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Expat Destination Netherlands: Visa Info

Do you associate the Netherlands with tulips, windmills, and cheese? In fact, there’s a lot more worth knowing before moving to the Netherlands: read on to broaden your general knowledge of the country and learn all about visa and residency requirements for moving to the Netherlands.
Popular expat destinations in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.

Retrieving Your Dutch Visa

If you are a citizen of one of the EU/EEA member states, you do not need a visa to move to the Netherlands. However, non-EU citizens require a residence permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf — MVV) if their stay exceeds 90 days. However, this excludes citizens from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Canada, the US, and Vatican City. Residence permits are valid for one year. To apply for a residence permit, contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst — IND) and submit the application form at the IND. The verification of the documents in your country can take up to 90 days.

Non-EU citizens also require a work permit in order to be able to work in the Netherlands. Your employer will have to apply on your behalf at the UWV Werkbedrijf. The company has to prove that no EU citizen is qualified or willing to fill the position instead. Alternatively, you may also apply for a work permit after your arrival. Be aware, however, that you are not allowed to work until your permit is granted, which could take up to three months.

If you are not sure which type of visa you need, you can use the Dutch Immigration Services website to find out more.

Visas for the Self-Employed

As a self-employed expat, you must meet certain conditions to qualify for a visa:

  • You must have a valid passport.
  • You must have health insurance which covers you in the Netherlands.
  • You must not be a risk to public order.
  • You must be willing to undergo a tuberculosis test upon arrival.
  • You must have sufficient funds.
  • You must meet the legal requirements for practicing your profession, including providing your business license and company bank statement of the latest six months.
  • You must prove that you contribute to the country’s economy and show your Income Tax Return (ITR).

Your visa application is then reviewed on the basis of your personal experience, your business plan, and the material economic purpose of your business.

The ‟International City of Peace and Justice”: The Hague

The Hague, aka the “International City of Peace and Justice”, is home to many expats due to the presence of more than 150 international organizations. Most of them are of a judicial nature, strengthening the city’s reputation as the legal capital of the world. This legacy dates back to 1899, when the world’s first peace conference resulted in the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Other organizations include the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and Europol, to name a few.

As the seat of the Dutch Royal Court and Government, The Hague is also home to many foreign journalists, politicians, and civil servants. All foreign embassies and government ministries are situated in The Hague. The city also hosts the European Library and numerous academic institutions devoted to the study of international law.

Amsterdam and Rotterdam

Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ largest city and its financial and cultural capital. The headquarters of many Dutch corporations and institutions are located here, as are the regional headquarters and branches of multinational corporations and financial institutions. After all, Amsterdam is home to the world’s oldest stock exchange.

Both in size and economic importance, it is closely followed by Rotterdam, an immensely vibrant and multicultural city. Europe’s largest port is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Europe”, due to its strategic location in an extensive network of waterways reaching all across the continent. As a result, Rotterdam is widely recognized as an international commercial center.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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