US Citizen Visa & Permit Questions

I am a US citizen planning to move with my wife and daughter to the Netherlands at the start of 2024 and live there permanently.  I've searched online and through this forum for answers to a few questions I have, but I can't seem to get clear answers.   

I will be working as a contractor for my current US employer.  I am moving there on my own and my company is not opening a branch there.  My questions mainly surround visas.

  • Can we go there, and during the 90 days, apply and receive a long stay visa without an NL employer sponsorship?
  • Should we all apply for a long stay visa in the US before going?
  • At what point do we receive a residence permit?  It looks like once there, we apply through the local municipality, correct?
  • As I am not being sponsored,  are there other considerations that I need to account for?
  • I would qualify for the 30% ruling.  It looks like is done through the local authorities (Belastingdienst) once there, correct?

I will be using a global employment service that will handle taxes, benefits, etc. so that I am compliant from a governmental requirement perspective.  Has anyone had any issues from the government while using one of these services?

I sincerely appreciate help for any of the above.

Thank you.

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

The Dutch Government website has a website that should answer all of your questions; this link will take you straight to the page dealing with it.

I assume your Global Employment service will act as your sponsor; I strongly suggest you speak to them now to answer your questions regarding visas and residency permits.  If they are not your sponsor, then the Dutch will regard you as self-employed and there are specific requirements for being self-employed (link).  We have heard of people coming unstuck when it becomes known they are working for a single employer in a non-EU country, they will ask you if your work is of "Essential interest to the Dutch economy", this is not a given, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) will assess whether your skills are unique and needed in the Netherlands; if they're not, you will be refused and reminded of the 90-day rule for visitors to the Netherlands.

To answer your specific questions:

  • No.  You must apply in the USA.
  • Yes (see above).
  • Residency is an end product of Registration at the Municipality (Gemeente), you have to apply for your appointment within 5 days, but because of the lingering effects of Covid on the Civil Service, the appointment itself can take much longer to happen.  You also get your BSN from this process; without it, you can't do much (open a bank account, register with a doctor, get health insurance, register a car), so it's important.
  • Health Insurance - you must have this, I assume your Service is going to act as your employer and pay their contribution.
  • 30% ruling - the Dutch Government website has a webpage to answer your questions; this link will take you straight to it.  I don't think you'll qualify, but I'm not the Belastingdienst, best you ask your Service as they will be acting as your employer so will have to be registered with the Belastingdienst to do this.  They should tell you pretty quickly as I don't think you'll be the first person to ask this.

I hope this helps.


Expat Team

@Leslie Holland

Hi there!

It seems you are looking for a DAFT + 30% Ruling, setting up your own contracting company for work from the Netherlands. Your US passport actually is a huge benefit here, because the DAFT is quite easy to obtain for Americans.

  1. As a US Citizen applying for DAFT, you don't need NL employer sponsorship. You apply for DAFT before you arrive. In your first weeks you get a DAFT sticker in your passport, and you can work, reside and move in and out NL as you please. No 90-day Schengen visa is needed.
  2. You should start up the process before you move.
  3. See 1. You get your sticker quickly. Your confirmation within 2-3 months.
  4. You need to setup a company, that is explained on the page above
  5. 30% ruling needs to be applied after you arrive, but you need to sign your 30% labour contract with your own contracting company before you migrate to NL.

Feel free to book a free call via the website above.

Kind Regards,

Diederick Cardon

Hi Leslie,If you're going to apply for residency I'd advise you to start collecting birth certificates, wedding and if applicable divorce certificates, all with apostilles. You'll need them when applying for your bsn numbers.There's all kinds of info on the immigration website,

Also, once you're in Holland and have started the whole process, make an appointment to have your biometrics done (fingerprints etc.) for you and your family, also on that website. It'll safe time.Good luck and I hope you'll enjoy living in Holland - we do!Tineke van Eiken

Thank you to all who have replied!  All of this is fantastic information.