Expats moving to the Netherlands: Do I need a residency permit or visa?
If you move to live in the Netherlands you might need a visa/residency permit, depending on the passport that you hold.
Short Stay (up to 90 days)
If you want to stay in the Netherlands up to 90 days, you need a short stay visa. This visa allows you to travel to the Schengen countries and Switzerland (see below).
Expats or students from EU/Switzerland/EEA don't need a short stay visa or residence permit. It allows them to stay for up 90 days within a 180-day period.
Other countries (non-EEA/EU/Switzerland)
If you are a national from another country you need a visa. What kind of visa depends on the reason for travelling; business, holiday and family visit or a stopover at the airport in the Netherlands you need a visa. You can find more information on the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)There are 2 types of visas:
- Type A Visa is also known as the transit visa. If you are an international passenger who is making a stop at any of the airports that fall inside the Netherlands (Schiphol for example) or any other airport inside the Schengen area, while travelling to a place that is outside of Schengen and the Netherlands, then you need to apply for this kind of visa. With the help of a type A visa, you are allowed to roam only inside the international zone of the airport. If you desire to leave the airport and visit the city, even if for the course of a day, you would have to apply for a type C visa.
- Type C Visa is also known as the tourist visa which allows you to stay in the Netherlands or in any of the countries that fall under the Schengen area for a maximum duration of up to three months or 90 days within a period of six months. You are also allowed to work during that time if your employer gets a work permit that is in your name. However, you cannot apply for a residence permit and would have to go back to your country and apply from there in order to get a residence permit.
Long-Term Stay (more than 90 days)
If passport holders from EEA/EU/Switzerland want to stay more than 90 days in the Netherlands. They need to register at the Personal Records Database (BPR) and get their Burger Service number (BSN) at their local municipality and get health insurance.
If you want to join a close relative, like a partner, spouse, child under 21 or grandparent. You have the right to live and work in the Netherlands without a permit. You do however need to get a certificate that you are allowed to stay the IND can help you with getting this certificate.
If you are an expat not from EEA/EU/Switzerland you have to apply for a long-term entry visa (MVV). You can apply for the MVV and the residence permit at the same time in one single process called the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) procedure. Both permits are granted at the same time; you are issued with the MVV, which allows entry into the country, and you collect the residence document from an IND desk within two weeks of your arrival. The MVV is not required if you are a holder of the EU blue card.
The approval of the MVV may take up to 90 days. Upon your arrival at the Netherlands, you are advised to visit the IND office within 2 weeks if you have the MVV, and within 3 days if you don’t. Residence permits are usually for the duration of your work or study and require a sponsor to verify that you are suitable for the work and no labour could be acquired locally. You also need to secure a BSN number and Dutch health insurance during your stay in the Netherlands.
If you are an expat that doesn't need the MVV permit, the application for the residence permit can still be done through the TEV procedure. This can even be done outside the Netherlands or taken from the IND desk post your arrival into the Netherlands. I would advise you to check your requirements for an MVV before going to stay in the Netherlands for a long time and the website of the IND.
Abbreviations & instances explained: MVV, IND office TEV procedure
- MVV is also known as the Provisional Residence Permit. It is a permit that you need to apply for if you wish to enter the Netherlands and plan to live there for a period exceeding 90 days.
- IND office is also known as the Immigration and Naturalisation Service in the Netherlands. If you are an expat visiting the Netherlands, it is this office that you need to visit after your arrival into Amsterdam or the Netherlands in order to collect important documents like residence permit and the likes.
- TEV procedure is also known as the Entry and Residence procedure. This procedure includes you and your sponsor to apply for an MVV and a residence permit at the same time in order for you to enter into the Netherlands and stay or work there.
Important things to keep in mind for expats
When applying for visas or residence permits in the Netherlands, the reason for your stay is very important. Different visas have different conditions, length of validity and requirements which need to be satisfied and correlate with the reason that you are giving for visiting the Netherlands.
- A Return visa is important to consider. Your residence permit might expire while you're out of the Netherlands, or your visa permit application regarding updates like a change of your reason for staying, loss of important residence documentation or any other valid updates might be stalled. In situations like these, you would be required to apply for a return visa so as to enter the Netherlands. The duration and validity of your visa depending on the severity of your circumstances and may extend from three months to a year.
- Application for permanent residence. Permanent residence is something that you can claim for while staying in the Netherlands. You need to live inside the Netherlands for a tenure of five years in an uninterrupted manner in order to achieve the eligibility to apply for the permit of permanent residence.
Getting a Dutch citizenship
Dutch citizenship is the highest residency permit that you can apply for. It provides you with a certificate of citizenship while acknowledging you as a Dutch citizen. However, in order to apply for the citizenship, you need to have lived uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least five years or should have been with a spouse or partner who is a Dutch citizen for at least three years. The naturalisation process provides you with the Dutch citizenship given the fact that you can satisfy certain requirements. These requirements include you being proficient in writing and speaking Dutch, renouncing your previous nationality with the exception of some and being able to prove the fact that you have a clean criminal record for the history of the last five years. In order to apply for the permanent residency permit, you need to apply through your municipality, although it is processed by the IND Netherlands. It might take until a year for this process to be completed.
Countries and areas they belong to
Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City
A national of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City is not an EU/EEA citizen.
The countries which belong to the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark (excluding the Faroe Isles and Greenland), Germany, Estonia, Finland, France (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and La Reunion)*, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein (EEA), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands (excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), Norway (EEA), Austria, Poland, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain (including the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands), Czech Republic, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Gibraltar, excluding the Channel Islands, BNO passport holders and Isle of Man) **, Iceland (EEA), Sweden
*French overseas departments: A French citizen is a national of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and La Reunion and is also an EU/EEA citizen.
**BNO passport holders need to have a visa to travel to the Schengen countries and need an MVV
The Schengen countries consist of 26 countries and include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Switzerland is not an EU/EEA member state. However, a Swiss national has the same rights of residence as an EU/EEA citizen.