The Netherlands Work Permits and Visas

The Netherlands Work Permits and Visas
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Globally expanding companies may want to hire remote employees in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to be part of their distributed teams. Your employees may be Dutch citizens or they may be citizens of other countries — living and working in the Netherlands temporarily, planning to relocate permanently, or traveling as digital nomads. As an employer, you share the responsibility with the employee for making sure they can work in the country legally.

Depending on certain criteria, employees who are citizens of some countries need to have a Netherlands visa and work permit if they want to enter the country and work there.

This article will outline:

  • The types of Netherlands work visas
  • Netherlands visa requirements
  • The basics of Netherlands immigration laws
  • How to apply for a Netherlands work permit visa

If your company is planning on hiring employees in the Netherlands or anywhere in Europe, an employer of record (EOR) such as Skuad can help. An EOR makes expansion into new markets easy by hiring and onboarding talent on your behalf without your company establishing local legal entities everywhere you hire. This way, you can concentrate on your company’s core businesses that make you succeed.

Types of Netherlands work visa and permit

An efficient global expansion strategy involves securing the right Netherlands work permits for your employees. There are several types of visas in the Netherlands. Those who are not exempt from the visa requirement would need to get a short-stay visa for visits up to 90 days, or a long-stay visa or residence permit for visits over 90 days.

Since the Netherlands is part of the Schengen zone — a visa-free zone — it is possible for holders of a Schengen visa who are citizens of other countries in the Schengen zone to freely travel to the Netherlands for short-stay tourism or business trips for up to 90 days during any 180 days.

There is also a Netherlands Caribbean visa for travel to the Caribbean territories of the Netherlands for 90 days during any 180 days. The Caribbean Netherlands includes these territories:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Saba
  • St Eustatius
  • St Maarten

The Netherlands Caribbean visa does not allow travel to the European part of the Netherlands and does not allow working without a work permit.

The following sections outline the types of work permits relevant to remote employees working in the country.

GVVA or single permit

Citizens of countries from outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland need to get a work permit to work in the Netherlands. A work permit by itself is called a tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV). Employers may receive a TWV for their foreign employees if they can prove that a suitable candidate from the EU cannot be found to fill the position.

Any foreign citizen wishing to work in the Netherlands for more than three months is required to get a residence and work permit called a gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid (GVVA). A GVVA is a combined residence and work permit. Employees coming to work in the Netherlands for less than three months are not required to get a GVVA, but their employers are still required to get a TWV for their employees.

Entrepreneur permit

Organizations planning to enter new markets can apply for residences permits for self-employment. This particular residence permit is called a verblijfsvergunning zelfstandig ondernemer. It allows self-employed people to be able to work in the Netherlands for more than 90 days.

Entrepreneurs can get a Dutch startup visa to start a company in the Netherlands. This visa is a residence permit that allows visitors from outside the EU, EEA, and Switzerland to enter the Netherlands for one year to start a company.

Search year permit (zoekjaar) for Netherlands graduates

Zoekjaar is the Dutch word for "search year permit," also known as an orientation year permit. It is the year-long permit a graduate can use to find a job in the Netherlands. During this year, the permit holder does not need a separate work permit to be able to work or start a company. This permit has a maximum duration of one year and is not renewable or extendable.

Benefits of the zoekjaar permit include:

  • Holders do not need an additional work permit to work or start a company.
  • It allows access to the Dutch labor market without requiring an employer to get a separate permit for the zoekjaar permit holder.
  • Each graduation allows for a new search year permit.

Orientation year (zoekjaar) permits for expat graduates

Highly educated foreign graduates can get an orientation year permit. This one-year residence permit allows recent graduate migrants to start a company or work in the Netherlands.

It is intended for:

  • Foreign students studying in the Netherlands
  • Foreign students who have graduated from a top university outside of the Netherlands
  • Foreign researchers who have conducted scientific research in the Netherlands

Graduates have three years from their graduation to apply for this residence permit. The permit allows graduates and researchers to find a job and work in the country as highly skilled migrants.

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Netherlands visa requirements

Citizens from some countries are visa exempt and can visit the Netherlands without needing to get a visa. The countries whose citizens do not require a visa for the Netherlands include the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.

Individuals from some countries do not need to get a long-stay visa but do need to get a residence permit if they intend to stay in the Netherlands longer than 90 days. Citizens from the United States belong to this group and would need a residence permit.

Certain documents are required with visa applications for employed applicants seeking work within the Netherlands. All documents need to be in English, Dutch, Spanish, or French and include:

  • Completed and signed visa application form
  • Passport photo that is 35 by 45 mm in size
  • Passport or travel documents
  • Copy of the passport’s details
  • Copy of previous visas with stamps
  • Proof of legal residence
  • Travel itinerary
  • Proof of a return trip
  • Letter from the employer including job titles, salary, duration of the visit, and purpose of the visit
  • Payslips from the previous three months
  • Approved leave of absence from the employer
  • Employment contract
  • Work permit
  • Proof of financial means providing at least €34 per day for the duration of the visit
  • Proof of payment of the visa fee
  • Proof of sponsorship, if the applicant is sponsored

How to apply for the Netherlands work visa and permits

Applicants can apply for a Netherlands visa at the local embassy in their home country. To do this, they would need to make sure they fulfill the Netherlands visa requirements. Then, they need to make an appointment for an interview online or in person between three months and 15 working days before the intended trip.

The 10 to 15-minute interview is held by the visa consular at the embassy or consulate office, who will process the application.

Questions that are asked at the interview may include:

  • Purpose of the trip
  • Dates of trip
  • Marital status
  • Educational background
  • Financial background and who is financing the trip

A visa application fee will need to be paid unless there is a fee exemption. Certain people are exempt from the fee, including family members of citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, students, teachers, and researchers.

Fees for work and residence visas vary. For example:

  • The fee is €80 per adult for a short-stay visa.
  • For a long-stay visa, the fee is €285 per adult for the first application and €171 for long-term EU residents.
  • The first application fee for self-employed persons is €1385 and €361 EUR for long-term EU residents.

Work permit applications

The following are procedures for approval of different work permits:

  • To get a work permit (TWV), employers must apply for their employees.
  • To get a combined residence and work permit (GVVA), employees can apply for themselves online.
  • To get an entrepreneur permit, the facilitator must apply on behalf of the individual.
  • To get an orientation year permit, applicants can apply directly at the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Application processing time

Most decisions on visa applications take around 15 days but can take up to 45 days.

Applications for work permits and visas can be easier with an employer of record like Skuad. Partnering with an employer of record ensures your employees can legally work in their country.

Planning to hire or work in the Netherlands? Here’s how Skuad can help

Whether you’re moving team members to manage your projects or want to empower your employees to work from wherever they’d like, check out how Skuad makes mobility possible. Hire talent in the Netherlands and beyond, and build globally-distributed teams easily with Skuad.

Skuad can be your employer of record in the Netherlands to help make it easier to hire remote employees. 

An EOR in the Netherlands can:

  • Onboard new employees locally
  • Process cross-border payroll and payroll taxes
  • Ensure your employees have Netherlands work permits
  • Ensure your employees fulfill Netherlands visa requirements
  • Maintain local compliance with employment and Netherlands immigration laws

Contact Skuad for a demo today to see how we can enable your organization to employ contractors and full-time employees in over 160 countries. 


How can I get a work permit in the Netherlands?

To be able to work in the Netherlands, you need a visa and a work permit. Visas can be obtained by employees but work permits must be obtained by employers for their employees.

You can apply for a visa at the Netherlands embassy in your home country. Apply for an online or in-person interview appointment between three months and 15 working days before your intended trip to the Netherlands.

How long does it take to get a work permit in the Netherlands?

Most decisions on applications take around 15 days but can take up to 45 days. Make sure you have submitted the appropriate documents so the processing is as quick and smooth as possible. All documents need to be in English, Dutch, Spanish, or French.

Can I work in the Netherlands as a US citizen?

As a US citizen, you are allowed to apply for a visa and work permit to work in the Netherlands. Citizens from the United States need to get a residence permit to work in the country longer than 90 days.

How can I move to the Netherlands from the US?

Americans can relocate to the Netherlands to work if they have a visa and work permit. You need to go through the process of migrating to the Netherlands and follow certain civic procedures upon arrival, such as registering in your new municipality.

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