Visas for the Netherlands

As the Netherlands is a Schengen and EU-member state, expats from other EU states are able to travel, work and reside in the country without applying for a visa. However, those from non-EEA countries are likely to need a visa to enter the Netherlands, whether for work or a short visit.
Expat Protect plans have been designed for expats and local residents in France, Benelux or Monaco.  They can be purchased as a top-up health insurance or purchased as full cover.

Schengen visas allow entry into 26 countries in Europe, including the Netherlands. There are different types of Schengen visas available according to the purpose of one’s visit, including tourism, business and visiting friends or family.

Expats needing a Schengen visa will have to complete an application form, gather supporting documents and submit these to their closest Dutch embassy or consulate before they travel. Required documents will vary according to the type of Schengen visa being applied for.

Schengen visas are valid for 180 days and allow entry into any Schengen state (or states) for up to 90 days. To stay longer, a residence permit is required. If an expat wishes to leave and re-enter the Schengen area within their 180-day validity period, they should apply for a double- or multiple-entry Schengen visa.

Nationals of Canada, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Uruguay and New Zealand between the ages of 18 and 30 are eligible to live and work in the Netherlands for one year on a working holiday visa. This allows holders of the visa to reside in the country on a temporary residence permit. The primary purpose of the stay must be for cultural exchange and not employment – any work done by an expat should be for the purpose of supporting themselves financially during their travels.

Non-EU citizens will need a residence permit if they intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months. Residence permits are usually valid for one year and are renewable for up to five years.

A common approach is to apply at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service within a few days of arriving in the Netherlands – however, in some circumstances it may be necessary to apply for a long-stay entry visa prior to travelling to the Netherlands. This is known as an MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) and allows entry into the country as a prospective resident rather than a tourist. An application for a residence permit is usually lodged at the same time.

Although EU citizens don’t require a residence permit, they do have to register with their local municipality if they intend on living in the Netherlands for more than four months.

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, expats should register at their local municipality and apply for a citizen service number, known as a BSN (burgerservicenummer). It's not possible to work in the Netherlands without it, and it’s also needed to open a bank account, receive a salary, take out insurance and claim other benefits.

Expats can apply for permanent residence in the Netherlands if they've lived in the country for an uninterrupted period of five years. Once they have this, they no longer need an employer-sponsored work permit.

EU citizens don't need a work permit for the Netherlands and don't have any restrictions when it comes to finding work. Non-EU expats planning to work in the Netherlands, however, will need to obtain a work permit to do so.

Dutch work permits, called single permits (GVVA), are employer and job-specific, so non-EU expats will have to apply through a company. Unfortunately, employers who hire foreign employees have to prove that the applicant’s role can't be filled by an EU citizen, which can prove difficult. It is worth noting that those with highly sought-after skills or on an intracompany transfer may find that they are exempt from the labour market tests.

Should expats wish to change employers while working in the Netherlands, they will have to wait for new papers to be issued before they can begin their new job.