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Entrepreneurs who come to the Netherlands to start a business can apply for a residence permit for entrepreneurs. Start-up entrepreneurs who work together with a recognized facilitator can apply under the more lenient start-up program. Foreign investors can apply for a Dutch residence permit if they invest in the Dutch economy.

Entrepreneurs

Regular entrepreneurs are assessed through a point-based system. Applicants can score points for their business plan, personal experience and contribution to Dutch economy. The points are not easily obtained, which makes this one of the more rigid procedures. Read more on our page: Entrepreneurs.

Start-up

Under the start-up program, a permit is granted for 1 year to develop the business with the support of a facilitator. After this year, the starting entrepreneur must apply for the regular permit for entrepreneurs, via the point-based system. Read more on our page: Start-up

Investors

For investors, the investment amount is the main criterion. The investment has to meet certain requirements as well, such as proof of benefit to the Dutch economy. Read more on our page: Investor visa

Matrix comparing Point-based system, Startup program and Investors permit:

   
Point-based system 
Startup program  
Investors    

Access to job market  

Limited to work for own company. Work permit required for any other type of work.

Limited to work for own company. Work permit required for any other type of work.

Free access to job market. Work permit not required.

Duration

2 years, extension possible depending on business performance

1 year, extension subject to point-based system

3 years, extension is possible

Civic integration requirement

none

none

none

Family

Can apply simultaneously; work permit is required for any type of work.

Can apply simultaneously; work permit is required for any type of work.

Can apply simultaneously, work permit not required, free access to labor market

Dutch citizenship

Application possible after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay

Application possible after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay

Application possible after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay

 

Special categories

To some categories of entrepreneurs, different rules apply.

For instance, American and Japanese nationals enjoy rules that are more favorable if they want to start a business in the Netherlands, because of the Friendship Treaties between their countries and the Netherlands. The point-based system is not applicable to them.

The Association Treaty between the European Union and Turkey provides for a different set of rules for Turkish entrepreneurs to start a business in the Netherlands.

Read more about the specific conditions for American, Turkish and Japanese entrepreneurs.

In other EU Member States, you can obtain the status of EU long-term resident. This is the European version of the permanent residence permit. EU long-term residents enjoy less strict conditions to start a business in the Netherlands. Read more.

On a final note, foreign artists, designers, performers, musicians and others who work on a freelance basis in the creative industries are subject to different rules than regular entrepreneurs. Read more here.

Every spring, Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers organizes a free information event for students of art, design and performing arts. Keep an eye on our news page for details.

For more information, please contact Hermie de Voer or Vera Kidjan.

If you want to set up a business in the Netherlands, you can apply for a residence permit as an entrepreneur.

RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) assesses whether your business has a good chance of success and serves the Dutch economy’s vital interests. RVO evaluates your application with a point-based system. 

Read more ...

Since January 1st 2015 the Netherlands has a start-up program for non-EU start-up entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs obtain a residence permit for 1 year to develop their business with the support of a facilitator.

Read more ...

Foreign investors can apply for a Dutch residence permit in return for a substantial investment in the local economy.

The residence permit is valid for 3 years and can be renewed. After 5 years the investor can apply for a permanent residence permit or Dutch citizenship.

Read more ...