Certain nationalities require a Dutch visa to enter the Netherlands, plus a Dutch residence permit to live in the Netherlands for longer than three months.
If you want to enter the Netherlands or live in the Netherlands longer than three months, you will need to see if you require a Dutch visa or residence permit for legal stay.
To be allowed entry into the Netherlands, you may need to obtain a provisional residence permit (MVV) before you leave your home country, although some nationalities are exempt. Additionally, you may also need to apply for a Dutch residence permit to be able to continue living in the Netherlands long-term.
This guide answers some important questions about Dutch permits:
- Who doesn’t need a Dutch permit?
- An explanation of provisional residence permits (MVV) and Dutch residence permits
- Who is exempt from requiring the MVV permit?
- Do you need to take a civic integration exam before you apply?
- Do you need a sponsor?
- General requirements to qualify for a Dutch permit
- The application procedure: where to apply, documents, fee and timeframe
- What happens next: successful and rejected applications
- What happens if your permit isn’t ready on time?
- Once you have your permit: working, validity and if your circumstances change
- Contact the IND
Who doesn’t need a Dutch permit?
If you are a citizen from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland you can travel freely to the Netherlands without requiring any visa or residence permit. However, you will need to register with the local authorities if you plan to stay long-term. Read more about EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to the Netherlands.
If you are a family member of an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you can also come to the Netherlands but must apply for verfication against EU law. Read about the application procedure in our guide for joining EU/EEA/Swiss family.
If you are not from the EU/EEA/Switzerland, nor a family member of someone who is, you will typically need a Dutch residence permit.
Entry permits and residence permits for the Netherlands
If you are not an EU/EEA or Swiss national, and you intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, you will typically require a Dutch residence permit. However, if you do not fall in an exempt category (listed below), instead you are required to apply for a combined provisional residence permit (MVV) to enter the Netherlands plus a residence permit, and you may be required to take an integration exam beforehand.
Since 2013, you (or a sponsor in the Netherlands) can apply for the MVV and residence permit in a single application via the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). If you are exempt from the MVV requirement, you or your sponsor can apply for a residence permit while you are still abroad, or you can opt to apply for your residence permit once you are already in the Netherlands, since you do not require a provisional residence permit to enter the Netherlands.
It is important to note, however, that if you are MVV exempt, you must apply for your residence permit within 90 days after your arrival in the Netherlands or any country in the Schengen area. After 90 days you must be in possession of a residence permit, or have applied for a residence permit, or you will be in the Netherlands illegally.
Do you need an entry permit (MVV)?
Not everyone needs an MVV in order to enter the Netherlands and apply for a Dutch residence permit.
You will need to apply for an MVV unless:
- you (or a close relative) are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland;
- you already hold a valid Dutch residence permit;
- you already hold a ‘long-term residence permit EC’ issued by another European Community (EC) state;
- you already hold a residence permit in another country that is part of the Schengen area;
- you already hold a residence permit/Blue Card for 18 months in another EC state;
- you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America or the Vatican City;
- your child (under 12) was born in the Netherlands and you have lawful residence in the Netherlands.
As mentioned above, if you do not require an MVV, you can apply for a residence permit directly, either abroad or in the Netherlands.
If you do require an MVV but don’t apply for one, and instead only apply for a residence permit, your application will be refused.
Before you apply: Civic integration exam abroad
If you are aged 18–65, and your nationality requires you to apply for an MVV, you may need to pass a civic integration examination in your home country beforehand. This is a three-part test of your knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch society, which you can take via a computer at your Dutch embassy or consulate.
There are exemptions to this requirement, including:
- Turkish nationals;
- those applying for a residence permit for adoption, paid employment, as independent persons under an international treaty, exchange, au pair, study or medical treatment;
- those holding certain qualifications, including higher education diplomas/university degrees, civic integration certificates and Dutch language qualifications.
The exam currently costs EUR 150. To find out what the exam entails and how to prepare for it, see www.naarnederland.nl. To find practice exams and how to register, see en.inburgeren.nl. Once you have passed the exam, you have one year to apply for the MVV.
In many cases, you will have a sponsor, which is a person or organisation – such as an employer or educational establishment, or a family member – with an interest in you coming to the Netherlands. The sponsor can – and in some cases, must – apply on your behalf and can lodge objections or appeal if your application is refused.
Sponsors also have certain legal obligations, such as informing the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) if your circumstances change, keeping administrative records about you and even paying repatriation costs if you outstay your visa and have to return home.
General requirements for Dutch residence permits
To qualify for the MVV and/or Dutch residece permit, you will need to fulfil certain general conditions:
- You must have a passport or identity document (ID) valid for the duration of your stay.
- You must ‘not constitute a risk to public order, national peace or national security’.
- You must be able to prove you have ‘sufficient means’ during your stay, by providing evidence of your income with pay slips/salary statements, official documents showing shares if you are a company director, or a letter from your benefits agency if you’re receiving benefits. For the latest figures on expected level of income, click here.
- To travel to the Netherlands you must have travel insurance for the entire Schengen area, and upon arrival in the Netherlands, you must have or obtain health insurance that will cover you while you are residing in the Netherlands.
- You must have a ‘purpose of stay’ – and prove it. For example, if your purpose is work, you will have to produce your employment contract, or if you are coming to join a partner or relative (for the purpose of family reunification), you will have to show a marriage or civil partnership certificate or proof of family ties.
- You must agree to take a test for tuberculosis within three months of your arrival in the Netherlands, and to have treatment if you are found to have the disease. If you do not take the test within this time your resident permit could be withdrawn. You are exempt from this obligation if you:
- are a national from an EU/EEA state, or from a country that is on the list of exempted nationalities;
- have a valid resident permit from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland; or
- have an EC residence permit for long-term residents issued by another EU state (or are a family member of a long-term resident who has been allowed entry into another EU county on that basis).
There will also be additional specific requirements according to your purpose of stay and individual circumstances. See below.
How to apply for a Dutch permit
MVV and residence permit combined
You can submit your application yourself using the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) via the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country or ‘country of continuous residence’ (ie. where you have legally stayed continuously for at least three months).
Alternatively, if you have a sponsor in the Netherlands, the sponsor can apply for the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) on your behalf by filling in the application form, collecting the relevant documents from you and sending it all to the IND.
In certain cases, your sponsor must apply for the TEV procedure on your behalf, for example, if your purpose of stay is study, or employment as a highly skilled migrant.
Residence permit only
You or your sponsor can opt to apply for a temporary residence permit with the IND while you are outside the Netherlands. Otherwise you should apply within 90 days of your arrival in the Netherlands.
You will need to go in person to your local IND desk, or apply for the residence permit via post. See www.ind.nl for contact details.
Completing the form and accompanying documents
You (or your sponsor) will have to provide information about your purpose of stay, provide evidence to support your application, and you and/or certain people associated with your stay (sponsors/employer/accountant/medic) must sign various declarations contained within the appendices of the application form. For specific information about what is required for different types of permits, there are links below for each type of purpose of stay.
If you are submitting foreign documents, these must be legalised or authenticated by a government authority in the originating country. All documents must also be in Dutch, English, French or German. If not, they must be translated by a translator sworn in by a Dutch court, and submitted along with the original documents. For more information on legalisation and translating documents, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
You must pay a fee to process your application. The fee is not for the permit itself, so it’s important to be aware that if your application is rejected you will not receive a refund.
If you’re applying at a Dutch embassy or consulate, you will need to confirm with the diplomatic post the payment method that will be accepted. If you apply to the IND by post, they will send you payment instructions once your application is received. If you apply in person at an IND desk, you are required to pay the fee in full, by cash or Dutch debit card at your appointment. For current fees, click here.
The IND’s legal processing time is 90 days but if your application is filed by a sponsor recognised by the IND, processing times can be as short as two weeks. To check progress during this time, you can call the IND public information centre (make a note of your V-number or case file number beforehand to speed things up).
For general and specific queries, you can contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad. The IND’s twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.
What happens next?
If you are granted the MVV/residence permits, you (or your sponsor) will receive written confirmation that your application has been successful. You must collect your MVV within three months after the approval at the Dutch embassy or consulate. The MVV sticker will be put into your passport (make sure your passport is valid for at least an additional three months longer than the MVV). Once you have collected the MVV, you will have three months from the commencement date shown on the sticker to travel to the Netherlands.
If you are granted a residence permit, you will be required to collect it at an IND office in the Netherlands. The permit will contain your personal information, V-number, purpose of stay, end-of-stay date, and your work status (whether and how you are allowed to work).
If your application is rejected, and you are eligible to register an objection, the letter containing the decision to reject your application will state the next steps to file an objection. You usually have four weeks to write to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), setting out the reasons why you disagree with their decision. You can either file the objection yourself, or have a legal/authorised representative or lawyer file it on your behalf. You can apply for legal aid if necessary. The IND’s legal processing time for objections is 19 weeks. If the IND rejects your objections, you can take your case to appeal to a Dutch court.
If your residence permit is not ready
If you have applied for a Dutch residence permit only and it’s not ready, you can get a ‘residence endorsement’ sticker put into your passport from the IND. This will allow you to stay in the Netherlands while you await the outcome of your application. The sticker will state whether you are authorised to work during your application process.
Once you have been granted your residence permit
Once you have entered the Netherlands and once you have received your residence permit, all non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must register at the Municipal Administration (BRP) in their area within five working days.
You can only start work once you have collected your residence permit with authorisation to work or have the ‘residence endorsement’ sticker in your passport stating you are authorised to work. Not all residence permits grant work authorisation automatically; whether or not you can work will depend on your personal circumstances. In certain cases your employer will need to hold a work permit in your name. Working in the Netherlands without proper work authorisation can lead to significant fines.
How long is the residence permit valid?
Once you have collected the MVV, you can enter and leave the Netherlands (and other Schengen countries) for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. Your Dutch residence card should be available during that time, and once collected it will replace the MVV.
The residence permit can be granted for up to five years, depending on individual circumstances. It may be possible to extend your residence permit but in some cases you cannot, for example, if your purpose of stay is to work as an au pair, as a seasonal worker, on a working holiday exchange programme, or to gain work experience after graduating. Find out if you can extend your permit.
If you cannot extend your existing permit and you want to stay in the Netherlands, you must apply for a new residence permit with a different purpose of stay. Our complete guide to Dutch visas and permits will tell you if you’re eligible to apply for a residence permit with a different purpose of stay (or view the list of different residence permits below).
If your circumstances change
Certain changes – for example, if you get a new job or change university – require you (or your sponsor) to inform the IND but do not require you to change your residence permit.
Other, more substantial changes – for example, changes in your family/marriage situation or a change in purpose of stay, for example, from employment to study – may require you to apply to the IND for a new residence permit. The IND will assesses your application to determine whether or not you fulfil the requirements of the new purpose of stay.
Residence permits for different categories of people and different purposes of stay each have their own requirements, conditions, restrictions and length of validity. Read more in complete guide to Dutch visas and permits, or below:
- Joining a relative or spouse who is from EU/EEA/Switzerland
- Joining a relative or spouse who is a non-EU/EEA/Swiss family member
- Residence permits for employees
- Residence permits for self-employed/freelancer/entrepreneur
- Residence permits for highly skilled migrants
- Residence permits for scientific researchers
- Residence permits for seasonal/short-term contract workers
- Residence permits for study purposes
- Residence permits for graduates’ orientation year: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degree graduates
- Residence permits for au pairs
- Residence permits for exchange programmes
- Dutch permanent residence in the Netherlands (after five years)
The Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND)
For queries or to make an appointment, you can contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad.
7600 AG ALMELO
The IND’s twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.
This information is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.