Visa & Residency in the Netherlands

You do not need to be a Dutch resident or citizen to start a business here. In most cases you would like to live in the Netherlands. EU/EEA-citizens can live, work and do business in the Netherlands without any hassle. If you are from another part of the world, other rules could apply. To avoid issues, please visit the Dutch Immigration website or check out the Visa page on this website.

FAQ on visa and residency

Am I eligible for a Dutch Visa?

In order to secure a Dutch (entry and) residence permit as a self-employed person, start-up company or limited liability company the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND) requires that the applicant meets certain conditions. Activities of the company are scored by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) on their innovative nature, and their added value to the Dutch economy. The RVO bases their score on:

  • Added value for the Netherlands (creating of jobs and innovation)
  • The experience of the person applying for a permit (work experience and/or experience as an entrepreneur)
  • The Business plan (financing, marketing etc.)

Start-up permit

The IND requires start up applicants to work with an IND approved facilitator, sort of a business mentor. The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative start-ups. These facilitators are companies that provide support, a business network, an incubator, help with operational management, marketing, research and investment acquisition for setting up an innovative business.

Depending on the facilitator, it may be that they provide sufficient support for the clients to feel that they can complete the application form themselves. The list of the facilitators can be found here.

Furthermore, the RVO requires that the Start-up:

  • Offers a product or service that is innovative;
  • Has a step-by-step plan to develop their idea into a business;
  • And the facilitator are registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel);
  • Has sufficient financial resources to reside and live in the Netherlands for one year.

Self-employed permit

This is the commonly used regular work and residence permit for applicants who will run their business (self-employed or limited liability company) in the Netherlands. The applicant will need to prove that the business activities will serve an essential Dutch interest by means of an elaborate and sound business plan and third party financial prospects. Financial evidence supporting the application must be checked by a certified external expert (a chartered accountant, an accounting consultant, an accountant or a financial advisor). Simplified procedures are applicable for US and Japanese nationals under this category

Investor Visa / Wealthy Foreign Investor

The wealthy foreign investor's immigration category, introduced in 2013, allows foreign wealthy investors to receive Dutch residency rights by investing in the Dutch economy under certain conditions. The application itself will be assessed by the RVO, who will review the application on several grounds (e.g. business plan, innovative plan etc.). In general, all investments will be assessed on whether there is any added value for the Dutch economy in order for the wealthy investor to receive a Dutch residence status.

  • Individual invests at least 1,250,000 EUR in an entity/ company in the Netherlands
  • Money transferred to a Dutch or EU bank
  • The investment is of relevance to the Dutch economy
  • The origin of the money/ investment is not malafide (i.e. not from illegal activities)
  • Individual has sufficient and steady means/ income


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