travel stamps.
- The money you will need to pay for the application fee (check the self-employed person page on the IND website for the latest fee price listed since it changes).
- An appointment code they send to you in an email if you make your appointment online.
Note on paying the fee: In order to pay for the fee you either need to bring it in physical money (Euros) or use a Dutch bank card. The card will be more difficult to use since you need a BSN (basically a Dutch version of a SSN) and at this stage you aren’t able to receive a BSN yet. Unless you know and trust a Dutch citizen, then you can transfer your money from your US bank account to their Dutch bank account prior to your appointment if you wish. In my situation I was able to do this with my partner. If you can’t or don’t want to do this, then cash is your best option.
Side Quest: Transferring Your Money Internationally
Okay folks, we’re going to make a quick detour from discussing the IND appointment and DAFT application! Let’s talk about how you can transfer money internationally from your US bank account to your Dutch bank account. It’s kind of relevant to this step if you’re able to do the suggestion in my Note about the DAFT application fee above. If not, it will still be relevant later on during your DAFT immigration.
There are several ways you can go about transferring your money, though I’ve read many options out there have ridiculously expensive fees. Even my own bank in the US was definitely out of the question. Then I discovered from another individual’s site who also immigrated via DAFT they used Wise, formerly known as TransferWise. The fees that Wise lists are quite low compared to other avenues.
The above mentioned individual covered the comparisons and fees fairly well on their site and it was helpful to me, so I’ll link it here for you to look into if you wish. dutchamericanfriendship.com — Best Way to Transfer Money Internationally.
I’ve used Wise twice since my immigration from the US to The Netherlands and it was a smooth transition each time. At first I was anxious despite checking into Wise’s legitimacy and finding out they were indeed legit. But I didn’t have to worry for very long — the transfer only took a couple of business days (not including weekends). Of course, this also depends on your own bank, but mine didn’t hold it for long. I’ll certainly continue to use them for future transfers.
Back to the IND appointment!
Scheduling your IND Biometrics appointment:
You can make an appointment with them either over the phone or online, though be prepared to wait when you do need to call the IND.
Under normal circumstances I was on hold for as long as 15 minutes. Under extreme circumstances (like a pandemic), there were times I was on hold with them for over 25 minutes and I’d have to call back later. The call times I got lucky with were around or after 10am and sometimes around 4pm (Central European Time zone) on Tuesday through Thursday.
If you would prefer to go the online appointment option or if it’s still the only available option, it’s fairly easy to use. It gives you the choice to pick your preferred IND desk with time slots. Here is their webpage for making an online biometrics appointment: IND Biometrics Appointment.
Tip for booking: If it looks booked, you can choose the closest possible date and check back several times within a day to see if any closer openings become available. They have cancellations on a regular basis. It’s easy to cancel your current appointment via a link in your email and choose a different date or IND desk location.
What to expect at your IND appointment:
At the biometrics appointment, the IND needs to take your photo, fingerprints, and signature. Normally during this appointment they would place a stamp of residence endorsement in your passport and take your application fee payment. However, if you’re trying to do this during Covid-19 pandemic time, you might need to ask the employee helping you about when they can give you the stamp and take your fee. In my case I forgot to ask and had to call them to make an entirely new appointment for the stamp and fee.
You must have the stamp of residence endorsement before you can be officially registered into the Personal Records Database by the Municipality (Gemeente) and receive your BSN (this is the next step in obtaining your DAFT visa).
The IND Letters
You’ll be getting letters from the IND to update you on the information they receive and what you need to do. The letters will be in Dutch, so if you aren’t able to translate it yourself or you don’t know someone who can do so, the google translate app works well enough.
Enclosed within one of your first IND letters are instructions on how to access their online portal, Mijn-IND. It’s where you can upload your remaining documents digitally instead of through the mail. (I did both since I was paranoid).
Wonderful, you’ve finished the first step! If you want to read about my own experience with submitting the DAFT application, continue reading below, otherwise hang tight until I post the next article where I talk about how to apostille your birth certificate, which is relevant for the 2nd step of the DAFT visa: registering with a Dutch municipality! You'll be able to find these articles on my Vocal page.
My personal experience with submitting the DAFT application:
Right after entering The Netherlands in mid-August, I had to send my application to the IND through the mail during my quarantine period since I immigrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Normally I could call them and make an in-person appointment to submit the application + take biometrics + get the special passport stamp and pay the application fee, but this wasn’t possible to do all at once because of the pandemic circumstance.
Submitting the application to the IND is where time starts to really matter. It was like starting a countdown clock. The IND would rather make a decision on your case within 3 months and they preferably want all the required documents within 1 month. Even though you have 6 months before you run out of time, it’s best to not push it beyond 3 or 4 months. I say preferably because this is under normal circumstances and not during a pandemic where all the processes are slowed down.
“Nicole, why on earth did you move to a different country during a pandemic?”
Through-out the process I wondered this myself, and I’ll speak more about my personal reasons another time. In the end I have no regrets about my decision.
- The Appointment -
Once I finished my quarantine, I followed the directions the IND sent to me in a letter and made an appointment online for them to take my biometric data. This was tricky and somewhat dismaying at first since the earliest appointment I could get was October 9th. I was panicking over how a whole month of my time would be consumed by waiting for so long. Luckily there were cancellations daily with new appointment times opening up. I was hopeful every day I checked, and then I was rewarded when an available appointment appeared for August 24th. It was one of the fastest clicks of my life.
It was a quick visit, quite literally just the biometrics and then I returned home. Shortly after I recalled I was supposed to get a stamp of endorsement from the IND in my passport. In my nervousness I completely forgot about mentioning it while doing my biometrics. I had to call the IND back (at this point trying to reach them was insane with wait times), and they fortunately squeezed me in for another appointment at the IND desk within a day or two.
Back at the IND desk! The IND employee I had was incredibly pleasant and helpful, we’ll refer to them as Awesome Employee because they play a bigger role shortly. After the appointment, my partner and I decided we’d do some relaxing sight seeing before returning home.
- The Close Call (sort of) -
Half an hour later I got a voicemail from Awesome Employee saying they forgot to add a piece of the stamp to my passport… the important piece of it, to be exact. My appointment had been scheduled later in the day, so we had to sprint across the city back to the IND office before they closed to avoid yet another trip there. (We lived in a different city from this IND desk location).
We arrived at the IND office a couple minutes after closing time. The door was locked. My veins were burning from stress. And then Lady Luck was generous to me that day when the door opened for an employee to leave. I saw the opportunity. I motioned for my partner to follow behind me, but he, who is normally the bolder of us, was hesitating. And me, who is usually more shy and anxious, in a rush of adrenaline pulled him along with me as we slipped through the closing door. I don’t know what empowered me, but I was determined to get my stamp completed right then and there.
The security personnel were quick to tell us they were closed; I jokingly like to say I felt like we were about to be tackled as if we were in a sports match just to spice up the telling of the event, but they listened to my rush of an explanation and Awesome Employee was still there. They upgraded my passport, we were grateful to Awesome Employee, and we happily made a swift departure. To this day we still chuckle about this encounter.
The lesson learned: sometimes being brave is a foolish thing, while other times it grants you boons. But it always makes for a good story you can tell later.
Hey there! Thank you for reading. If you found any of this information/my experience interesting or helpful, please give it a like and share!
About the Creator
Aspiring Fantasy & Horror Writer. Chaotic Night Owl. Freelancer.
The genres I write in are Poetry, Mental Health, and Immigration via my experience immigrating from the US to The Netherlands.
Find me on FB & Twitter: KismetDragoness
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.