Member access

What permits you need and what rules and regulations you need to comply with wne you start a business in Holland depends on your background and nationality.

EEA and Swiss nationals
All European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals are entitled to stay in the Netherlands without a Dutch residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). Their passport or ID card is sufficient proof of their rightful stay. The EEA comprises the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

Nationals from outside the EEA or Switzerland

For nationals from outside the EEA or Switzerland there are several possible situations. Some examples are:

  • Entrepreneurs who intend to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months, will usually need a combined permit to stay and work, the so-called single permit (PDF) (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA).
  • Ambitious entrepreneurs (start-ups) who want to start an innovative business in the Netherlands may apply for a 1-year residence permit as starting entrepreneur. To be eligible for this start-up scheme, various conditions apply. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) checks and evaluates the start-up. If they have completed the conditions for obtaining a residence permit for self-employed professionals and have a formal statement from their supervisor, they may obtain the residence permit.
  • If you intend to work as an employee in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months, you will usually need a GVVA. For stays up to 3 months, or in some cases (seasonal work, students, asylum seekers, Croatians), you will need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV) as well as a separate residence permit.
  • To obtain a residence permit, foreign investors who want to live in the Netherlands need to satisfy additional conditions, among others a minimum investment sum of €1.25 million in a Dutch company and an obvious added value to the Dutch economy.

Both residence permits and GVVA are issued by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND). Please check IND's website or contact them to find out what applies to your specific situation.

Provisional residence permit (MVV) versus residence permit

Before you can apply for a residence permit, you usually require a provisional residence permit (Machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf or MVV). This is a visa that lets you enter the Netherlands and stay for longer than 90 days. Both individuals or Dutch employers (sponsors) can apply for an MVV on behalf of their employee or employees. To apply for the MVV and residence permit simultaneously, a single procedure exists.

If you have rightfully lived in another EU Member State for at least 5 years, you will not need to apply for an MVV. Instead you are allowed to enter the Netherlands to apply for a residence permit.


When you apply for an MVV or residence permit, there are costs involved, for instance for drawing up and legalising documents. The costs depend on the country you come from. For more information, please contact the authorities in your own country. Be aware that if your application is denied, there will be no refund.

Registering with your municipality

Generally, if you intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, you must register with the municipality you are going to live in. You must do so within 5 days after your arrival. If you decide to leave the Netherlands for more than 8 months, you are required to deregister.