Become a digital nomad: a step-by-step plan

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Do you dream of becoming a digital nomad? Working abroad could affect your registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK), your municipality and the Netherlands Tax Administration. Find out more with this step-by-step plan.

This article assumes that you are already an entrepreneur in the Netherlands and you are registered in KVK’s Business Register. If you have not registered with KVK yet, find out how to register your business.

1. Check the consequences for your KVK registration

If you are going abroad temporarily or emigrating, it might impact your KVK registration. Whether you remain registered depends on your personal situation.

Consider these 3 questions:

Will you still work in the Netherlands?

Does your business require you to travel to the Netherlands regularly for business activities? Then you do not need to deregister from KVK. If you are unsure about how much time you will spend working in the Netherlands, contact KVK.

Will you no longer return to the Netherlands for business?

If you stop working in the Netherlands, you must deregister your business from the Business Register within 7 days before your emigration date. Even if you will have Dutch clients in the future. To stay registered, you need to regularly be in the Netherlands for work. KVK can check this in various ways. For example, because post from KVK is returned to sender, or via registers from your municipality or the Tax Administration.

How long will you be abroad?

If you will be working abroad for less than 6 months, it might be more convenient to remain registered with KVK.

Here are the conditions:

  • You must have good reasons why you want to keep your business in the Netherlands. For example, because you have many regular customers in the Netherlands or if you still carry out work here.
  • You must have a business address in the Netherlands. This may not just be a PO Box. You may register your business at the address of family or friends. You will then need a declaration of consent.

Learn more about being self-employed abroad. Since every situation is different, KVK advises contacting the KVK Advice Team before you go abroad.

2. Check if you need to deregister with the municipality

If you live outside the Netherlands for more than 8 months per year, you must deregister from the municipality where you were registered. This applies even if these months were spread throughout the year. The municipality will deregister you from the Personal Records Database (BRP). They may ask for your new (temporary) home address. Your details will automatically be entered into the Register of Non-Residents (RNI). The RNI keeps track of your foreign address. Always keep your address up to date.

3. Arrange your tax affairs


The Tax Administration is automatically notified when you deregister from the municipality and the Business Register. You will need to settle your taxes with them.

Will you still supply goods or services to Dutch clients from abroad? You will be considered a foreign entrepreneur for VAT purposes. Then you file a turnover tax return and may also have to pay VAT in the Netherlands. Read more about the VAT rules in the Netherlands.

Moving abroad temporarily

If you will work abroad temporarily and your business remains registered with KVK, you need to file your income tax return and VAT return in the Netherlands as usual. This also applies if you are working for a foreign client.

Check the VAT identification numbers of your clients

It is important that you make sure your client is an entrepreneur. If an audit of your records shows that your client is not a registered business, you will receive an additional tax assessment. You will then still have to pay VAT on the goods and services that you supplied without VAT. Check your client’s VAT identification number (VAT ID) via the European Commission’s VIES VAT number validation system. This contains all VAT IDs of all EU member states, including your Dutch clients.

Avoid double taxation

You may have to file income tax returns in 2 countries. But that does not mean that you pay tax twice over the same income. Tax treaties help avoid double taxation. These are agreements between countries about which country will tax certain income. Learn more about avoiding double taxation.

4. Check local laws and regulations

Be aware of local laws and regulations in your destination country. Check the country overview on the RVO website (in Dutch) for information on trade laws, sectors, marketing, payments, and subsidies per country.

5. Arrange your social insurances

Working abroad will affect your social insurances, such as contributions for your old age pension (AOW), sickness, healthcare, and unemployment benefit. Visit the UWV website (in Dutch) to find out if you are insured for social security abroad. This depends on the country or countries where you will work. For example:

See what you need to arrange for each insurance:

If you live and work outside the Netherlands, you typically cannot keep your Dutch health insurance. The requirements depend on the length of your stay abroad and the type of work. If you are going to work abroad temporarily (up to 3 years), you can only remain insured in the Netherlands under certain conditions.

If you work in one or more EU, EEA (including Switzerland), or treaty countries for longer than 5 years, you will no longer be insured under Dutch social insurance. You will need to submit an A1 certificate to show in which country you pay social insurance contributions. You can apply for an A1 certificate online via the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB).

If you work in the European Union, apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) through your health insurer. This card allows you to get free (or reduced-rate) necessary medical assistance. The card is also valid in EEA countries and Switzerland.

You may face liability as a business owner. So, it is wise to take out business liability insurance or professional indemnity insurance. With an business liability insurance, you are insured if you, your product or your employees cause material and personal damage. You are then insured for the costs and further financial consequences. Professional indemnity insurance insures you if you make professional errors. For example, if you give wrong advice as a consultant. Or you make a mistake in a client's tax return as an accountant. For some professional groups, there are special professional indemnity insurances tailored to their specific activities.

Travel insurance insures you against damage while travelling. Insurance cover may vary. Some packages only cover medical items and luggage. Other packages also cover legal expenses. Also note that not every travel insurance policy is meant for long stays. Several insurance companies offer special travel insurance for longer trips.

6. Check if you need a visa and work permit

If you work outside the EU, you usually need a visa and work permit. Contact the Dutch embassy or consulate in your destination country for information about applying for them.

Within the EU

If you work within the EU, you do not need a visa. But you must be able to show a valid identity card or passport. Please note that a driving license may not be valid identification in some countries.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact theNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK