processing Netherlands Work Visa

Comprehensive guide to getting a work visa for the Netherlands, the application process, required documents, and FAQs

If you want to work in the Netherlands for a period longer than 90 days, you will have to apply for a Netherlands work visa.

A work visa for the Netherlands is a residence permit issued to foreign citizens who wish to enter the country for employment purposes.

In many cases, along with the Dutch residence permit, you have to obtain a work permit as well. However, not everyone needs a visa or residence permit to enter and stay in the Netherlands.

Who Needs a Netherlands Work Visa?

Whether you need a visa to enter the Netherlands depends on your nationality.

You do not need a work visa/residence permit to enter the Netherlands if you are from an EU or EEA country or from Switzerland. Even so, if you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than four months, you have to register with the personal records database in your local area and get a Citizen Service Number.

You also do not need a Dutch residence permit if you are a family member of an EU, EEA, or Swiss national but you will have to get a Verification against EU Law (certificate of lawful residence).

All other foreign nationals need a Dutch residence permit in order to live in the Netherlands and an additional Work Permit to be allowed to work. Some can apply for a Single Permit which combines the residence and work permits into one.

Some nationals also need to apply for an MVV visa (type D visa or “provisional residence permit”) along with their Dutch residence permit. If you need an MVV, you may also be required to take a civic integration exam which tests your knowledge of the Dutch language and culture.

Click here to see if you are subject to an MVV and/or the civic integration exam.

What are the requirements for a Netherlands Work Visa?

The requirements for a Netherlands work visa change depending on which of the Dutch residence permits that are available for work you are applying for. However, there is a set of standard requirements for any Dutch visa for that you will have to meet. Then, depending on the type of work visa you will need, there will be additional requirements as shown in the following sections.

Types of Netherlands Work Visas

Each type of Netherlands work visa has its own set of requirements and conditions.

For regular paid work (as an employee)

If you want to work in the Netherlands as a regular employee (a labour migrant), you will need a Netherlands Work Visa for regular paid work.

The requirements for a Dutch regular employee work visa are:

  • You need an employment contract with an employer in the Netherlands
  • You need to earn at least the minimum wage for employees over the age of 23
  • Your employer has to show that the position could not have been filled by a Dutch or other EU/EEA national

For seasonal labour

A Netherlands work visa for seasonal labour is granted to individuals who will be doing seasonal work in the Netherlands in the agriculture sector. A Dutch seasonal work visa can be issued for a maximum of 24 weeks.

The requirements for a Dutch seasonal labor visa include:

  • Employment contract with an employer in the Netherlands
  • Obtaining a Single Permit (a combined residence permit and work permit)
  • You must earn the minimum wage or a percentage

Intra corporate transfer

If you work for a company in a country outside the European Union (EU) and will be transferring to a branch of that company based in the Netherlands, you will need a Netherlands work visa.

The requirements for an intra corporate transfer to the Netherlands include:

  • You cannot be a national of an EU/EEA state or of Switzerland
  • When applying, you must be a resident of a non-EU country
  • You must be working in management, as a specialist, or as a trainee
  • You must have been employed at your company for at least three months before transferring
  • You have the qualifications and experience needed for your position
  • Your salary must meet the criteria for working as a highly-skilled migrant
  • You will be living in the Netherlands for the majority of your transfer
  • There has to be economic activity between your employer and the Netherlands branch you have been transferred to
  • You cannot have had a prior transfer to that company immediately before the application
  • The branch you are transferring to cannot have been fined in the last 5 years for violating article 2 of the Aliens Employment Act or for not paying (or insufficiently paying) wage tax or employer insurance premiums
  • Trainee employees must follow a trainee program, not a normal employee one

For a highly-skilled migrant

Highly skilled migrants are sometimes known as “knowledge workers”. They are the foreign nationals who will make a contribution to the Dutch knowledge-based economy. To be considered a highly-skilled migrant, you must earn a certain amount of income.  If you are under 30 years old, you would have to earn a minimum of €3,299; if you are over 30, the minimum wage is €4,500.

Other conditions that apply to a highly skilled migrant are:

  • You need a contract with an employer or research institution in the Netherlands
  • The employer has to be a recognised sponsor by the IND
  • For scientific researchers: your employment contract is signed on behalf of the institution
  • For scientific researchers: the contract must include the job description and code in accordance with the University Job Classification system (UFO)
  • For doctors in training: the institute you are training in has been set out by the Medical Specialists Registration Committee (MSRC), Social Medicine Physicians Registration Committee (SGRC) or General practitioner and Nursing home Physicians Registration Committee (HVRC).
  • For doctors in training: you must be registered with the Individual Healthcare Professions, also known as the BIG-register.

European Blue Card

The European Blue Card is a work permit which allows a non-EU citizen to live and work in any country within the EU except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK. In order to work in the Netherlands with an EU Blue Card that’s been issued from another country, you will need a Netherlands work visa and work permit. You must also meet the following conditions:

  • Employment contract must be valid for at least 12 months
  • A higher education diploma from a program of at least three years
  • Your higher education certificate must be evaluated by Nuffic
  • You must prove you meet the standards for practising your profession
  • You must earn the required wage amount set for EU Blue Card holders: the minimum is €5,272 per month
  • The branch you are transferring to cannot have been fined in the last 5 years for violating article 2 of the Aliens Employment Act or for not paying (or insufficiently paying) wage tax or employer insurance premiums

For an orientation year for highly educated persons

If you have completed your studies in the Netherlands, and your Dutch study visa has expired, you can apply for an additional year to look for employment. You can apply for a Netherlands work visa for orientation in the three years after you complete your studies. In order to be eligible for an orientation year, you must have done one of the following:

  • Completed an accredited Netherlands BA or MA program
  • Completed at least one year of postgraduate studies in the Netherlands
  • Have had a previous Dutch visa for scientific research in the Netherlands
  • Acquired an MA degree within an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course
  • Completed a higher education program that’s been designated by the Ministerial Decree
  • Completed a study offered in relation to the development cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Completed a study in the Netherlands within the Cultural Policy Act
  • Completed MA or postdoctoral studies, or obtained a PhD at a designated educational institution abroad

For researchers under Directive (EU) 2016/801

In order to work in the Netherlands as a researcher under Directive (EU) 2016/801, you will have to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have sufficient higher educational background to be allowed into the doctorate program
  • The Dutch research institution you’ll be conducting research in is a recognized sponsor by the IND
  • The research project you will be working in has been approved by the institution
  • You have an employment contract/host agreement with a research institution
  • You will be receiving sufficient monthly income, either from your employer or a grant/sponsor

For self-employed individuals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs

You can apply for a Netherlands self-employment work visa (residence permit) if you intend to stay in the Netherlands to start your own business or work as a freelancer.

The requirements for a Netherlands work visa for self-employed individuals are stricter than other types of work visa. There are certain conditions you need to fill in,and, depending on your case, you may also be eligible for a Netherlands “startup” visa.

See here for the conditions, requirements, and limitations of a Netherlands work visa for self-employment.


How to Apply for a Netherlands Work Visa?

The application for a Netherlands work visa depends on your nationality as well as the type of work you will be conducting.

In order to work in the Netherlands, you will need both a residence permit to stay in the country as well as a separate work permit to be allowed to work. However, some applicants can apply for a Single Permit which combines both of those permits into one. This is called a GVVA and can be issued for one to three years.

In most cases, your employer needs to apply for your work permit or Single Permit. They can do this directly to the IND after obtaining all the required documents from you. The IND will then forward the application to the Dutch employment agency (UWV) who will assess it and advise the IND on the decision.

Who can apply for a Single Permit (GVVA)?

The foreign workers coming to work in the Netherlands with a visa who apply for a single permit are:

  • Regular labour migrants
  • Interns
  • Practitioners
  • Ministers of religion/spiritual leaders
  • International education teachers
  • Some foreign nationals who work in the Asian restaurant industry

Who needs a separate residence permit and work permit (TWV)?

If you cannot apply for the single permit, your employer has to apply for a separate work permit on your behalf. However, either you or your employer can apply for a Dutch residence permit. If you’re applying yourself, you can do it at the Dutch embassy/consulate in your country.

Those excluded from the Single Permit are:

  • Labour migrants on a short-stay visa
  • Seasonal workers
  • Students
  • Asylum seekers
  • Intra-company transferees
  • Refugees
  • Workers on an orientation year
  • Family members of single permit holders
  • Service providers
  • Croatian nationals
  • Seafarers

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