If you come to the Netherlands to live, work or study, you are likely to have some questions about the procedures and arrangements you need to make.
Before you come to the Netherlands
Visa and other arrangements
If you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months to live, study, work or join a relative or partner, you may need to apply for a Dutch visa or other permit. Your nationality, the intended length of your stay, and your reason for coming to the Netherlands will dictate the Dutch visa or permit you need.
If you come from one of the countries in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland, you don’t need a visa to visit, live, work or study in the Netherlands, no matter how long you stay. (Please note; the latest EU member state, Croatia, is still subject to work permit requirements). If you’re staying for less than four months, you are not obliged to register but you will still need to get a Citizen Service Number (BSN) for all official matters.
For those stopping briefly in the Netherlands (even for a few hours) en route to another destination or staying for up to three months, unless you’re a national of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland.
Long-stay Dutch visas more than three months
If you want to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, unless you’re a national of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland.
Planning to work in the Netherlands?
All EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, with the exception of Croatians (see below), can work without restriction in all sectors. For the time being, there are work restrictions in effect for Croatian citizens: you may only work in the Netherlands if your employer has a work permit for you for the first 12 months. After 12 months’ continuous, legal employment, you can work freely in the Netherlands without a permit.
Third-party nationals (i.e. those from outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland) will usually only be able to work in the Netherlands if an employer has obtained a work permit in their name. It is the employer who files the application, and the permit is issued for up to three years.
Who doesn’t need a work permit?
If you have a residence permit as a ‘highly skilled migrant’, a scientific researcher or a graduate of a Dutch university spending a year searching for work, you can work without the employer needing to arrange a separate work permit for you. However, if you work for another employer at the same time, your other employer will need to arrange a work permit for you. Family members enjoy the same rights as their relative living in the Netherlands.
Soon after your arrival to the Netherlands
Legal stay in the Netherlands
- Report to the IND and pick up your residence permit.
- If you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than four months, you will need to register with the personal records database. You have to register yourself and your family (if applicable) at the Public Services Department at City Hall. Adults and minors must apply in person.