Migrating to the Netherlands from the United States or Japan: our how to


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Visa for business owners: the basics

If a business owner from a non-EU country wants to migrate to the Netherlands, it’s often not an easy thing to do. The Netherlands bases its migration policy on the question: ‘what will this person add to the Dutch economy?’.

Based on the specific situation, different application procedures can be followed in order to obtain a visa for long-term stay in the Netherlands. This article focuses on business owners, coming in to the Netherlands to plant their roots and looking for a long term permit. There are several applications that can be made but the sole proprietary visa application is the regular application in this respect.

This ‘regular’ application procedure for a sole proprietorship visa has quite some demands and is difficult to adhere to from an administrative perspective. One of the reasons for this is that the potential migrant will be assessed on personal experience, the business plan and added value for the economy of the Netherlands. Each of these categories has a points system and a minimum number of points that has to be scored. For the official scorecard, kindly click on this link. It gives a good illustration of how the assessment of the business-owner works in practice. Besides this points assessment, the application procedure requires quite a lot of documentation. Ultimately, this leads to additional costs for the applicant. Lastly it is important to note that the application procedure is a very lengthy process, which can prove cumbersome for the business under certain circumstances

Luckily for U.S. and Japanese business owners, there is an easier way to get the Dutch visa for business owners. Let us share with you how this works!

Treaties between the Netherlands, the United States and Japan

The Netherlands has a bilateral trade/association agreement with the United States (U.S.) and Japan. These agreements contain conditions for granting the Dutch visa for business owners that are much easier to fulfill than the regular visa as illustrated above. This makes it a lot easier for U.S. and Japanese business owners to successfully apply for the visa and obtain a Dutch residency permit.

To illustrate: due to the friendship treaties, there is no assessment based on a point system as with the ‘regular’ application. Instead three main conditions apply:

  1. The business has to be registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (this can either be through a BV/corporate entity or a sole proprietorship).
  2. An investment of at least 4.500 EUR has to be made in your own (Dutch registered) company on a Dutch bank account.
  3. Draw-up a balance sheet by a recognized accountant or recognized financial advisor to attest to the fact that you have invested the above-mentioned amount in your business..

While this procedure for nationals of the United States and Japan is a lot easier, practice shows that it might still be challenging to comply with all the conditions within a short amount of time. Therefore, having an experienced professional to guide you through the process can ensure a quick and efficient application.

For such support in the application process our services are available but let us first give you a step-plan on how applying for the Dutch visa for business owners works.

Want the quick read of the detailed steps below? Please view the below overview!

Click on the image for a bigger view.

So, how does this visa application work work?

Step 1 Assess the requirements

In order to be eligible for the Dutch visa for business owners from the U.S. or Japan, the following conditions have to be met:

  • You will have to operate your business between the United States and the Netherlands.
  • You will start a new business opportunity or a profession in which you have invested at least 4.500 EUR.
  • You have a valid travel document, such as a passport.
  • You are not a risk to public order and national security.
  • You have sufficient and long-term means of support, which means you must be able to earn sufficient income after obtaining the visa to stay off Dutch welfare programs.
  • You have not previously stayed in the Netherlands illegally.
  • You have not given false information or have withheld important information to support any previous applications.

Step 2 Application procedure at the IND

If you have concluded that you can fulfill the conditions mentioned in step 1, you can start the application procedure at the IND.

Understandably, you might not have all the necessary information for the application yet, but you can still get started! Filing the application while you are already in the Netherlands (on the 90 day short stay visa for example) will suspend the 90 day-term and grant you permission to stay in the Netherlands while your visa procedure is being processed.

It is important to keep in mind that ultimately you do need to submit the following documents for the application:

  • A filled-out IND application form.
  • Copies of identity details of your passport and all pages containing travel stamps.
  • An original certificate of the registration at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, which should not be older than 3 months. You will get this in step 4.
  • When you are a sole entrepreneur, you need a bank statement of the business account showing the amount invested. You will get this in step 4.
  • An opening balance sheet verified by a recognized expert, such as a chartered accountant, an accounting consultant, an accountant or a financial advisor. You will get this in step 4.

In order to initiate your application, you must mail it to the IND. As said, you don’t need all the documents to start the application procedure. However, it is still important that the IND ultimately receives all the required documents. After receiving the initiating application form, they will also request the additional information on a separate letter including the request to pay the government fee for processing the application of € 350.

Step 3 Register at the municipality

After starting your application procedure at the IND it is time to make an appointment with the municipality (NL: Gemeente). You should do this in the city you plan on living in to get your Dutch Social Security Number (NL: BSN).

All residents of the Netherlands have to registered at the municipality within four months of arrival. By registering you receive your BSN, which you mainly need for official government forms and communication.  

For your registration at the municipality, you will need to bring:

  • A valid passport or identity card.
  • Proof you have applied for a resident permit (the letter you will receive from the IND that your application has been started will serve as proof for the municipality to grant you a BSN)
  • A rental agreement, deed of conveyance or written lodgings agreement with a copy of the proof of identity of the owner or main occupant of the house. Please note, this is the address where all your important mail from IND and municipality will go to (if you do not use an advisor to correspond with the IND on your behalf).
  • An apostilled birth certificate.

Usually, you receive your BSN within 5 to 10 workdays after this appointment.

With your BSN two actions need to be taken:

  1. Open a Dutch bank account. It is recommended to open two: one for your personal matters and one for your business.
  2. Request your DigiD online using your BSN. DigiD are the login credential to make appointments with Dutch government agencies as well as login to view your tax status etc.

After this step you need to have your BSN and DigiD to continue to step 4.

Step 4: set-up your Dutch company

To set-up your Dutch company you need to make an appointment at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (NL: Kamer van Koophandel). This is only possible if you have a BSN and a DigiD.

In order to make the appointment you need to complete the registration form online. For this, you will have to decide what legal form your company will have. The easiest option is the sole proprietorship (NL: eenmanszaak).

For the appointment, you should bring:

  • A valid identification document.
  • Cash or a Dutch debit card to pay the fee.

With your registration, you will receive an official extract of your registration at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (NL: KvK-registratie). This costs around 50,00 EUR and is necessary for your application at the IND. Furthermore, it is important to note that the Dutch Chamber of Commerce will also register you with the Dutch Tax Authorities (NL: Belastingdienst). You will receive mail from the Dutch Tax Authorities about this. This article does not cover the tax abligations arising from setting up your company, kindly view the other insights on our website in this regard.

After you have finalized the registration of your Dutch company it is important to open a Dutch business bank account. Now that you have your BSN and KvK-registration you can apply for this. If you have opened your account, you should deposit € 4.500 on it to comply with the initial capital investment required for the application procedure of the IND.

Lastly, it is important to get an opening balance sheet verified by a recognized financial expert. You can hire a tax advisor, accountant or financial advisor. Hiring this professional for the opening balance sheet is important for proving that you have the required 4.500 EUR in your business bank account.

Step 5: finalizing the process

After the IND has processed the application (and approved it), they will invite you for a biometrics appointment. This appointment serves to gather personal data and biometrical data (photo/fingerprint) in order to produce your residency card and process you in the Dutch civil registry. For this, you will need to bring:

  • A valid U.S. or Japanese passport with copies of identity details and all pages containing travel stamps.
  • Cash or a Dutch debit card to pay the fee.

After your biometric appointment, you will receive your Dutch visa and residency card. Ready to start your business and life in the Netherlands!


We hope this how to gives you a good idea of how migrating from the United States or Japan to the Netherlands as a business owner would work. If you need any assistance in this regard, we are happy to help you.

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