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Getting a visa for the Netherlands

The majority of foreign nationals wishing to stay in the Netherlands for up to three months require a short stay visa or Schengen visa (Schengenvisum). Foreign nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland as well as some other countries are exempt from the visa requirement.

Do you need a visa to stay in the Netherlands?

Foreign nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are exempt from the visa requirement. For some nationalities outside the EU there is no visa requirement either. Full details can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Short term stays (under 3 months)

Schengen area visa

A Schengen visa allows a foreign national to stay and travel in the Schengen area for up to 3 months within a 6 month period. The visas have a validity of 1, 3 and 5 years, depending on applicants’ visa and travel history. If you have a Schengen visa for the Netherlands, you will also be permitted to travel in the other countries belonging to the Schengen area. There is a handy short-stay calculator, which can be used to calculate the period of allowed stay.

How to apply for a Schengen visa

Foreign nationals need to apply for Schengen visas at the Dutch embassy or consulate in their country of origin. Click here for a list of Dutch missions that issue short-stay visas. A visa is a sticker issued by the embassy or consulate which is pasted into your passport.

When foreign national applies for a permit, they must supply various documents, including documents that demonstrate the purpose of their journey. For example, a letter of invitation from a Dutch company (in the case of a business trip) or a hotel reservation. There are some exceptions. Read on for relevant information on sworn translation which may be required in certain situations.

If the applicant wishes to visit family or friends, they need to supply a form called ‘proof of sponsorship and/or private accommodation’ (bewijs van garantstelling en/of particuliere logiesverstrekking) and a copy of the sponsor’s passport or European identity card. A sponsor may act as a host or a guarantor. Click here for more information on applying and here for details on invitation, sponsorship and guarantor procedures and a list of the required documents for visa application.

Processing time and costs

The processing of visa applications usually takes up to 15 days. But it can sometimes take up to 60 days, for instance if additional inquiries are necessary. If you need to visit the Netherlands urgently (for instance, to attend a family funeral or visit a family member with a terminal illness), you can apply for an emergency visa.

There is a non-refundable administration fee when applying for a visa. View the full details of the costs, which can be paid to the embassy or consulate when applying.

Keep in mind that conditions depend on the purpose of the stay. Find more information about conditions on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

Staying longer than 3 months

If a person wishes to stay in the Netherlands for longer than three months, this cannot be classed as a tourist stay. He or she must apply for a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV). Nationals from certain countries are exempt from needing an MVV to enter the Netherlands. After arrival in the Netherlands, you will need to collect your residence permit (verblijfsvergunning, VVR).

Provisional residence permit (MVV)

The MVV (provisional residence permit) is an entry visa for internationals intending to remain in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days. It is required in order to travel to the Netherlands and pick up your residence permit at the IND. Applications for the MVV and residence permit must be made at the same time through a Dutch embassy or consulate. The MVV is often part of the application process for the residence permit. Depending on your nationality and several other factors, you may not require an MVV. Check the full list of MVV exemptions here. If you do not require an MVV, you may collect your residence permit directly from an IND Desk upon arrival in the Netherlands once the IND has informed you regarding their decision.

Dutch residence permit

Dutch residence permits can be granted for a variety of circumstances. Most types of residence permits require sponsorship, for example, if you are seeking to obtain a residence permit as an employee or highly skilled migrant, the sponsor would be your employer. Application for a residence permit based on family circumstances requires a relative or partner to act as a sponsor. A residence permit for purposes of seeking education would mean your educational institution would be the sponsor. The application, with all additional documents required from your sponsor, can be done either at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence or at the IND through your Netherlands-residing sponsor.

Check IND application form requirements for a permanent residence permit here or browse information on different types of residence permits and their individual requirements.

How to apply for a residence permit and MVV

Depending on the type of residence permit you require, the set of required documents can change, requiring additional information from sponsors, relatives or partners. In certain cases a civic integration exam is also required. You can check whether you need to sit for the civic integration exam here.

There are separate procedures in place created to support internationals who would like to move with their partners or families. Make sure to explore your options, as in some cases, a family application has to be submitted at the time of applying. You can check the requirements for various types of permits here.

There are usually costs associated with the application process, which can vary depending on the type of document you require. The IND decision period for residence permit applications is 90 days. This decision period can be extended if it takes longer for various reasons, such as missing documents. If more information is required, the IND will reach out directly.

Refugees from Ukraine

Refugees from Ukraine do not require a visa and fall under the ‘Temporary Regulations for Ukraine’ scheme. This means they can work in the Netherlands without a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV). This exemption applies to all work as an employee and, to qualify, an employment contract with an employer is needed. More information for Ukrainian refugees about living and working in the Netherlands.