Business Visa Netherlands

Updated on Wednesday 29th June 2022

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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 company in the country 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.

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 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.

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

Netherlands startup visa application steps

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 company 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.
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 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;
  • 333 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.
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.