People living in the area of Turkey devastated by last week’s earthquake will be given fast-track visas if they need to stay with relatives in the Netherlands temporarily, the foreign affairs ministry has confirmed.
Foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said last week he would study the temporary visa regulations introduced in Belgium and Germany before deciding what to do.
The ministry said people applying for short-term visas from the earthquake zone in Turkey would be given priority. The arrangements for people travelling from Syria are unchanged.
Hundreds of visa applications have been received in the nine days since the disaster struck, which would ordinarily take weeks or months to process.
The ministry has not decided whether to relax the conditions for short-stay visas, such as the requirement for a family member to act as a guarantor for any costs incurred, including medical expenses.
Last week the immigration service IND promised to look more sympathetically at visa applications from the earthquake zone and suspend the fees for people who are working or studying in the Netherlands and want to return to the country.
In addition, people visiting on short-term visas will be able to extend them beyond the 180-day period if they are unable to return.
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