Entrepreneurs who travel to the Netherlands to start a business may apply for an entrepreneur residency permit. Under the more liberal start-up program, entrepreneurs who are just starting out can apply if they collaborate with a recognised sponsor. If they make investments in the Dutch economy, foreign investors may apply for a Dutch residence visa.


Regular business owners are scored using a point system. Candidates can receive points for their business idea, prior experience, and economic impact on the Netherlands. This is one of the more strict techniques because the points are not easily attained.


A permit is given under the start-up program for a year to help the business grow with the assistance of a facilitator. After this year, the business owner will have to use the point-based method to apply for a regular business permit.


The primary factor for investors is the investment amount. A demonstration of the investment’s benefits to the Dutch economy is one of the conditions that must be met.

Types of visas

Dutch startup Visa

Ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland may apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands via the Dutch startup visa program. With this visa, entrepreneurs and business people have a year to launch their innovative businesses. It is required that you get guidance from a knowledgeable facilitator. This assistance enables you to develop from a start-up into a fully functional firm.

This visa has 5 conditions:

  • Working together with an expert facilitator
  • The entrepreneur must show a step-by-step plan on how to advance their startup to a fully functioning business.
  • The startup must offer an original innovative product/service not already offered in the Netherlands.
  • The entrepreneur and the facilitator must be registered in the chamber of commerce (KVK)

EntrepreneurVisa (ZZP)

Freelancers, business owners, and one-person startups are recognised as ZZP’ers (zelfstandige zonder personeel), or self-employed without staff in the Netherlands. Thus, the process is quite comparable to establishing a business or registering a corporation. You will need certain documentation (residence permission, address, etc.) in addition to other requirements to join the ZZP. Before the introduction of the Dutch start-up visa in 2015, this was the only way to start a business here in the Netherlands. As such, the Dutch startup visa is considered to be an improvement on the Entrepreneur visa since it gives you 1 year to establish your company.

Highly Skilled Migrant Visa

This option is often overlooked, but entrepreneurs can also start their own company with a highly skilled migrant visa. Entrepreneurs can start a business next to their full-time job with much fewer restrictions compared to the Dutch start-up visa or the Entrepreneur visa. The advantage of this option is there are no income requirements for your company. You can keep your company running even if you are not making a profit from it, as long as you still have a valid highly skilled migrant visa.

Verify that you meet the requirements for staying in the Netherlands.

There are a variety of requirements that entrepreneurs must meet to remain in the Netherlands (see Coming to the Netherlands). You will typically need to apply for a temporary (MVV) and permanent residence permit if you are not an EU citizen. If you are a creative startup, you might be eligible for a startup visa.

You must also have or apply for a business bank account if you intend to start a business in the Netherlands (IBAN). To assist you in determining your eligibility, the Dutch Banking Association (Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken) has developed a Quick Scan. Read the instructions.

For a step-by-step plan on how to start your business here in the Netherlands, please visit the Dutch Government website.