Visas and Staying in the Netherlands
Before you get started in the Netherlands, it is important to make sure that you are allowed to stay and work here. The conditions under which this is permitted differ considerably, as do the specific rules and regulations for the countries and regions with which the Netherlands has agreements.
The DutchCulture Infopoint can give you advice on working in the Netherlands as a foreign artist, performer or specialist in the cultural sector.
On this page you will find information on visas, countries of origin that are exceptions to the rule, and your administrative obligations. Not all regulations and personal situations fit within a rigid framework. And the regulations also often change. So always check the information you have received, for instance by calling the appropriate government agency. Since many of these agencies will only speak with you in Dutch, it is advisable to ask a Dutch partner for help in this regard.
Many nationalities need a visa in order to stay in the Netherlands. In the following text, we will distinguish two types of visas:
Short stay: 90 days within a period of 180 days
Long stay: more than 90 days
Exceptions (no visa required)
Nationalities from the following areas do not need a visa for either short or long stays:
- EU countries
- Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)
For more information, please see the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation Service website
For many other nationalities, there is an exception for Short Stays. They do not need to apply for a visa. However, they may only stay in the Netherlands for 90 days within a period of 180 days. You can find a list of these countries on the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation Service website.
!! Even though you might be able to stay in the Netherlands, that doesn’t automatically mean you are permitted to work here. For the rules and regulations about working in the Netherlands, please see our page on work.
The majority of nationalities from outside the EU will need a Schengen Visa. There are different types of Schengen Visas, but the short-stay Schengen Visa (formally known as a Category C Visa) is the most common. This Schengen Visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days and gives access to all countries in the Schengen Area. The relevant documents and publications can be found on the Dutch government website.
You must apply for a Short-Stay Schengen Visa yourself at a Dutch embassy. The Netherlands has a great many embassies, consulates and other representatives throughout the world. On this page you will find an overview of all Dutch diplomatic posts.
Please note that these diplomatic posts do not all offer the same services, so you cannot apply for a visa everywhere. It is also not possible to apply for a visa upon your arrival in the Netherlands (for instance at Schiphol Airport).
!! It is important to apply for a Schengen Visa at the appropriate time: not too early, but also not too late. Three months before your departure date is the earliest you can apply for a visa. It usually takes about two weeks to process a visa application, but in some cases it can take up to two months. So be sure to plan your application for a visa carefully.
On the Schengen Visa application form you are asked to choose between a single entry and multiple entries. A multiple entry visa allows you to travel in and out of the Schengen Area and stay for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. For instance, if you are touring with a production through the European continent and the United Kingdom (which is outside the Schengen Area), you should choose a multiple entry visa.
On the European Commission website you will find more background information, as well as a calculator for figuring out how long your visa will remain valid when you are planning to make several separate visits. Look for the calculator under the heading ‘Harmonising rules and procedures’.
Extending a Schengen Visa
A Schengen Visa is always granted for a maximum duration of 90 days. If you wish to stay longer, the visa can be extended by a maximum of another 90 days, but only under strict conditions.
Not an EU citizen and planning to stay in the Netherlands or the EU for longer than 90 days? In many cases you will need a Provisional Residence Permit (MVV), also known as a Category D Visa, or a Residence Permit. You can apply for this at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The Residence Wizard on the IND website will point you toward the necessary documents and procedures.
An application for a Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) is processed through the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). You must wait for the outcome of this procedure in your country of residence. You also might be required to take a (short or long) naturalisation course. An MVV is not required for a number of nationalities and in certain situations. Further information can be found on the IND website.
Seeing as the conditions and regulations very often change, it remains advisable to contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service before submitting an application.
Everyone who stays in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days (including nationalities that do not need a visa) must register with the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP). When you register, you will be given a Citizen Service Number (BSN). This number is required by employers and health insurers, and is necessary in order to open a bank account.
You register in the city or town in which you are living. Here's a list of all Dutch municipalities and their visiting addresses, websites and administrators.
When you leave the Netherlands, be sure to have your name removed from the municipal register. This can be done as early as a month before your departure.