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All European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals are entitled to stay in the Netherlands without a Dutch residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). Their passport or ID card is sufficient proof of their rightful stay. The EEA comprises EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.
Nationals from outside the EEA and Switzerland
For nationals from outside the EEA and Switzerland there are several possible situations. Some examples are:
- Entrepreneurs who intend to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months, will usually need to apply to the Dutch Embassy or Consulate for a provisional residence permit (Machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf or MVV) and a residence permit at the same time.
- Ambitious entrepreneurs (start-ups) who want to start an innovative business in the Netherlands may apply for a 1-year residence permit as starting entrepreneur. To be eligible for this start-up scheme, various conditions apply. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency checks and evaluates the start-up. If they have completed the conditions for obtaining a residence permit for freelancers/self-employed professionals and have a formal statement from their supervisor, they may obtain the residence permit.
- Migrants who intend to work as an employee in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months, will usually need a GVVA (paid employment single permit). This is a combined permit to stay and work. For stays up to 3 months, or in some cases students, they will need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV) as well as a separate residence permit.
- Highly skilled migrants who are employed by a recognised sponsor and meet the income requirements are eligible for a residence permit, but do not need a work permit.
- Foreign investors who want to live in the Netherlands need to satisfy additional conditions, among others a minimum investment sum of €1.25 million in a Dutch company and an obvious added value to the Dutch economy. Read all the conditions.
Both residence permits and GVVA are issued by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND). Please check the IND website or contact them for more information on Netherlands visa applications and to find out what applies to your specific situation.
Provisional residence permit (MVV) versus residence permit
Before you can apply for a Dutch residence permit, you usually require a provisional residence permit (Machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf or MVV). This is a visa that lets you enter the Netherlands and stay for longer than 90 days. Both individuals or Dutch employers (sponsors) can apply for a provisional residence permit on behalf of their employee or employees. You apply for the provisional residence permit and the residence permit at the same time. In some cases, you do not need a provisional residence permit.
When you apply for a provisional residence permit or a residence permit, there are costs involved, for instance for drawing up and legalising documents. The costs depend on the country you come from. For more information, please contact the authorities in your own country. Be aware that if your application is denied, there will be no refund.
Registering with your municipality
Generally, if you intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, you must register with the municipality you are going to live in. You must do so within 5 days after your arrival. If you decide to leave the Netherlands for more than 8 months, you are required to deregister.
Residency rights of British citizens after Brexit
On 31 January 2020 the UK has left the European Union, which marks the start of the transition period until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK is no longer a member of the EU, but will still be subject to EU regulations. If you are a British citizen or you employ British citizens, British residency rights will change after this transition period. For the latest information check the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Brexit page.