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Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and sometimes work permits in Netherlands, as established by immigration laws. If you come from outside of the European Union, and are going to run the business in the Netherlands or move foreign staff there, this means that you will need a residence permit, as well as a work permit. This often requires company registration prior to sponsoring work permits for employees, which can be a problem if your company is trying to enter the country quickly. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use an outsourced management company or GEO Employer of Record to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Using your own company


Initial Requirements

Any employer with a branch in the Netherlands or who is represented in the Netherlands by an authorised commercial agent may apply for a residence permit for regular labour. Your organisation must be listed in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce, insofar as this is required under the Commercial Registers Act 2007. Your organisation does not have to be recognised as a sponsor.

An employer must submit an application for a single permit. This is a permit that entitles the foreign national to stay and work in the Netherlands.

The residence permit and the work permit are combined in the single permit. You only have to apply for one permit, at one authority (the IND).

The single permit consists of a residence permit and an additional document stating for which employer the foreign national is permitted to work and under which conditions.

Prior to submitting an application, the employer should determine whether the employer requires a provisional residence permit (MVV). Your employee does not require an MVV if he originates from one of the following countries:

  • An EU Member State
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Vatican City
  • United States of America
  • South Korea

Procedure if MVV not required

1. Submit an application for a single permit at the IND

The application form can be downloaded from the website at ind.nl. There are two types of application forms: One that iscustomised to your situation (only available in Dutch) via the Klantdienstwijzer; another by submitting a standard application form (only available in Dutch).

2. Pay the fees and submit all required documents together with the application form.

These include copies of your employee’s passport/travel ID, and educational diplomas. The employer will also need to submit information on the company itself, about the recruitment process and the employment contract.

Any foreign documents will have to be legalised and be in Dutch, English, French or German.

3. Notify employee of approval

Once the application is granted, you will be notified by the IND as to when the employee can collect his single permit. The single permit consists of a residence document and an additional document. The single permit is issued to the employee in person. From that moment, the employee is permitted to work in the Netherlands as specified in the additional document.

4. Receipt of additional document

You will receive a copy of the additional document after the single permit has been issued to the employee. You must keep this copy pursuant to the duty to keep records.

N.B. In order to be able to employ a Japanese national, you must not submit an application for a single permit, but an application for a residence permit for ‘regular labour’. A work permit is not needed for Japanese nationals.

Procedure if MVV is required

1. Submit a combined application for an mvv and a single permit.

This is the procedure for ‘Entry and Residence’ (TEV).

2. Inform employee if the IND grants an MVV.

The employee must collect the MVV at the Dutch embassy or the Dutch consulate within 3 months. After that, he will have 3 months to enter the Netherlands.

3. Notify employee to collect single permit when application is granted

Once the application is granted, you will be notified by the IND as to when the employee can collect his single permit. The single permit consists of a residence document and an additional document. The single permit is issued to the employee in person. From that moment , the employee is permitted to work in the Netherlands as specified in the additional document.

4. Receipt of additional document

You will receive a copy of the additional document after the single permit has been issued to the employee. You must keep this copy pursuant to the duty to keep records.

Documents Required

The documents required depends on the purpose of residence. The application form for a residence permit indicates which documents and evidence are required.

This may include:

  • the employer’s testimonial, employment contract, the appointment decision or the hosting agreement;
  • the work permit or an application for this;
  • a copy of employee’s passport;
  • in the case of work experience: a work placement or work
  • experience agreement
  • in the event of mandatory civic integration abroad: evidence that the civic integration exam has been passed;
  • antecedents certificate which indicates whether or not the employee has been committed of a criminal offence.


  • If your organisation is recognised as a sponsor, given the application is complete, the IND will usually decide within 2 weeks. If a Single Permit is required, the IND will take about 7 weeks to complete the process.
  • If your organisation is not recognised as a sponsor, and the application is complete, the IND will decide within 90 days. 90 days is also the legal time limit.


The fee (currently EUR 870) is a non-refundable fee for processing your application. You cannot get a refund if your application is refused. Click here for the latest information on fees.

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

Application for combined work permit/residence permit and visa approval of ‘Kennismigrant’ (highly skilled migrants) is submitted on behalf of the applicant to the immigration authority in Netherlands. The approval should take around 10 working days, after which D-type visa approval is communicated by letter to us and electronically to consulate in home country.

The employee must be earning over €4,189 a month for over 30’s and €3,071 for those under 30. They also must have a Bachelor’s Degree, a specialization and several years of relevant work experience.

Process: The Dutch Employer (as a certified Employer) submits the TEV application to the IND in The Netherlands along with the application for a Knowledge Migrant (‘Kennismigrant’) Resident Permit. A decision will be made usually within 2-4 weeks.

Note that nationals of the US can travel to Holland whilst the visa is being applied for.

Once approved, the applicant can commence their role in Holland.

For the physical Residence Permit card to be issued the employees biometrics must be taken in Holland; fingerprints, photo, signature. These will be stored digitally on their Residents Permit card. This will be issued a few weeks after biometrics have been taken at an office of immigration authority.

Officially the employee can only start working once they physically receive the Residence Card (timestamp Y), however it is possible to get a temporary sticker in their passport to allow them to commence their role once the Residence Permit is approved.

On arrival in Holland they need to register at the local Town Hall,

Permits are valid for up to 5 years but this is dependent on the length of the assignment.

Documentation required: employment contract, cv, degree/diploma certificates, professional references, local employers registration as an Authorized Sponsor (Erkend Referent), Dutch Health Insurance.

Types of visas in Netherlands

Category Description of Visa
Setting up business - MVV, Residence Permit and Work Permit (TWV)

In order to set up and to carry on a business, a residence permit is required (if you’re not an European Union national). In some cases, you may also need to apply for an additional work permit (TWV). Another requirement for setting up business is a recognised qualification in the sector.

Before applying for a residence permit, you will need to apply for a provisional residence permit (MVV) that allows you to enter the country as a potential resident rather than as a tourist. You can apply for both the MVV and a residence permit at the same time, called the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). If you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America or Vatican City, or you have an EC permanent residence permit, issued by another EU member state, you do not need to apply for a MVV but instead you are eligible to apply for a residence permit at the Department of Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) desk within three days of entering the country.

The costs of obtaining residence permit would depend on the legal form of your business – whether you are self-employed as a sole trader, enter into a partnership agreement or venture into a start-up.

Residence permits are renewed annually. You will receive a letter from the IND three months before your permit expires, advising you to extend your residence permit, along with the extension application form.

Single Permit (Combined residence and employment permit) – GVVA

As of 1 April 2014 foreign nationals from outside the EEA and Switzerland must apply for a combined residence and employment permit (GVVA) if they intend to work here for longer than three months. The procedures for applying for an employer-sponsored work permit is detailed in the above section of ‘Using your own company’. Usually it is the employer who applies for it and the permits are issued for up to three years.

If the intention is for the employee to work for less than 3 months, a separate work permit can be applied for to the Netherlands Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). This work permit is valid for a maximum of 1 year with the availability of a renewal.

The cost of a Single Permit is €870.

Intra-Company Transfer - Separate work permit and residence permit

The organisation must be registered in the Chamber of Commerce’s trading register as required by the Company Trade Register act 2007. The employer does not have to be a recognised sponsor.

For intra-company transferees, namely trainees, specialists and key personnel, it is no longer possible to start the single permit procedure. Employers will need to apply for 2 separate applications: a work permit with the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) and a residence permit with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

Depending on the employees nationality, the employer may need to apply for a provisional Residence Permit (MVV) for the employee. An MVV is a visa that is issued for a stay longer than 90 days. The sponsor submits an application both for an MVV and a residence permit at the same time. This is called the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV).

It may be that your employer is a recognised sponsor, who may qualify for the fast-track procedure in which the IND aims to decide within 7 weeks of receiving an application.

Duration: Employee is entitled to reside in Netherlands for the duration of the employment contract or the appointment with the opportunity to extend (as long as applied for within good time)

Cost: €870

Entrepreneur Permit

In the Netherlands, freelancers, entrepreneurs and one-man start-ups are recognised as ZZP’ers (zelfstandige zonder personeel) or self-employed without employees. As such, the procedure is very similar to that of anyone starting a business or registering a company. To become a ZZP’er you will need to have certain documentation (residence permit, address, etc.) among other essentials. The IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) and the Chamber of Commerce can advise you on your individual situation.

A new scheme makes it possible for ambitious entrepreneurs to apply for a temporary residence permit for in the Netherlands. The scheme’s associated residence permit entitles the applicant to be a resident of the Netherlands for one year. Within that year, the start-up entrepreneur can create a business based on an innovative product or service under the guidance of an experienced mentor. After one year, the start-up entrepreneur may have the duration of their residence permit extended on the basis of the Dutch government’s self-employment scheme. In this regard, the start-up entrepreneur must meet the standard requirements applicable to the self-employment scheme.

There are general and specific conditions that need to be met for an application under this scheme. They can be found on the government’s website at https://ind.nl/EN/business/investor-self-employment-start-up/Start-up/Pages/default.aspx

The cost of the ‘start-up’ permit is currently €307 and if extended through the self-employment scheme, the cost is €384.



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