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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 Scoring 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.

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

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. Find out more about the conditions here.

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. Find out more about it here.

On a final note, foreign artists, designers, performers, musicians and other individuals who work on a freelance basis in the creative industries are subject to different rules than regular entrepreneurs. Read more about the conditions here. Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers organizes a free information evening for art and design students on this subject every spring. Keep an eye on our news page for details.

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

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Read this article in Russian here.