Changes in Dutch immigration law for start-up entrepreneurs

15 Mar 2016 | Genoveva Geppaart

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Innovative entrepreneurs from outside the EU can obtain a temporary residence permit


The Netherlands considers entrepreneurs as the engine of the economy. They are a source of innovation and job creation, and therefore, they stimulate economic growth.

Since 1 January 2015, entrepreneurs from outside the EU who want to start an innovative business in the Netherlands can apply for a “start-up” residence permit for one year.

This is considered as a major step in making the Netherlands more innovative and “start-up” friendly.


How does the scheme for “start ups” work?


If you want to apply for a “start-up” residence permit, you need to meet the following conditions:

  • Your product is innovative
  • You have a plan how to develop your ideas into a business
  • You are working together with a trusted and experienced facilitator who is based in the Netherlands
  • Both you and your facilitator are registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce
  • You must have sufficient financial resources to live in the Netherlands for one year.


For more detailed information, please check the website of the IND.

After one year, you need to extend your residence permit based on the self-employment scheme. However, in practice it often takes longer than one year for starting entrepreneurs to fulfil the conditions of the self-employment scheme. It often takes them 2 years to reach the growth phase. The self-employment scheme has been amended to avoid a situation where promising start-ups, in which a lot of money is invested, would be forced to leave the Netherlands. This amendment has come into effect as of 1 January 2016.


Where to file the application for a residence permit


You need to file your application with the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. You can find the application form on the IND’s website. The IND will assess your application. For this, they consult with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

For more detailed information about submitting your application, please check the website of the IND.



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