What is the Dutch ‘startup visa’?
The residence permit for startups allows ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. It gives entrepreneurs 1 year to launch their innovative business. It is mandatory to receive guidance from an experienced facilitator. This support helps you to grow from a startup into an operating business. It is a win-win situation for the entrepreneur and Dutch society at large: you have a successful business, and the Dutch economy benefits.
How do you apply?
You or your facilitator in the Netherlands can apply for the residence permit for startups. This is done via the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND). Your facilitator can apply online. If you apply yourself, you must submit the application form by post. Doing so involves providing information about yourself. As well as your step-by-step plan, which explains how you plan to go from your idea to a company. This is assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
Startup entrepreneurs still living abroad can submit their application for a residence permit to the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where they are living. This may or may not involve also applying for a provisional residence permit (mvv). Check IND's information for foreign startups. When you enter your nationality, you will see if you need to apply for a provisional residence permit.
There is an mvv exception for startup entrepreneurs from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, and Switzerland. These entrepreneurs can apply directly to the IND using the application form on the website.
Foreign nationals who have a valid residence permit and who wish to change their residence permit to a residence permit for startup entrepreneurs can also use that application form.
You must pay the application fee when applying for the residence permit for startups.
Conditions for the residence permit for startups
For the assessment, the IND consults with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. There are 5 conditions that you will have to satisfy:
The application procedure can take a maximum of 3 months.
If your application is approved, you will be asked to pick up your provisional residence permit (mvv) at the Dutch consulate or embassy. Once you arrive in the Netherlands, you will be told when and where to collect your temporary residence permit. This can be an IND office or one of the Expat Centers in the Netherlands.
Residence arrangement for essential personnel for startups
Do you need to hire certain highly skilled foreign experts, essential to the development and growth of your startup? As of 1 June 2021, startups can apply for a residence arrangement for essential personnel for startups. This 4-year pilot project makes hiring essential foreign personnel easier and faster. For example, your startup does not have to meet the recognised sponsor requirement that applies to the residence permit for highly skilled migrants. There are other conditions you need to fulfil to apply for the residence arrangement.
What happens at the end of year 1?
The residence permit for startups allows you to stay in the Netherlands and work as an entrepreneur for a maximum of 1 year. At the end of year 1, you can apply for a residence permit on a self-employed basis. Or another type of residence permit, provided you meet its conditions.
Residence permits in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the IND is responsible for issuing residence permits. Generally, rules and regulations vary depending on whether you are an EU or non-EU national, and on how long you are planning to stay.
If you do not have EU, EEA, or Swiss nationality, and are coming to the Netherlands to live here and work as an entrepreneur, you will need a residence permit. Depending on your country of origin, you may need to apply for a provisional residence permit and a temporary residence permit. Use the ‘Coming to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur’ tool to find out what applies to your situation.
You may also need a residence permit if you come to the Netherlands as an employee. Your employer will have to apply to the Employee Insurance Agency's (UWV) work placement branch for a work permit. A one-stop shop procedure allows you to apply for a single permit. This is a work permit and a residence permit in one.
You need to have a residence permit to register your business at the Chamber of Commerce KVK. See step 1: