If you leave the Netherlands and your Dutch visa expires while you’re abroad, you will need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands.
If your Dutch visa expires while your abroad, or you must travel before a permit application or extension has been approved, you will need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands.
This might happen if you’re waiting for a decision on a change or extension on an existing permit or your current residence permit is due to expire while you’re out of the country.
What is a Dutch return visa?
This is a visa allowing you back into the Netherlands without a valid residence permit. It’s a national visa, not a short-stay visa for visiting the Netherlands, so you are only allowed to enter other Schengen countries in transit, not stay in them. If you wish to stay (even for a day), then you should contact the immigration authorities of the country you wish to visit and ask whether or not you will need a visa.
Who needs a Dutch return visa?
Anyone whose residence permit is due to run out while they are outside the Netherlands, or who is awaiting a decision on a submitted application:
- to extend a visa/permit or change the purpose of stay;
- for a permanent residence permit;
- for a first permit for a child born in the Netherlands;
- or to replace a lost or stolen document.
If you are waiting to hear back about a first residence permit or an appeal/objection about a rejected application, you can only apply for a return visa if you have an urgent reason to leave the Netherlands, such as illness or death in the family, a marriage or for business purposes.
How to apply for a Dutch return visa
You have to make an appointment at your regional Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) office by calling 088 0430 430 (Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm) from within the Netherlands. Call at least two or three weeks before you want to leave the Netherlands.
When you make the appointment, the IND will confirm which documents you’ll need to bring along but they may include:
- a valid passport/travel ID;
- your current residence permit;
- documents supporting the reason of your trip (if it’s urgent);
- police report if your permit has been stolen;
- appointment code.
You have to pay EUR 143 for a return visa, in cash or by debit card only, when you go to your appointment at the IND, although fees will be reviewed mid-year. For the latest fees, click here.
It takes two weeks to process your application.
What happens next?
If the visa is granted, you will get a sticker in your passport, which allows you to leave and re-enter the Netherlands just once within three months of issue.
If the visa is for business purposes, you may be allowed multiple entries.
How long does the visa last?
Normally, the visa is valid for three months from issue. There are some exceptions, for example, if your residence permit is for ‘study’, and you will be travelling for study purposes, the return visa may be valid for six months. If you have a permanent residence permit, then it’s valid for one year.
For more information
- The complete guide to Dutch visas and permits
- Preparing supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications
The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.