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Business Visa Netherlands

Business Visa Netherlands

We can help you incorporate your business in the Netherlands and obtain a startup visa. Our team specializes in assisting local and foreign investors interested in setting up a startup company. We have a comprehensive understanding of the Dutch startup scene, and we are able to advise and guide investors and startup founders interested in entering selected business fields.

When applying for a Netherlands business visa, investors need to know that the purpose of the business visit, and that of the actual investment, are important. Thus, we can differentiate between a visa for a business visit and the startup visa, the one investors apply for when they wish to open a startup in Netherlands or make another type of accepted investment.

In this article, our Netherlands immigration lawyers briefly describe these visas, with a focus on the Netherlands startup visa.
The country is an attractive one for foreign investors for a number of reasons, among which the most important are the attractive research and development incentives for firms, the stable and collaborative business environment, the geographical location in Europe, and the good infrastructure that allows investors to access other markets, to name only a few.

If you are interested in launching a startup in the Netherlands, our team will guide you through the needed steps, so that you can focus on the growth of your startup.

 Quick Facts  
Who is the Netherlands startup
visa for?

Non-EU, EEA, Swiss entrepreneurs

Startup visa validity

1 year

Netherlands startup visa
processing time

Maximum 3 months
Application steps

If the application for the innovative startup is approved, the individual is awarded a provisional residence permit by the embassy/consulate. 

Upon entry in the country, he/she receives
the startup visa.

Application process – exceptions Applicants from the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand can apply directly with the Immigration and Naturalisation Department as opposed to the Embassy in their country of origin
Mandatory conditions

Having an innovative business idea and a local, experienced facilitator

Conditions for the facilitator
in the Netherlands

It offers services for startups, such as guidance, and has experience in this field. An agreement needs to be signed between the start up founder and the facilitator

Conditions for the business plan A document that provides complete information on the idea and type of business, its structure, personnel, and the entrepreneur's active role in the business, among others
Conditions for the business The Netherlands Enterprise Agency assesses the product or service based on 3 conditions:
– it is new to the Netherlands
– it includes a new technology for production, distribution
or marketing
– it has a new, innovative organisational approach
Company incorporation For the Netherlands startup visa, the start up is registered with the Business Register of the Netherlands
Chamber of Commerce
Financial conditions The entrepreneur mush show that he has sufficient income to live in the Netherlands (70% of the minimum wage act for single persons, in most cases)
Family can join the visa holder (Yes/No) Yes. Subject to the family member's own application for a residence permit
Startup visa extension At the end of the 1-year period, the visa holder can apply for a residence permit as a self-employed individual

Netherlands startup visa application costs

€ 349,00 for the first application. Other costs can apply
Citizenship by naturalization for startup founders in the Netherlands After 5 years of lawfully living in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit (upon changing to the self-employment residence permit after the first year)
 Mandatory company formation requirements  Have an original company name, have a Dutch business address (P.O. boxes are not accepted), 1 shareholder.

 Company incorporation documents

 The Memorandum and Articles of Association, personal identification documents for the founders, and other documents as needed.

Company registration time in the Netherlands 

Approximately 1 week, provided that all the documents are in order. 

 Startup visa processing time The IND makes a decision within 90 days. The applicant is informed when an extension is needed. 
 Positive decision

The opinion of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on the innovativeness of the business and the facilitator is important for a positive decision. 

 Negative decision

 In this case, no residence permit is awarded. The applicant can object this decision with the help of our team.

Residence permit collection 

Upon a positive decision, the applicant will need to make an appointment in order to collect the residence permit. 

Residence permit replacement 

 The permit can be replaced if damaged, stolen, or lost.

Legal obligations as a Dutch residence permit holder 

Inform the authorities of any relevant changes in one’s situation. 

Special conditions for the self-employed permit  The startup permit can be extended only through a residence permit as a self-employed person. For this, you will need to provide proof of having completed a mentoring process of 3 months, among other criteria. 
 Assistance for residence permit renewal

 Yes, upon request, and as per the applicable conditions for renewal according to the holder’s particularities.

 The rights of Dutch citizens

 Enter the country without restrictions, apply for a Dutch passport, vote, join the army, etc. 

 Dual citizenship permitted 

No, with few exceptions. 

 How can our team help you

 We offer guidance to startup founders throughout the entire visa application steps and, as needed, once they have arrived in the country.

 When to contact us  As soon as you (and your associates) have completed the business plan for a Dutch startup and have questions about your visa requirements according to nationality.

Obtain a business visa Netherlands

Foreign entrepreneurs from certain countries need to obtain a visa for a business visit in those situations in which they need to stay for a maximum period of 90 days. It is important to note that this is a short-stay visa that is not applicable to EU/EEA or Swiss nationals. For example, it applies in the case of Chinese or Indian foreign investors who wish to ultimately obtain the business visa Netherlands.

An important condition for applying for the Netherlands business visa is to have the financial means to do business in the country, stay for a limited period, and also be able to purchase the return trip. As a general rule, 55 EUR per day per the duration of the stay in the Netherlands is required for these entrepreneurs and they also need to provide proof of medical insurance that is able to provide coverage for a minimum of 30,000 EUR medical costs in the Netherlands or the Schengen area.

The visa designed for startups in Holland can be an excellent solution for ambitious and driven investors (non-EU/EEA or Swiss ones) who will have one year to set up their innovative business. Below, we list the main requirements for this visa designed for startup founders and we can give you more personalized information, as needed.

The Netherlands startup visa

This is a visa issued by the Dutch Government to individuals from outside the EU who are looking to open a business in the Netherlands. Unlike the simple short-term visa for business purposes, the Netherlands startup visa is one that is used as a residence permit with a maximum duration of one year. During this time, the visa holder is required to engage in the production of a new and innovative product or services, as accompanied by his facilitator in the country.

The startup visa is a scheme that allows foreign investors to open an innovative business and, for the duration of one year, use the support they are given by an experienced facilitator to grow the startup into a functioning business. Some of the essential issues to consider about the business visa in Netherlands for startups are the following:

  • the application: this is submitted by the investor and it will include important information about the business plan; this is submitted to the Dutch embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin;
  • the costs: the fee for the business visa in Netherlands is paid upon application; the residence permit that comes with this type of visa is collected upon arrival in the country;
  • the assessment: it is important to note that this business visa is subject to a comprehensive assessment by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency;
  • the conditions: these include working with an experienced facilitator, presenting a truly innovative product or service, having a plan to transform the idea into a business, the entrepreneurs and the facilitators are included in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce.

The applicant must prove that he has sufficient means to reside in the country for the duration of the business visa in Netherlands.

Start-up founders from the United States can apply for a visa under the DAFT treaty, which grants them the right to stay in the Netherlands if they are able to open a business that satisfies certain criteria. This visa is an advantageous one for US nationals, based on a mutual agreement between the two countries. Our team can give you more details about the application process.  

We invite you to watch the following video on the startup visa:

Application steps for the startup in Netherlands visa

Step 1: Apply
The process begins with the application itself and, if approved, the holder can remain in the country for one year, after which he may continue to reside under the self-employed scheme.

Step 2: Find the facilitator
The facilitator is the mentor, the one who will work together with the entrepreneur to help the business grow, ideally in the one-year period. The relationship between the two parties takes place as per a signed agreement under which the facilitator undertakes to offer support according to the specific needs (often described as a tailored package for the entrepreneur).

The Netherlands startup visa depends on the facilitator and some of the conditions that are mandatory for facilitators include the following: he cannot be a family member up to the third degree, he must have experience in offering counsel to innovative startup companies, he must be financially stable, and cannot have a majority interest in the startup.

Step 3: Select the location of your business
Choosing where the startup in Netherlands will be based is one of the most important steps. There are various incubators and locations throughout the country where innovative companies are based. Networking can be important in the chosen business field, so the choice should be mindful of these opportunities. Our team can help you open a startup in Holland.

Step 4: Register with the local council
The foreign national needs to register in the Municipal Personal Records Database. This is done in the city where he will reside and he will also need to submit the residence permit application. Our team can help you during this essential step for obtaining the Netherlands startup visa.

Step 5: Register the company
All companies in the country, including a startup in Netherlands, are registered with the Chamber of Commerce. The actual process and the required documents depend on the chosen business form and once the registration is complete with the Chamber, the data will be forwarded towards the Tax and Customs Administration, a phase following which the company will also receive a VAT number.

Step 6: open a bank account
Once the company is incorporated, the company founder can also open a Dutch corporate bank account. He will also have to open a personal bank account (for which the citizen service number will be used along with the residence permit). One of our agents can give you more information about this process and the requirements for opening a business bank account.

Step 7: make other needed arrangements
Investors who apply for the Netherlands startup visa will remain in the country for at least one year while working with the facilitator and growing their business. During this time, they may also need to make arrangements for their partner or other family members. Our immigration agents are here to answer any questions about family reunification, education as well as healthcare and insurance.

Remaining in the Netherlands as a self-employed person

As previously mentioned, the residence permit for startup founders is valid for one year and, at the end of this period, the foreign national may choose to remain in the country. He is able to do so under the self-employed scheme, for which a facilitator is no longer required, however, the applicant will need to submit adequate proof of the manner in which the business he has founded will continue to be of interest to the Dutch economy. 

The application for the self-employed program is subject to different conditions for those who hold a residence permit start-up at the time of the application. This means that the application costs are lower (379 Euros instead of 1,416 Euros if the applicant would not have the first permit).

In order to continue to remain in the county under the self-employed residence permit, the applicant will need to show that the products or services have an innovative nature and that they are of interest for the Dutch economy, much in the same way as the Startup visa.

Foreign investors who are American or Japanese nationals can apply for the self-employed visa under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty or the Dutch Japanese Trade Treaty. Our team can give you more information if this is your case.

Costs for the business visa Netherlands

Those who apply for a business visa should know that different costs apply to this document. Some of these are listed below by our Dutch immigration lawyers:

  • 80 EUR: this is the cost for the short-stay visa when the entrepreneur makes the first application;
  • 30 EUR: the cost for the extension for the short stay-visa for those who hold the aforementioned document;
  • 2,223 EUR: the first application for the foreign investor visa; another 1,112EUR are required when extending this type of visa;
  • 349 EUR: the first application for the startup visa and the change in the purpose of stay; if the applicant changes the purpose of stay after startup (self-employed), there will be additional costs.

Please note that these fees set forth by the Immigration and Naturalization Department can be subject to change. If you would like to know details about the Netherlands startup visa and the associated costs and fees, please reach out to one of our immigration agents.

The startup visa is an advantageous one both for the foreign national who applies and for the Dutch economy and society. The founder has access to support (in the form of a facilitator, infrastructure, and the business-friendly Dutch regime) and the country derives economic benefits from a successful business that operates as a Dutch resident company.

Key elements in opening a startup in the Netherlands

There is no difference between a startup in Holland and any other business registered in this country if we are to define this entity from a legal point of view. However, when it comes to its features, we could say that the following apply to a Dutch startup:

  1. it usually relies on a thorough business plan and model in order to attract potential investors;
  2. it operates in innovative sectors which meet specific requirements and demands, in most cases;
  3. the owner or owners do not have substantial amounts of money to invest in the company;
  4. it is created by young entrepreneurs who rely on the professionalism of seasoned investors (usually angel investors);
  5. it obtains most of its funds from crowdfunding platforms, friends, and other investors.

From an incorporation point of view, a startup in Holland does not imply going through specific procedures.

Our immigration lawyers in the Netherlands can help with the creation of such a venture.

If you are interested in starting a small business in the Netherlands, you can decide for an Amsterdam startup which is easy to create.

Steps for creating a Dutch startup company

Creating a startup in the Netherlands implies the same steps as for any other type of company, which is why it is not hard to complete. Even if such a business does not fall under the provisions of the Company Law, the legal entity under which it would operate does. Which is why foreign investors interested in setting up such companies will follow the same registration procedure, which implies:

  1. selecting a structure that suits the activities of the startup (there are several business forms available, however, the BV is preferred by most entrepreneurs);
  2. drafting the incorporation documents, which consist in the Articles of Association;
  3. filing all the documents with local office of the Trade Register;
  4. registering for taxation and VAT, and social security.

When choosing a legal entity for a startup company, the BV but also the flex BV are the most sought by foreign investors as they are very suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises. The differences between them are not many, which is why one can decide for any of the two.

If you want to open a company in the Netherlands and decide for an Amsterdam startup and need assistance, our local immigration attorneys can help you.

The most popular way of opening a startup in the Netherlands

The private limited liability company or BV is the most suitable option from a legal entity point of view when seeking to open a startup in the Netherlands. As mentioned above, the startup relies on an idea which usually requires a significant investment and the funds are gathered through specific means such as crowdfunding platforms which are very popular in the Netherlands. Considering the Dutch BV does not require a high share capital, it is one of the most suitable options for a startup company.

In terms of registration, the startup in Holland registered as a BV requires at least one shareholder who needs not be a Dutch resident, a director and a few documents that need to be filed with the Trade Register.

Our local agents can help foreign investors who want to open a company in the Netherlands and operate it as a startup.

If you want to open a Dutch company as a startup, you can rely on our officers for assistance and advice on how to make suitable choices.

Acquiring a startup visa can be the first step for those who are interested in obtaining Dutch citizenship. This is a process based on one’s long-term and lawful stay in the country for a minimum number of years. Once an individual starts the application process, the naturalization procedure will usually take less than one year or less than two years in all cases. 

Contact our immigration lawyers in Netherlands if you are looking towards starting a business in the Netherlands. The country welcomes foreign investors and the business climate is attractive for a number of industries. Foreign entrepreneurs can benefit from obtaining an investment visa that will also allow them to reside in the country.

Other residence permits are available in the Netherlands, other than the one for startup purposes. If you would like to know more about the permits for your partner or other family members, those for work or study purposes, or those for long-term EU residency, you can reach out to our team. We provide complete assistance to those looking to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands