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Applying for a start-up visa in the Netherlands

Question and Answers 19 January 2016, 05:52

Many newcomers to the Netherlands are required to have an entry visa and residence permit of some sort in order to live and work in the country. One such visa that’s being offered by the Dutch government is the new start-up visa.

Amsterdam, the NetherlandsMany newcomers to the Netherlands are required to have an entry visa and residence permit of some sort in order to live and work in the country. Students that come from non-EU/EEA countries will need to apply for a student visa and residence permit to come study in the Netherlands. For those wishing to move to the Netherlands in order to live and work, other visas may be more appropriate. One such visa that’s being offered by the Dutch government is the new start-up visa.

What is the start-up visa?

The start-up visa is meant to provide entrepreneurs from outside of the EU/EEA with a more streamlined process to come to the Netherlands and start their own business.

Anyone can apply for this visa, although citizens of some countries may have other options available to them. EU/EEA citizens, along with Switzerland, don’t require a residence permit to live or work in the Netherlands. Citizens of the USA or Japan may prefer to apply through other programs such as the Dutch American Friendship Treaty or the Trade and Shipping Treaty between Japan and the Netherlands.

Eligibility for the start-up visa

To be eligible for the start-up visa, applicants must meet several requirements. They must have an innovative business idea, provide proof of adequate financial support, create a business plan, resolve administrative requirements, and find a good facilitator.

The innovative value of the product or service will be assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). This assessment will determine if the business is new to Netherlands, uses new technology for distribution, marketing, or production, or if it provides a new approach to organisation or process.

The financial status of applicants determines whether they have sufficient funding for their stay in the Netherlands. The current minimum amount is €1,139.90 per month, totalling €16,078.80 for the 12 months that the start-up visa is valid. Financial support can also be provided by another person, such as a facilitator, if the applicant does not have the total amount of funds.

A business plan for the start-up is another requirement to keep in mind. This plan must show a detailed account of the product or service idea, the activities that will be worked towards during the first year, the organisation of the start-up, and what the role of the applicant will be within the start-up. This plan should be as informative and descriptive as possible, proving that the start-up has a strong foundation and is thoroughly thought out.

Administrative responsibilities will also need to be taken care of. The start-up will need to be registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK) and the applicant will need to ensure they have adequate health insurance coverage in the Netherlands, as well have a valid passport and not be convicted of any crimes.

The facilitator is a key factor in applying for the start-up visa. Anyone using this visa option is required to partner with a facilitator. The facilitator is meant to help develop a business idea for a start-up into a successful business and his or her merits will be taken into consideration as part of the assessment process of the application. Therefore, it is important to partner with a reliable, experienced facilitator early on.

How to apply for the start-up visa?

Anyone wanting to submit a start-up visa application must do so through the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). As of October 1st, 2015, applicants will no longer require a provisional residence permit, known as the MVV. They can come to the Netherlands and begin making the necessary preparations for their start-up right away.

If approved, the start-up visa will be valid for one year. Renewal is not possible so applicants should focus on meeting the (often more strict) requirements for one of the other visas (such as self-employment) within that time. Applying for other permits should be done before the expiration of the start-up visa.

Is the start-up visa right for you?

The start-up visa provides an alternate, more accessible option for entrepreneurs wishing to live and work for their own business in the Netherlands. With an innovative idea, proper planning, sufficient funds, and a reliable facilitator, applicants will be able to move to the Netherlands and found a business that will allow them to live and work in the country.

See also:

Student visas and residence permits in the Netherlands
Visas and permits for working in Holland


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