Be sure to check out any links provided for additional information. We recommend that you ensure you remain legal while being a resident in Holland and do not try to enter the country without the required paperwork.
Citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter the Netherlands.
No visa needed
This is a list of countries whose nationals do not require a visa when crossing the external borders. You can take a look at the government’s list here.
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (State of the Vatican), Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, (Republic of) Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, 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 Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV). An MVV is a temporary residence permit for anyone wanting to remain in the Netherlands for more than three months.
If you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, or are a family member of a citizen of these countries and you do not hold EU nationality, you can check whether you need a visa or certificate on the Ministry of Security and Justice website.
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 as no visas are issued upon arrival to the country.
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.
There are different types of visas available for the Netherlands, and it will depend on your reason for visit and staying which visa you need to apply for.
- Schengen visa: (read below for further information).
- Transit visa: this is an airport permit to transit through the Netherlands onto your final destination. You may change flights, but cannot leave the airport. You can see if you require a transit visa here.
- MVV: this is the temporary residency permit and you can see all the application process, requirements and documentations here. This visa is required for students planning to engage in courses that will last more than three months.
- Work permits: this is closely linked to the residence permit and your nationality. You may or may not need a work permit to engage in paid activities in the Netherlands.
If moving to the Netherlands from outside the EU, it is highly advisable to consult with a Dutch lawyer specialized in immigration —such as Mynta Law— to find the best migration options for you and your family.
Working in the Netherlands
Your residency status and nationality will dictate whether you require a work permit to work in the Netherlands or not. The Netherlands has an internationally focused workforce, looking for foreigners constantly. Because of this, there is a skilled migrants programme where no work permit is required to reside and work. Additionally, foreign employees planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months will receive a single permit that is both a residence permit and a work permit, known as Gecombineerde Vergunning voor Verblijf en Arbeid (GVVA).
You or your employee apply for a single permit, instead of both a residence one and a work one, through the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Again, Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland do not require permits for working or staying in the Netherlands, unless you're from Croatia in which case you will need a work permit provided by your employer for the first year. Croatian citizens can work freely in the Netherlands without a permit after 12 months legal employment. (These restrictions are to be reviewed in 2018 and may be in place until 2020). Skilled workers, self-employed migrants, recently graduated students, or anyone with a relative holding a valid work permit in the Netherlands can work without a permit. Everyone else will require a work permit.
You can check what you require as an employee in the IND website, as requirements vary depending on your individual situation.
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, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechtenstein
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 the United Kingdom & the Channel Islands, Ireland, Morocco, and Gibraltar.
Trivia: Schengen is a town in Luxembourg where the original treaty was signed in 1985.