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. Click here for the list of countries whose nationals require a visa for a stay of up to 90 days.
Schengen area visa
A Schengen visa allows a foreign national to stay and travel in the Schengen area for up to three months within a six month period. The visas have a validity of one, three and five 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 (and a user's guide for it), which can be used to calculate the period of allowed stay.
Where to apply for a 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.
How to apply
When a foreign national applies for a visa, they must supply various documents, including documents that demonstrate the purpose of their journey, such as a letter of invitation from a Dutch company (in the case of a business trip) or a hotel reservation. There are some exceptions.
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.
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 suffering from a terminal illness), you can apply for an emergency visa.
There is a non-refundable administration fee when applying for a visa. View details of the costs, which can be paid to the embassy or consulate when applying.
Staying longer than three 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). Citizens from the EU, EEA or Switzerland are exempt from this. After arrival in the Netherlands, you will need to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning, VVR).
Learn more about moving to and living in the Amsterdam Area.