Residency in the Netherlands for Non-EU Nationals
Understand the visas and permits you'll need if you are from a non-EU country...
Prior to Arrival: Provisional Residence Permits
Most non-EU citizens who intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days need a visa, also known as a Provisional Residence Permit (Machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf - MVV) to enter the country. This visa must be applied for at the Dutch Embassy in the applicant's home country (or country of legal residence) before departure. Processing time can be up to three months.
Nationals of the following countries are not required to obtain an MVV:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- The United States of America
- Vatican City
In most cases the applicant for an MVV will need a sponsor (guarantor) in the Netherlands. This is a person or organisation willing to accept responsibility for financially supporting the applicant in the event the applicant cannot. A sponsor declaration commits the sponsor to be a guarantor for the applicant for up to five years, or less if the duration of their stay in the Netherlands is shorter than five years. The guarantor's responsibility ends if the person they have sponsored:
- Becomes a Dutch citizen
- Leaves the Netherlands permanently
- Provides adequate security themselves
- Is granted a residence permit for an indefinite duration
- Is granted a residence permit for a different purpose of stay
Before an application for an MVV is submitted, sponsors may submit a Request for Advice to the IND in order to determine whether the person they will be sponsoring is eligible for an MVV. The IND will reply within three months with a negative or positive response. If a negative response is received, an application for an MVV should not be submitted.
Most individuals requesting an MVV will also have to take a Civic Integration Examination. This involves answering questions about the history, law and customs in the Netherlands, as well as proving knowledge of some Dutch.
In order to receive a provisional residence permit (MVV), and later, a residence permit, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant has a valid passport
- They do not constitute a risk to public order, national security or peace
- The applicant (and their sponsor) has sufficient means of support or income
- They are willing to submit to a tuberculosis test
- The applicant has health insurance coverage in the Netherlands
- The requirements for "purpose of stay" are met
- The applicant has successfully completed the civic integration examination before arrival (if applicable; certain nationalities, au pairs, exchange students, those visiting family, the self-employed and those coming to work or for medical treatment are exempt)
Different documents will be necessary depending on the reason for stay. For example someone planning to work in the Netherlands will need to produce an employment contract, while someone re-joining a spouse will need to produce a marriage certificate.
- The IND Residence Wizard provides detailed information on the documents required for any personal situation: Click here
Note: All documents must be in English, French, Dutch or German or translated by a sworn translator from a Dutch court. Official foreign documents such as birth or marriage certificates must be legalised or provided with an apostille stamp. Embassies are able to provide this service.
After Arrival: registering
Anyone planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than 4 months must register on the local BRP within three to five days of arrival. This applies to both EU and non-EU citizens.
- For more information on the registration process, see Registration on Arrival
After Arrival: obtaining a residence permit
If intending to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, non-EU nationals must apply for a residence permit while their MVV is still valid. It is suggested to submit the application within eight days of arrival in the country.
Appointments must be made by phone; appointments will be given for the IND office closest to the registrant's home. Application forms can be obtained on the phone, downloaded from the IND website or picked up in person from an IND office.
- Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst
At: Communication Department, Postbus 287, 760 AG Almelo
Registration appointments: 0900 123 4561
Tel: +31 20 889 3045 (from outside the Netherlands)
Necessary documents for an application will depend on the purpose of stay, however, a recent passport photograph and a valid passport are always necessary. The municipal authority will then place a sticker in the applicant's valid passport to prove that the person is lawfully residing in the Netherlands while awaiting the decision of the IND (this can take up to six months).
The following are generally required to make the application:
- Completed application form
- Valid passport
- A recent passport photograph
Written notification will be sent regarding whether the application is successful or not successful. If it is successful, the letter will indicate where the residence permit can be collected. If it is not successful, an appeal may be possible.
The residence permit is generally issued for one year and thereafter is renewable every five years or annually, depending on the conditions for residency.
Extending a residence permit
After the first year it is possible to apply for an extension to the residence permit. This must be done before it expires. The IND usually sends a letter three months before the permit expires with an application form. Whether the permit is extended and for how long will depend on the person's situation. The maximum period for which the permit can be extended is five years.
Changing a residence permit
It is necessary to notify the IND in the following instances:
- The purpose, or reason of stay changes
- There is a change in the personal situation
- There is a change in the situation of a sponsor, for example change of employer or if the person chooses to stay with someone else
Residence Permit for Continued Residence
A person staying in the Netherlands with a residence permit for a definite period may be entitled to a permit for continued residence. To apply for one of these permits the person must:
- Be married or have a registered partnership for three or more years
- Be married or have a registered partnership and the spouse/partner dies
- Be married or have a registered partnership, and have reasons of a humanitarian nature
- Be a minor and have had a residence permit for more than one year allowing him/her to stay with a parent
- Be a minor and the parent or adoptive/foster parent has died
- Be 18 and over, having stayed with a parent for three or more years
- Be 18 and over and the parent has died
- Be a victim of domestic violence
- Be a parent having stayed with your child for more than three years
- Have held a residence permit as a solitary underage foreign national for at least three years
- Have held a residence permit for more than three years because unable to leave the Netherlands for circumstances out of the person's control
- Have held a residence permit for more than three years for medical reasons and further treatment is necessary for at least one year
- Be a victim of or witness reporting human trafficking
- To download an application form for a permit for continued residence see the section of the IND website "Brochures & Forms"
There is a fee payable to obtain a MVV, residence permit or to pass the Civic Integration Examination. This is payable where the application is submitted or where the examination takes place. It is not refunded if applications are rejected or if the person fails the examination.
- Information for American citizens from the Royal Dutch Embassy on moving to the Netherlands
- Information for British nationals from the British Embassy in the Hague on moving to the Netherlands and registering with the local authorities
- Information for Canadian citizens from the Royal Dutch Embassy on moving to the Netherlands and further information from the Canadian Embassy in The Hague
- Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs