Visa requirements

Do you need a visa? And how do you apply for it?

Not everyone needs a visa for their stay in the Netherlands. Read the following section to find out which rules you must follow.

Also be sure to check out any links provided for additional information. We recommend that you ensure you remain legal while resident in Holland and do not try to enter the country without the required paperwork.

Staying for less than 3 months?

Countries whose cititizens do not require a visa for a stay of three months or less:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (or holders of a BNO, British National Overseas Passport), United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.

If you are a national from any other country, you need a visa for a stay of less than 3 months in the Netherlands. You need to apply for a visa at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country before you come to the Netherlands.

Staying for more than 3 months?

If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for a period longer than 3 months, you need an MVV. An MVV ( Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is an authorisation for temporary stay. Only nationals of the following countries do not need a MVV; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Vatican City.

More information can be found on the following websites:

  • www.ind.nl  - the Immigration and Naturalisation Service ( Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst)
  • www.minbuza.nl  - the Bureau of Foreign Affairs ( Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken)

Getting a visa

If you require a visa for your visit to the Netherlands, you need to apply for one at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country. You should do this approximately 2 months before your arrival to the Netherlands. You cannot get a visa in the Netherlands.

Procedures and documents

Visa application procedures are generally the same in every Dutch embassy/consulate. However, you should call the consulate that has jurisdiction over your state of permanent residence to find out which procedure applies.

Visa types:

  • A-Visa: Transit visa for airports.
    Residents from some countries require a transit visa when travelling through the Netherlands to another county. This type of visa does not give you the right to get into the country. You need this transit visa if you are a national from; Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Congo (Democratic Republic), Eritrea, Ehteopea, Ghana, Guinea, Irak, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalie, Sudan, Syria, Sri Lanka.
  • B-Visa: Travel through visa for a maximum of 5 days.
    This visa is intended for those whose final destination is not within the Schengen area, but are travelling through it. It gives you the right to enter for a maximum period of 5 days.
  • C-Visa: Short stay visa for a maximum of 3 months.
    This type of visa can be obtained for several purposes; holiday, tourism, business, friend/family visit or participation in congresses/sporting events. This visa is valid for a maximum stay of 3 months within a 6 month period. You cannot apply for a residency or work permit with this type of visa.
  • D-Visa: Permission for temporary stay longer than 3 months, MVV
    The MVV ( Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is a visa/permit for a period of 3 months to a maximum of 1 year, after which it can be renewed without leaving the country. You need to have an MVV if you want to apply for a residency or work permit. It is possible that you need to take an Immigration and Citizenship Exam (Inburgeringscursus) at the Dutch embassy in your home country before you leave for the Netherlands. You can check if you are required to do so on the IND website: www.ind.nl .

Schengen area - what is it and how does it work?

The Netherlands is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, which enables free circulation of residents within countries in the Schengen Area. A visa granted by one of these countries (for example, the Netherlands) is valid in the whole Schengen Area. Travelling within the Schengen Area is legally the same as travelling within the Netherlands. If you enter the Netherlands with a tourist visa, you will be able to stay in the Netherlands and/or any other country in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days during any 6-month period.

In addition to the Netherlands, the other parties to the Schengen Agreement are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Although you can leave the Schengen Area and come back in as many times as you need during its 6-month validity, the total amount of time you can stay in the Schengen area cannot exceed 90 days. A visa granted by one of the Schengen countries is valid in all other member countries. Countries outside the Schengen Area include Switzerland, United Kingdom & the Channel Islands, Ireland, Morocco, and Gibraltar.

Trivia: Schengen is a town in Luxembourg where the original treaty was signed in 1985.

Further reading

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