How to Apply for Netherlands Self-Employment Visa and Startup Visa

Are you eligible for a Netherlands startup visa? How to apply for a Dutch startup visa? What are the documents required and how to prepare a business plan? Read on to find answers to all your questions. This article contains a complete guide to obtaining a Netherlands visa for startups and entrepreneurs, the procedures, requirements, and FAQs.

How to Apply for Netherlands Self-Employment Visa and Startup Visa

The Netherlands is known as a country that offers excellent infrastructure for start-ups, scenic beauty, and a great quality of life. It is no surprise to see entrepreneurs worldwide flock to this country. The Netherlands government supports entrepreneurs and has a self-employment visa that permits entrepreneurs to live and work independently in the country. Let’s learn more about it.

You must apply for a Netherlands self-employment visa if you intend to relocate to the Netherlands to start your own business or operate as a freelancer. The Dutch government has given some business owners a year to prepare before launching their venture. The Netherlands Startup visa is used for this.

What is a Netherlands Self-Employment Visa?

A Dutch residence permit that enables independent employment is a Netherlands self-employment visa. Every applicant for a Dutch work visa must fulfill a set of requirements. Then, each sort of work visa has additional restrictions. The self-employment visa has higher requirements and conditions than any other type.

Requirements for a Netherlands Self-Employments Visa

Before anything else, you must demonstrate that your offerings are novel and vital to the Dutch economy. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) uses a point-based method to measure this.

The system measures:

  • Your personal experience (education, work experience, entrepreneurship)
  • Your business plan (the service/product, market analysis, financing, organization, price)
  • The value adds to the Netherlands (employment opportunities, investments, innovation)

The maximum possible score is 300. You must have a minimum of 30 points in each area for 90 points.

If you are a long-term resident EC of another EU member or are of Turkish nationality, this scoring system does not apply to you. Other prerequisites for receiving a work permit for independent contractors in the Netherlands include:

  • You must be listed in the Chamber of Commerce's Trade Register (KvK).
  • You possess every license required to carry out your line of work or trade.
  • You'll be able to generate enough money from your endeavors.
  • For independent contractors (freelancers): You must have at least one commission that you will work on in the Netherlands.
  • If you operate a small healthcare business, you are listed in the BIG register (Individual Healthcare Professions).
  • For the Dutch-Japanese Trade Treaty and the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty: You must conduct business between the Netherlands and the US or Japan, be of American or Japanese nationality, and invest or invest a sizable sum of money.

How to Apply for a Netherlands Self-Employment Visa?

Your nationality will determine how you apply for a self-employment visa in the Netherlands. Before applying for a Dutch residence visa for self-employment, several nationalities must first get an MVV (provisional residence permit). If you require an MVV, you must apply to your nation's Dutch embassy or consulate.


After you arrive in the Netherlands, you can apply at the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) for your Dutch residence permit for self-employment if an MVV is not required.

The Dutch government is aware that new businesses frequently fall short of meeting the requirements for a self-employment visa in terms of points. They have offered to apply for a year of training in the Netherlands to launch their business. The applicant must apply for a Netherlands Startup visa in this scenario.

What is a Netherlands Startup Visa?

The Dutch government launched the startup visa, formally known as the "residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs," in January 2015 to draw in foreign businesspeople. The one-year permit allows ambitious foreigners to launch their cutting-edge businesses in one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Netherlands Startup visa makes it simpler for prospective business owners to launch their enterprises there. It is a one-year Dutch residence permit that permits the holder to operate in the Netherlands with a "facilitator" to get his or her business ready to satisfy the requirements for a self-employment visa. A beginning entrepreneur must be actively involved in the business; they cannot only be a financier or stakeholder.

How does the startup visa work?

Before submitting your application to the IND, you must meet general and special conditions (see below) to qualify for the startup visa. After receiving your residence permit, you are free to relocate to the Netherlands and begin expanding your company. Under the terms of the visa, foreign nationals working in the Netherlands on their startup are assisted by a skilled facilitator. The goal of the mentor system is to help the startup have the best chance of becoming a mature company that benefits both the entrepreneur and the Dutch economy.

What is a facilitator?

The facilitator is an experienced business mentor organization that provides guidance and support while you are developing your startup in the Netherlands. The support can come in various forms, depending on the startup's needs. It can include investment acquisition, marketing, assisting with operational management, research, and providing business contacts.

Before applying for the startup visa, you must find and work with a facilitator recognized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). This ensures that the facilitator is reliable, financially sound, and has experience guiding new businesses. When you find a mentor, you must officially establish cooperation by signing an agreement with them.

However, there are some conditions a facilitator has to meet:

  • Experience in innovative mentoring startups
  • They must be financially stable
  • They cannot have a majority interest in the startup
  • They cannot be a family member of the entrepreneur. This applies to the third degree: child, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle.
  • They must be registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) decides if someone meets the criteria to become a facilitator for a startup visa. They also have a list of recognized facilitators. After the one-year startup visa ends, the facilitator can provide a recommendation for the entrepreneur to the immigration services to aid their Dutch self-employment visa application.

Dutch Startup Visa Business Plan

A new business owner must present a step-by-step strategy outlining how they will turn their idea into a functioning company. Additionally, this is done to alert the authorities of the company's nature before they grant a Netherlands startup visa.

A step-by-step for a Netherlands startup visa includes:

  • Information regarding the organization. This includes: the structure of the organization; the purpose of the company; roles and tasks; the company’s legal form; the personnel.
  • A description on how the plans and activities that you will undertake to set up the company.
  • A description of the innovative product or service you will be providing.

What makes a product innovative?

To be eligible for the visa, applicants must prove their product or service is innovative in the Netherlands by meeting one of the following three conditions:

  • The service or product is new in the Netherlands.
  • The business involves a new technology for production, distribution or marketing.
  • The business involves a new organisational or procedural approach.

Other aspects that can help to define a startup as innovative include: new technology, social responsibility, an original approach to energy conservation, social innovation and smart adaptations for cross-sector applications. More information on what constitutes an innovative business can be found on the RVO website.

What are sufficient financial resources?

To be eligible for the startup residence permit, an expat entrepreneur must prove they have sufficient financial resources (such as savings) to live, work and set up their business in the Netherlands. You can prove you have sufficient funds by:

  • Providing a bank statement that shows you have enough money in your bank account. The amount must meet the minimum income for self-employed in the Netherlands as shown on the IND income requirements webpage.
  • Showing that another person, such as the facilitator, is willing and able to fund your residence in the Netherlands by providing you with either money or resources for the entire (one year) duration of the permit.

It is not possible to rely on public funding, such as welfare payments or unemployment benefits, as your financial resource.

How to Apply for a Netherlands Startup Visa?

If you are a national of a country who does not need an MVV to enter the Netherlands, you can apply for your Netherlands startup visa at the IND. Even so, if you are already in the Netherlands with a short-stay visa to open a business, you may not need to apply for an MVV even if your country normally requires one. If you meet all the other criteria, you can submit you application for a startup visa directly to the IND.

You can also authorize your facilitator to apply on your behalf.

However, if you are abroad and your country requires an MVV, you can apply for both the MVV and the residence permit at the same time. You can do this at the Dutch embassy/consulate in your country.

If you require an MVV, your facilitator cannot apply for the startup visa on your behalf.

When you apply, you need to have a completed application form as well as the required documents (and copies for each of them.) All your documents need to be in either English, French, Dutch, or German. If they are not, you have to get them translated by an authorized Dutch translator.

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