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Creative industries

Do you intend to work in the creative industries in the Netherlands and do you have a non-EU nationality? For work in paid employment, a combined permit for work and stay (GVVA) is required. Creative freelancers can apply for a residence permit as entrepreneur. 

To American, Japanese, and Turkish citizens and their family members other conditions may apply. Read more on our page Treaties.

Work in paid employment

Do you want to work for a Dutch employer in the Dutch creative industries? Then you need a combined permit for work and stay (GVVA). You can file the application yourself, but your employer is likely to do it for you. The IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) issues the permit.

For top positions in the fields of dance, classical music, opera, musical, theatre and art, a labour market test is not required; this means that an employer is not obliged to search for suitable candidates in the Netherlands or other EU countries before he can hire a non- EU employee.

  • Your job will be a top position within the creative industries. This categorization depends on your monthly salary. You can find the benchmark amounts here on the IND site.
  • Your monthly salary meets the collective agreement (CAO) requirement for the concerned position.
  • Your employing organization is registered with the Chamber of Commerce

Validity of the permit

The GVVA permit is issued for a maximum period of 1 year; you should apply for renewal before your permit expires. You may only work for the employer the permit was issued for. If you want to work for another employer, you need to apply for a new GVVA permit.

Family members

You may also apply for a residence permit for your partner or children as dependents. Your partner will not have free access to the labor market: they need a separate GVVA permit for any kind of work, even if they work for you.

Creative freelancers

If your work as a freelancer in the creative field serves the Dutch cultural interest, you may apply for a residence permit as a self-employed person. The IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) consults the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in this respect.

  • you have future projects lined up in the Dutch creative arts sector
  • you earn sufficient income
  • you register with the Chamber of Commerce
  • you register at your address in the civil registry of your Dutch hometown
  • you have Dutch health insurance
  • you do not present a threat to public order

The application process

Processing of your application by the IND can take up to 6 months. During this period, you may only do preparatory work in the Netherlands, provided you have a valid visa or residence permit.

If you are a foreign student in the Netherlands, you can (within 3 years of graduation) apply for the orientation year permit, to find work or gain work experience. Read more on our page Orientation Year.

It is important to determine the right moment of submitting your application. We advise to submit the application as soon as you have some level of certainty over 3 upcoming artistic projects.

Validity of the residence permit

The residence permit for freelancers is valid for 2 years and can be renewed for another 5 years, if you meet the following conditions:

  • you still work as a freelancer in the arts or cultural field 
  • you meet the income requirement
  • you did not apply for welfare or any social benefits 
  • you do not have a criminal record

This residence permit exclusively allows you to perform activities as freelancer in the creative industries. You need a separate work permit for any other kind of work.

Family members

You can also apply for a residence permit for your partner or children, as dependents. Your partner will not have free access to the labor market: he/she needs a separate work permit for any kind of work, even if he/she works for you.

For more information or advice, please contact Hermie de Voer, Elles Besselsen or Lotte van Diepen.

Free seminar

Every year we host a seminar for non-EU artists, art students and creatives who wish to live and work in the Netherlands. The information is mainly aimed at international students at Dutch art or dance academies, conservatories, and other art institutes, who are looking to stay in the Netherlands after graduation, but you are also welcome to attend when you have graduated in previous years. 

This year’s seminar, by Lotte van Diepen and Leonie Haenen, will take place on Thursday 30 May 2024. We will announce further details later. We will publish the date of next year’s event well in advance here and in our social media channels.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about our events. 

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