The IND stands for Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), which is a branch of the security and justice ministry.

Every international entering the Netherlands, will submit all visa and residence permit applications (among other things) to IND.

Everything from biometrics, 30 percent ruling, and citizenship applications are evaluated by the IND. However, the majority of IND’s activities are focused on processing visa and residence permit applications.

With offices throughout the Netherlands, IND is your main resource for legal and immigration information as an expat, highly skilled migrant, international student, or Dutch employer with an international workforce.

Below we breakdown the varying services, applications, and resources IND makes available to those residing in the Netherlands.

IND: Main Services

The IND is as a resource with forms and questions regarding immigration and sponsorship. Therefore, getting acquainted with the IND website is beneficial.

However, the main responsibility of IND is handling and processing all immigration and naturalization applications.

Ranging from students seeking to study in the Netherlands, those seeking asylum, and internationals moving to work in the Dutch labor market, IND processes around 100,000 and 150,000 applications every year.

These are the main types of residency and naturalization applications IND handles:

Residency for Work

According to IND’s official website, one of their main services includes processing the varying work residence permits and applications for internationals.

As foreign workers contribute in a large part to the dutch economy, the IND offers varying permits for those looking to move from abroad to work in the Netherlands.

If you (or your employer) are applying for your residency to work in the Netherlands, you have the following type of residency applications to select from:

Work Residence Permit as a Highly Skilled Migrant

One of the more common work permits that we handle are the application processes for the highly skilled migrant residence permits.

To gain a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant the following is needed:

  1. to be recruited and employed by an IND recognized sponsor that can submit the residence permit on your behalf
  2. to have your employer outsource your employment and sponsorship to a payrolling firm (like All About Expats) that is an IND recognized sponsor

Your employer or the firm handling your sponsorship, will submit your application via online or by writing. They must do this within three months of your arrival.

Moreover, if your employer does intend to process your work permit as a highly skilled migrant, there is a income threshold your salary must meet.

All About Expats has a breakdown on the minimum income requirements.

The application fee for a highly skilled migrant is € 380,00 (as of 2024). A decision is usually returned within 90 days.

Notably, after your employer or payrolling provider receives the decision, you can begin working while waiting to pickup your residence card.

The appointment to pickup your new residence card is made online. However, appointments fill quickly so you might have a delay in picking up your physical permit.

Employers can begin the online application for a highly skilled migrant residence permit. Learn more about the general requirements and application process.

Work Residence under Orientation Year

If you are wrapping up your studies and are graduating or have completed a degree program from a Dutch university within the last three years, you can stay in the Netherlands for an additional year.

With an orientation year residence permit, you can work for any Dutch business without sponsorship. This residence permit (which has to be handled by the applicant not an employer) allows you to work without a work permit and sponsorship.

Aside from the permit the only other document you will need to process with IND is for a Residence Endorsement sticker which goes on your passport. This endorsement sticker serves as a legal statement letting employers know that you are ‘free to work, work permit not required.’

Application fee for the orientation year residence permit is € 228,00. You can learn more about the specific requirements (including required documents and circumstances).

All About Expats also has an extensive FAQ page related to the orientation year residence permit which can guide you in your application process.

Work Residence as a Start-Up

If you are building a start-up and want to do it in the Netherlands, you can apply for a start-up work residence permit.

The requirements for this can vary depending on your country of citizenship. For example, those from the United States can make use of the DAFT instead of the start-up work permit in order to start a business in the Netherlands.

Notwithstanding, most applicants for this type of work permit must have a active contract with a facilitator (mentor), a business plan assessed by the RVO (The Netherlands Enterprise Agency), and can meet the set income requirement.

These are only a few of the specific requirements from IND to be able to apply for a residency for work as a start-up.

Learn more about the specific requirements, application fees, and other applicable information.

Sponsor an Employee as a Start-Up

Another work residence permit (because there are a handful other work residence permit types) is the residence permit related to employing someone at a start-up.

Related to bringing over an employee from abroad to work in your start-up, this is a pilot project which runs from 1 June 2021 to 1 June 2025. The residence permit for the employee stays active for an additional year once the pilot ends.

The start-up needs to meet specific requirements, which include having at least 15 employees, proof the product or service is new to the Netherlands, and the start-up has proof of growth and scaling. There are other specific requirements for the start-up which can be found here.

The start-up can only submit an application for up to five essential employees from abroad under this particular work residence permit.

IND Services for Family and Partner

In addition to work residency permits, IND also facilitates and processes the residency for family members and legal domestic partners.

If you are a Dutch citizen or have a valid Dutch residence permit and would like to have your long-term relationship partner to come to the Netherlands, there are specific requirements for this residence permit. Under the residence permit for partner, the person applying for their partner will serve as the legal sponsor.

Under this residence permit application, the parties need to prove they will live together, the sponsor needs to meet a specific income requirement, and prove they’ve been in a long-term relationship.

The residence permit for partner requires specific legal documents and forms which IND has here. Some of these (depending on country of origin) will need to be legalized.

Learn more about application fees, required steps, and application processing time here.

Children Under 18

Like the residence permit for partner, if you want your child to live with you in the Netherlands, you need to apply for their residence permit with IND.

The requirements for a residence permit for children under 18 are similar to partner permits. The family member applying for the child must either be a Dutch citizen or have a valid residence permit.

Additionally, the child is required to be registered and live at the applicants address. Secondly, the applicant has to serve as the child’s guardian and sponsor.

Moreover, there are income requirements the child’s sponsor must meet. Finally, if the other parent or guardian is still living abroad, a legal declaration of consent will be needed along with the application.

Learn more about how to apply, required documents, and costs for residence permit for children under 18.

Student Residence Permits

The IND also handles the residence permit applications for international students, asylum seekers, and refugees.

If you want to come to the Netherlands from abroad for a university program, you need to have a residence permit. Only an educational institution that the IND has recognised as a sponsor can apply for a student residence permit for you.

Moreover, you must ensure your degree program is accredited. This means your degree program has been recognized by Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) or the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR).

Finally, all students coming from abroad need to have a specific amount of money or income when coming to study. If not, regardless of your acceptance to a Dutch university, you will be unable to reside in the Netherlands.

The income can either be from working, which means you meet a general monthly income requirement, or from savings. For savings, you must have the study norm for 1 year (12 x study norm) on your own bank account.

Learn more about the income requirement for students from abroad.

Lastly, once you’ve confirmed the above, your academic institution will submit the application for student residence permit for university or higher professional education.

Find more details about the student residence permit.

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

IND also processes the residence permit applications for asylum seekers and family members of refugees.

For a residence permit based on asylum, the applicant must prove they are at risk of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they belong to a certain social group.

Additionally, the applicant also falls under a pending or potential death penalty, execution, or inhumane and degrading treatment in their country of origin.

As asylum seekers arrive in the Netherlands, they must report in person at an application centre (AC) (in Dutch: aanmeldcentrum). From there entities such as Dutch police, the Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking Department must carry out registration and identification procedures.

The following processing steps (such as required TB tests) are outlined by the IND.

Alternatively, if you have an asylum residence permit, you can submit a residence permit application for your family member(s).

This type of application is called residence permit for family member of refugee. Correspondingly, the applicant must already have an approved asylum residence permit in the Netherlands.

Additional requirements for the applicant include permit requests for family members, ability to serve as a sponsor, and the family member has to be either a partner (spouse), child, or parents.

Learn more about the associated application fees and additional requirements for the provisional residence permit for family member of a refugee.

Recognized Sponsorship Services at IND

Presently, IND also processes sponsorship requests.

For example, if you are a Dutch company and want to be able to hire and sponsor foreign workers, your business needs to become a recognized sponsor.

The process to become a recognized sponsor by IND can fall into the following tiers:

  1. a sponsor for those that want to study at your academic institution
  2. a sponsor for those that want to serve as an au pair or part of a cultural exchange
  3. a sponsor for internationals that want to conduct research with you
  4. a sponsor for employees coming from abroad

If your Dutch company wants to become recognized as a sponsor by the IND there are multiple steps and prerequisites you must consider. However, if your business wants to initiate the process of becoming a recognized sponsor but do not know where to start All About Expats can help.

To get a general sense of the procedures involved you can learn more.

IND: Locations in the Netherlands

Before heading to an IND desk location, regardless of purpose for visit, you must always book an appointment.

You can book appointments for various reasons: submit an application, obtain a residence endorsement sticker while waiting for a decision from the IND, pick up your residence document, or have your biometric information taken.

You can also book an appointment in order to have more in depth and specific information amount questions that you might have. Currently there are 4 active IND locations in the Netherlands:

  • IND desk Amsterdam
  • IND desk Den Bosch
  • IND desk The Hague

  • IND desk Zwolle

To book an appointment at IND, please visit their website.

When making an appointment, be sure that you are selecting the proper reason for visiting the offices. Generally, this determines the availability of appointments at the IND offices nearest to you.

Evidently, appointments in locations such as Amsterdam fill up quickly due to the high level of highly skilled migrants, expats, and international students. Be sure to constantly check appointment availabilities for last minute cancellations and open slots.

IND Alternatives: Expat Centers

You can book appointments in expats centers which have similar services to IND desks.

Accordingly, expat centers help newcomers with their residence permits, biometric data, endorsement sticker, etc.

Currently, there are nine active expat centers in the Netherlands:

  • IN Amsterdam
  • Rotterdam Expat Centre
  • The Hague International Centre
  • International Welcome Centre Utrecht Region
  • Holland Expat Center South (Eindhoven)

  • Expat Centre Maastricht Region (ECMR)

  • Expat Centre East Netherlands, location Enschede

  • Expat Center Food Valley (Wageningen)
  • International Welcome Center North (Groningen)

More information: