The Netherlands's Startup Visa program offers a compelling opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs. This initiative welcomes global visionaries to establish their startups in the heart of Europe.

The European Commission positions the Netherlands as a formidable leader in innovations. The nation secures the fourth spot among innovation pioneers on the continent.

The Netherlands not only takes the lead in fostering innovation but also in global job creation. According to a 2023 report by Dealroom, Dutch startups have generated 256,000 jobs worldwide. This development comes with an extra 151,000 jobs sprouting up in over 50 cities across the country.

For entrepreneurs beyond the EU/EEA/Switzerland keeping an eye on the Dutch business scene, the Netherlands Startup Visa offers a welcoming gateway. This visa provides a one-year temporary residence permit. This aims to allow foreign entrepreneurs to establish their foothold. They can then transition to a Self-Employment Visa upon meeting specific criteria. They can also extend the visa as long as they can demonstrate a successful implementation of their business idea within a set timeframe.

Count on Unusual Companies to navigate the process seamlessly. Renowned for our expertise in services like establishing companies in the Netherlands, consulting on Dutch Startup Visas and providing Business Accelerator Programs for Startups, we are here to be your loyal partner in transforming entrepreneurial dreams into tangible success.

To help you get started, we’ve created this blog article to answer your questions and, eventually, make the process easier for you.


General requirements

For those aspiring to obtain a Startup Visa in the Netherlands, here's a step-by-step breakdown based on the guidelines from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND):

  • Travel Document or Passport: Ensure you hold a valid travel document or passport to initiate your application.
  • National Security Check: Adhere to national security protocols to stay in compliance with the rules.
  • Tuberculosis Testing: Depending on your application country, be prepared for a tuberculosis test as part of the process.

It’s worth noting that seeking guidance from an experienced facilitator is mandatory. This facilitator can either initiate the application process on your behalf or assist you in doing so. If your facilitator handles the application, it can be completed online.

Alternatively, if you choose to apply independently, submission is required via post. This process entails furnishing detailed information about yourself. In addition to your personal information, you also need to include a comprehensive plan outlining your roadmap to establishing a company, which will be assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

RVO will assess how effectively you can turn your business ideas into operational companies within a year. Make sure you have prepared the important aspects, including organizational structure, roles, legal framework, employee details, company goals and plans for establishing your business in the Netherlands.

Remember that you need to play a vital role in the startup you intend to establish, whether it's as a CEO, CFO, COO or other C-level positions. If you take on the role of an investor or shareholder, your application will fail.

The submission process requires you to get registered with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). However, if you can't register right away, don't worry. Your facilitator can give you a declaration to guarantee your startup will be registered once you get your residence permit.

You also need adequate funds to live and set up a business in the Netherlands. It’s not possible to rely on public funds like welfare benefits. Therefore, you are required to demonstrate that you have sufficient resources. This includes presenting a bank statement indicating that you earn at least 70 percent of the standard amount for single persons under the Minimum Wage Act.


Working in the Netherlands with a Startup Visa

The application for a startup visa can be submitted through the Dutch Embassy or Consulate General in your current country of residence. This possibly involves an application for a provisional residence permit (mvv).

Entrepreneurs from specific countries, including the U.K., the U.S., and Switzerland, are exempt from the mvv requirement. They have the privilege of applying directly to the IND using the dedicated application form available on the website. Foreign nationals with a valid residence permit can also use the same application form.

In qualifying for the startup visa in the Netherlands, there is no rigid list of specific industries. The primary focus is on the value that your products or services bring to the country. Therefore, emphasizing innovation becomes pivotal.

A product or service is considered innovative if it fits three criteria. First, it introduces something new to the Dutch market. Second, it employs inventive organizational methods and procedures. Lastly, it utilizes new technologies in production, distribution and advertising.

Ready to pursue the Netherlands Startup Visa? Unusual Companies is your partner for company establishment in the country. We offer a streamlined process through our comprehensive services. Our Startup Visa Consultancy manages paperwork, connects you with a Facilitator, and aids in creating a Business Plan. Beyond visas, our Business Establishment Service also handles legalities, infrastructure setup and growth strategies. Count on Unusual Companies to simplify every step of your startup journey.