Updated 7 months ago

Entry to the Netherlands is not difficult, but it can take time, so it is wise to plan and inquire about visas and permits before your arrival.

Please note that this page is meant to reflect general information, and additional research may be needed depending on your situation.


The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 and effectively did away with borders for European nationals of the countries that participated in it. As such, it has also streamlined much of the visa application process. Citizens from countries participating in the Schengen area do not need visas to enter the Netherlands.

Citizens from nations outside the Schengen area may or may not need a visa to enter the country, depending on which country they are from. A complete list of countries and whether a visa is required can be found on the government’s 'entering the Netherlands without a visa' page. If you do need to apply for a visa, then you can see the requirements and find the forms on the Schengen Visa Info for the Netherlands. Applying for a visa usually takes between 2-14 days, although this does depend on the operating capacity of the Netherlands’ Embassy/Consulate in your country.

Please be advised that, even if you do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands, you may still require an MVV (long-stay visa) and/or a residence permit to remain in the Netherlands after 90 days, but this depends on your country of origin. Citizens of the EU/EFTA, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America and the Vatican City are exempt from needing an MVV. If you need an MVV then you will also begin applying for a residence permit at the same time. Otherwise, you can apply directly for a residence permit.

The Schengen Visa

If you obtain a Uniform Schengen visa then you may enter the Netherlands without an additional visa. However, the Schengen visa is only valid for six months, and you may only reside in the Netherlands (or any other Schengen area nation) for 3 months during that time.

Residence Permits

The IND (immigration service) is the agency where you will apply for a residence permit. As with visas, it is best to begin this process before you leave your home country.

Depending on the reason for your stay and your country of origin, you may be required to have a sponsor. Applications for the MVV and/or residence permit can be submitted to the Dutch embassy of the country you legally reside in, or mailed to the IND, or submitted directly to an office of the IND. You will pay the processing fee when you submit the application (be advised that the cost can be more than €1000); this fee is nonrefundable in the event that your application is rejected.

Residence permits can be picked up at a regional IND office; for this, you will need to make an appointment.

Once you have chosen your place to stay, you will need to register with the gemeente (municipality); in addition to your passport and residence permit, you will also need a translated and legalised birth certificate.

 Useful links:

Immigration and Naturalization Service - Residence permit
Immigration and Naturalization Service - Costs and income requirements
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Netherlands Embassies and Consulates worldwide

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.