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Moving to the Netherlands: Guide to Dutch visas and permits

31st July 2013, Comments8 comments

Moving to the Netherlands: Guide to Dutch visas and permits
Find which Dutch visa or permit you need to visit, live, work or study in the Netherlands.

You may need to apply for a visa or other permit if you are considing moving, living, studying or working in the Netherlands – but which one's the right one for you and what will it allow you to do?

The Netherlands is one of 26 countries making up the ‘Schengen' area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. They have one common visa and no border controls between them.

If you have dual nationality (and passports), whether or not you need a visa depends on which travel document you'll be using to travel to the Netherlands (even if you're not living there at the time of travel).

The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) – see below for contact details.

Do you need a visa at all?

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens
If you're a citizen from one of the countries in the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland, you don't need a visa to visit, live, work or study in the Netherlands ­– however long you stay.

For stays longer than three months, you are expected to register with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and get a registration certificate, which is valid indefinitely. It's not obligatory to obtain a residence certificate, but it's useful to have one as banks, utility companies, government organisations and employers often ask for them. You don't need a work permit, either.

For more information, read:

Bulgarian, Romanian and Croatian nationals

If you're from Bulgaria, Romania or Croatia, and intend to stay in the Netherlands for longer than three months, you cannot register like other EU citizens. Instead, you need to apply for verification against EU law and a certificate of lawful residence (proof of legal residence in the Netherlands).

For more information, read:

Partners and close relatives of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you're a close relative (e.g. spouse, partner, grandparent or child under 21) of an EU/EEA/Swiss national who is living in the Netherlands (but are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national yourself), and you want to join him or her, you also have the right to live and work in the Netherlands without the need for a permit.

However, you will need to apply for verification against EU law and a certificate of lawful residence (proof of legal residence). This is a document that proves you are allowed to stay in the Netherlands lawfully, and that you can work without restriction in any sector without the need for an employer to hold a work permit in your name.

For more information, read about: 

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals – and their partners and close relatives
If you're a close relative (e.g. spouse, registered partner over 21, or child under 18) of a non-EU/EEA or Swiss national who already has permission to live and work in the Netherlands, you will still need a visa: a provisional residence permit (MVV) and/or temporary residence permit.

The MVV is an entry visa which is required by certain nationalities to legally enter the Netherlands; the residence permit allows you to stay and, possibly, to work. Whether or not you are allowed to work will depend on the employment status of your relative.

If you are over 18, you cannot come to the Netherlands for the purpose of staying with your relative but must have another reason, for example, you have a job, want to work as an au pair or are enrolled in study (see below for permits for different purposes of stay).

For more information, read:

Permits for working in the Netherlands

Unless you are from an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland (or you're a close relative of someone who is, regardless of your own nationality), if you want to work in the Netherlands, you will usually only be able to do so if the employer has obtained a work permit in your name. The work permit (sometimes known as a TWV) is in addition to the residence permit, and only an employer can apply for one on your behalf.

There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, if you come to the Netherlands as a ‘highly skilled migrant', or as a graduate spending a year searching for work, or as a scientific researcher, you can work without a work permit.

In some cases, family members can also work without the need for an employer to hold a work permit in their name as well. See the information on specific residence permits (below) to find out whether you will or won't need a work permit, depending on which permit is applicable to your situation.

Getting residency in the Netherlands: Dutch residence permits

Visas and permits overview

Short stay visas
If you will be stopping briefly in the Netherlands (even for a few hours) en route to another destination or staying for up to three months, depending on your nationality you may need to get a short stay visa. There are two types of short stay visa: the A-visa and the C-visa.

The A-visa is for transit only and is needed by passengers of certain nationalities who are making a stopover in a Dutch airport en route to another country, outside of the Schengen area. It only allows you into the international zone of a Dutch airport. If you are leaving the airport, even for a day, you will need to get a short stay C-visa.

The C-visa (sometimes called a ‘tourist visa') allows you to stay in the Netherlands (or any other country in the Schengen area) for up to three months (90 days) within a six-month period. During this time you can work if your employer has a work permit in your name but you can't apply for a residence permit on this visa. You have to leave the Netherlands and apply from your home country.

For more information, read:

Provisional residence permits (MVV) and temporary residence permits

Unless you're a national from an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland (or you're the close relative of someone who is), you will have to apply for a provisional residence permit (MVV) and/or residence permit – and may have to take an integration exam – if you want to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months.

You might not need an MVV (it depends on your nationality), which is a visa allowing entry into the Netherlands (and to other countries in the Schengen area for up to three months within a six-month period), but you will need a residence permit, which allows you to stay and to work there. As such, certain nationalities need to apply for an MVV and residence permit; others will only need to apply for a residence permit.

As of 1 June 2013 you (or a sponsor) can apply for the MVV and residence permit in a single application via the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). Once the MVV has been granted you can travel to the Netherlands and collect your residence permit when you arrive. If you don't need an MVV, you (or a sponsor) can apply for the residence permit in your home country through the TEV procedure (and collect it on arrival in the Netherlands), or in person through an IND desk in the Netherlands. You won't be able to work in the Netherlands until you have collected the residence permit.

To check whether you need an MVV or can apply directly for a residence permit, and for information on the application processes, see

Different types of residence permits
You can apply for a residence permit for different purposes of stay. Each has its own conditions, requirements, restrictions and length of validity. For more information, read the relevant article depending on your individual circumstances:

Return visa

If you're already in the Netherlands and wish to leave the country temporarily but your current residence permit expires while you're away, or you have a pending visa application (say to replace a lost residence document or a change of purpose of stay), you may need a return visa to get back into the Netherlands. The validity of the visa depends on your circumstances, and can range from three months up to a year.

For more information, read:

Permanent residence

Once you have been living in the Netherlands for five uninterrupted years, you can apply for permanent residence.

For more information, read:

Moving to the Netherlands: Getting a Dutch residence permit, Dutch permit application

Many people will have a sponsor ­­– a person or organisation – who has an interest in them coming to the Netherlands (such as an employer, education institution or family member). The sponsor may act on your behalf and submit residence permit applications and lodge objections or appeals if an application is rejected. Some organisations can (or indeed, must) be ‘recognised' or registered with the IND (who hold a list of recognised sponsors). These recognised sponsors have certain legal obligations, including a duty to inform IND of any changes (e.g. change of employer), keep administrative records, and be responsible for repatriation costs if someone overstays their visa.

Renewing or changing your residence permit

If you hold a residence permit, the IND will contact you shortly before it expires and you may have the opportunity to extend it (although, not all permits are extendable). If you can't extend it but want to stay in the Netherlands, you will have to apply for a new residence permit – or leave the country.

For more information, read:


Lost or stolen documents

If your permit is lost or stolen, you can apply to the IND for a replacement. You'll have to submit a copy of your passport, the police report and a passport photo, along with other documents pertinent to your own situation (e.g. proof of employment), translated and legalised (see 'Preparing supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications'). It costs a fee to process this – as much as EUR 250, depending on what document has been lost or stolen. For the latest fees, click here. Allow eight weeks for the IND to respond.

The Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND)

For specific queries about your own situation, or to find out where your local IND desk is within the Netherlands, visit the IND website or call 0900 1234561 (EUR 0.10/minute from a landline), Mondays to Fridays, 9.00am–5.00pm. From outside the Netherlands, call +31 20 889 3045.



Note: The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.

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8 comments on this article Add a comment

  • 11th September 2013, 11:46:02 diana posted:
    Sign up for getting Citizenship from NL, and you are signing up for giving up all of the wealth you will accumulate over your life. Here's why:

    - if you keep a PR (permanent residency card) while remain keeping your home country Passport, then, once you leave NL, the dutch Tax man will not chase your kid for paying 30-40% inheritance tax when you die.

    - if you do become Dutch, well, then, no matter how far you go, the Dutch tax man will chase you to the moon to make sure he collects ANNUALLY 1.2% on your wealth (starts from having 20k on a bank) AND he will tax you 30-40% on whatever wealth you leave behind when you die, even if you die outside NL. So imagine you bought a house in NL and paid it off: Mr Tax will chase your kid and make him sell it to cough up the tax amount.

    Additionally, don't even think becoming Dutch will give you access to welfare, because there is 'trick'. As soon as you own a house they set up this rule which says you no longer get access to ANY welfare or benefit due to your owning a house.

    So if you must, why not get an EU Blue Card (PR allowing you to move anywher in EU). That way, you get all the perks and do not have to become the new milking cow of the wonderful 'welcoming' dutch :)

    So now you know the price of becoming a DUTCH. :)
  • 5th October 2013, 18:37:17 Muhammad Adnan posted:
    [Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]
  • 28th December 2013, 11:11:59 Ilynia posted:
    I read on the WHO site 'Globocan' that out of all industrialized countries the Netherlands have the worst survival rates on cancer!
    Apparently 70% of the residents will die of cancer in NL after treatment in their hospitals. This is not even as high as in my country Romania where the rate of getting cancer is nowhere near 70% (we have less processed food in our stores). I would urge you to reconsider Dutch nationality because of their poor hospitals and bad food on sale.
    A while ago, the Dutch meat industry tried to blame us Romanians for passing horse meat as normal beef, while in the end, it turned out to be some greedy DUTCH who set up the entire scam on his own.
    What kind of person feeds his own population poison, we Romanians are speechless....
  • 1st July 2014, 20:30:22 Dev posted:
    A foreign and Dutch dual citizen can enter and stay permanently in the Netherlands even if they only have a foreign passport, provided they have a "Statement of Possession of Dutch Citizenship (Verklaring behoud Nederlanderscap)" from a Dutch Consulate. See http://www.rsonac.org/other-services/1---statements/statement-of-nationality-dutch-citizenship
    We found out that the Dutch Immigration does not stamp foreign passports when this statement is shown to them and one is admitted as a Dutch citizen for permanent stay. Hence a Dutch passport is not necessary.
  • 27th August 2014, 20:22:12 Racha posted:
    I'm Egyptian girl and i badly need to move to Holland. how can i do this? and is the requirements so hard to achieve like many other Schengen countries? please advise me. thank you in advance.
  • 21st September 2014, 04:52:10 kobby posted:
    I staying in the netherlands illegal with ny partner who is with legal documents.we have one child who was jux born sm months ago.is there anything i can do to have my le g al stay in the netherlands since my partn er is not willing to marry me with her documents.nw my son has the residence permit.
  • 21st September 2014, 18:07:03 Anday posted:
    If you are illegal, BE HAPPY!!!!!!

    You never pay tax on your job!!! the people will pay you the SAME money for your work (like cleaning job) and you can keep ALL the money and not pay any tax. The cleaners who clean with 'legal documents', they get the same salary and pay 52% tax from this salary.

    So if you are in NL, and you can clean, just do it, because nobody will ask you any papers! When you rent a room, nobody will ask you papers! when you receive your money for your job, nobody will ask you papers!

    Just don't open bank account, and don't trust the Dutch people (don't become friend with them). Because they are very jalous. When they hear that you don't pay so much tax, like them, they will be very angry and make your life difficult.
    But if you keep your mouth shut, and just do your work, you will make MORE MONEY THAN ANYBODY WHO IS LOCAL WITH PAPERS - you will even earn MORE than an Indian 'skill migrant' IT worker, who receives special visa to work, because they pay this High skill migrant relatively bad (even if he gets 51.000 euro, he must pay tax, so he will get almost nothing in his hand, around 2700 euro per month). You can easily make this money if you go cleaning, AND you never have to work extra hours (like in IT job, they will abuse you, and ask you to work 12hr per day)

    Holland is the worst country where to work legal. Because the tax is crazy high. When you die, and you are legal, they come take 40% Inheritance tax and force your children to pay it.
  • 13th October 2014, 14:50:54 Alan posted:
    what if someone loses the job (under highly skilled permit) , will the work permit will be cancelled and the worker has to return to her country or she can stay till find another job?

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