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

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

Do you dream of becoming a digital nomad and working while travelling around the world? If you are currently based in the Netherlands and work online for clients from other countries, it could affect your registration with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). Your departure from the Netherlands could also have implications for taxes, the municipality, and your insurances. 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?

If your business requires you to travel to the Netherlands regularly for business activities such as training courses or workshops, 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 emigrate, you have to deregister from the Business Register. It does not matter if you continue to have Dutch customers or not. You can have Dutch customers with your foreign company without being registered at KVK. Check in your destination country whether you need to register in a business register there. If you will be working abroad for less than 6 months, it might be more convenient to remain registered with KVK. Especially if you do not deregister from the Dutch municipality where you live.

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. Keep in mind that these 8 months do not need to be consecutive. 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

Emigration

The Dutch 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. 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:

Health 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.

Show in which EU country you pay social insurance contributions

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).

Personal health insurance card for the EU

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.

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.

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