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In the Netherlands, we issue visas to people from outside the European Union (EU) looking to start a business. This startup visa is a residence permit which is valid for a maximum of one year. In this year, you'll be expected to produce or introduce an innovative new product or service under the guidance of an experienced facilitator. Also see the guide for launching an innovative start-up in the Netherlands.
The startup visa scheme makes it possible for ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. This is referred to as a start-up visa. The start-up visa scheme allows entrepreneurs for a maximum of one year to get an innovative new business off the ground. It is mandatory to receive guidance from an experienced facilitator. This support helps you to grow from a startup into a fully fledged 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 I apply?
You or your facilitator can submit your application for a startup visa to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND), using the application form form on their website. Doing so involves providing information about yourself, your business plan and your proposed method of operation.
Start-up entrepreneurs still residing abroad can submit their application for a residence permit to the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where they are living.
There is an exception for start-up entrepreneurs of Australian, Canadian, Japanese, New Zealand, USA and South Korean nationality. These entrepreneurs can submit an application directly with the IND using the application form on the website.
Foreign nationals who have a valid residence permit and wish to change their residence permit to a residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs can also use that application form.
The application fee must be paid upon submitting the application. The residence permit can be collected from the IND office or one of the Expat Centers in the Netherlands.
Conditions for a start-up visa
For the assessment, the IND consults with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederlad, RVO), part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. There are five conditions that you'll have to satisfy:
If your application is approved, you'll receive a message that you can pick up your provisional residence permit at the Dutch consulate or embassy. Once you come to the Netherlands, you will receive a letter when and where to collect your startup visa.
What happens at the end of Year 1?
The start-up visa allows you to stay and to work as an entrepreneur for a maximum of one year in the Netherlands. At the end of Year 1, you'll be able to extend your visa based on a declaration from your facilitator, or based on another scheme for self-employed individuals. As an entrepreneur, you will also have to meet this scheme's requirements.
Permits in general
If you don't have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality, and are coming to the Netherlands to enter paid employment, you'll need a residence permit. Your employer will also have to apply to the Employee Insurance Agency's (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) work placement branch for a work permit.
In the Netherlands, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) is responsible for issuing residence permits. Generally, rules and regulations vary depending on whether you're an EU or non-EU national, and on how long you're planning to stay.
A one stop shop procedure allows you to apply for a single permit; a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning) and a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) in one.