The Netherlands is an attractive destination, especially if you want to live and work in a business-friendly Northern European country.
In comparison to better known golden visa programmes in mediterranean countries where the weather and lifestyle is a major draw, the Netherlands offers culture, art, and a strong entrepreneurial culture.
The capital Amsterdam was ranked Europe’s second top performing start-up hub a few years ago, ahead of London, Berlin, and Paris. The Dutch passport is ranked 14th globally, with visa-free access to 158 countries, including all of Europe and the UK.
With so much on offer, this article explores the Netherlands Golden Visa and Citizenship process, with details of the requirements and how to apply.
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Benefits of Having A Dutch Passport
The Dutch passport is one of the strongest in the world. With visa-free access to many countries within the EU and the rest of the world, even the United States requires only an eVisa if you plan on staying there for less than ninety days.
Other benefits of the Dutch citizenship include:
The Right to Vote
As a national, you will be able to vote in all Dutch elections, from local to regional to national. You can also vote in the European elections. If you want to pursue public service, you can hold public office and positions in the judiciary.
Unrestricted Right of Stay
As a Dutch citizen, you won’t have to worry about staying away for too long. You don’t need a residence permit, and there are no conditions attached to staying in the Netherlands. You can also live in other European countries with no restrictions.
Living in an Eco-Friendly Country
The Netherlands is very particular about its environment and sustainability. Amsterdam is the rising capital of sustainable fashions and Dutch people, in general, are very environmentally conscious.
A Major Financial and Trade Capital
Netherland’s strategic location makes it easy for multinational businesses to function and for trade to take place. It has a flourishing startup industry making it attractive for entrepreneurs.
General Requirements for Dutch Citizenship
Be at least 18 years or older.
- Prove your identity and nationality with valid documents.
- Have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 5 consecutive years with a valid residence permit.
- Have always extended your residence permit on time. In some cases, you can apply for naturalization earlier.
For the Dutch naturalization process, you must have a valid residence permit from one of the following types:
- Regular permanent residence permit for Non-EU citizens.
- Residence permit as long-term EU resident.
- Asylum permanent residence permit.
- Temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay.
- Residence permit as a family member of an EU national (except stay with a minor Dutch child, ruling Chavez-Vilchez).
- Residence document of Article 50 TEU Withdrawal Agreement (Terugtrekking Akkoord) for UK nationals and their family members.
In addition to this, you must have passed the civic integration exam (or be exempt from it), you should also be able to read, speak and write Dutch to a sufficient level. The Dutch government should recognize that you’re not a threat to the national security of the Netherlands.
You must be willing to make the declaration of solidarity during the naturalization ceremony. By making the declaration of solidarity, you agree that the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also apply to you.
You will also be willing to renounce your current nationality. Some countries are an exception to this rule, but in general, there is no such thing as possessing a dual Dutch passport along with another country’s.
To apply for naturalization, you will need the following documents:
- A valid passport or another travel document.
- A birth certificate from your country of origin.
- A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence.
- Civic integration diploma or other proof of civic integration or a certificate of exemption (or partial exemption) from the integration requirement.
The process of getting Dutch citizenship can be quite long. In fact, it can take years with the naturalization requirements.
However, what do you do if you’re a businessman or entrepreneur who needs to move around?
How to Get the Netherlands Golden Visa
The Netherlands introduced its golden visa program in 2013 to attract venture capital funding into small business startups. The popularity of this program was low in the first years. So, in 2018, the Dutch government introduced a few pragmatic changes in the investment requirements.
The key requirement for any high net worth applicant is to invest €1,250,000 directly into a Dutch startup company or into a Dutch Venture Capital Fund, which will invest the fund’s money in multiple Dutch startups.
The Netherlands golden visa makes the process of getting a long-term residence permit relatively easy.
Financial Requirements for the Golden Visa Netherlands
Now, to qualify for the Dutch golden visa, you need to invest at least €1.25 million. But how do you know where to invest?
To ensure that you’re doing the right thing, make sure that the venture fund you plan to invest in is recognized by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs.
Additionally, make sure that the fund is affiliated to the Nederlandse Vereniging van Participatiemaatschappijen (NVP).
You also have to make sure that two out of three criteria are met for the investment to be accepted for the golden visa program. These are:
- Within five years, the startup must create at least ten full-time jobs,
- The contribution must enhance the innovativeness of a Dutch company (e.g., by introducing a patent, investing in both technological and non-technological innovation, or investing in a Dutch company classified in the top sector).
- Non-financial added value, such as providing specific knowledge, networks, or clients, with the investor demonstrating active involvement with the company.
Eligibility for the Dutch Golden Visa Program
To qualify for the Dutch golden visa program, you must be over eighteen years old, have a clean criminal record, and be in good health and sound character.
As mentioned, your investment needs to add value to the Dutch economy, which will be assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). They use a point-based system to calculate how well your investment will be received.
You will also have to pass an anti-money laundering check. In addition, applicants are expected to pass a medical examination and purchase medical insurance from a Dutch health insurance company.
Benefits of Dutch Golden Visa
Invest and receive permanent residency
After your investment has been approved, you need to first obtain a residence visa, which will be converted into a permanent residence permit after five years. Your family qualifies for this as well.
Being in the heart of Europe, the Netherlands provides access to the Western European market. It is an excellent base for IT startups, and most of the EU’s main business hubs are all within reach via two-hour flights.
Now, the Netherlands, like all of Europe, isn’t the best for low taxes. However, entrepreneurs should know that the Dutch tax system offers some benefits, especially if you want to expand your business into Europe.
Why Consider a Dutch Passport?
The Netherlands has a long tradition of attracting investors and entrepreneurs. It has a long-established and innovative startup scene. As long as your investment benefits the Dutch economy, you’re good to go.
Historically, investors are rewarded by further opportunities and the chance to immediately live, work or study (if your skills require it) in one of the world’s most economically stable countries.
The Netherlands has an excellent standard of living, a low crime rate, and you’ll be made feel at home there. Furthermore, the path to a Dutch passport is made available almost immediately once you have completed the requirements.
Unlike many European countries, where the process of naturalization can take years, it’ll take you between one and two years to get yours.
We all know that in recent years, Western European countries have made their naturalization procedures more difficult. But, in the Netherlands, it is simple and straightforward.
Of course, the price tag attached to the Dutch golden visa is steep, but that’s justified given the benefits you can reap.
Other Ways to Obtain Dutch Citizenship
Apart from the Dutch golden visa program, there are other ways you can obtain Dutch nationality. These include:
Citizenship by Birth
If one or both of your parents is a Dutch national at the time of your birth, you qualify for immediate citizenship. This also applies to adoption or acknowledgment of parentage by a Dutch citizen.
Citizenship by Descent
If either one or both of your parents and grandparents have Dutch nationality, and you can prove it, you can apply for the citizenship by descent program.
Citizenship by Marriage
If you are married to, or the registered partner of, a Dutch citizen and you have been living together in the Netherlands for at least three years you can apply for citizenship by marriage.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will ask for several documents, which vary according to your nationality.
Rights of Dutch Nationals
In the Netherlands, all basic rights of citizens are clearly laid out in the Constitution. Being a Dutch national means you can enter the Netherlands freely without any restrictions.
Other rights that apply to Dutch citizens include the right to vote, stand in elections for parliamentary positions, and join the military.
Renouncing Other Nationalities
To become a Dutch citizen, you must renounce any other nationalities. The only exception to this rule is if you are a refugee and if your origin country does not allow you to renounce your nationality.
Nomad Capitalist can help you get the Netherlands golden visa and, in time, the passport. We have years of experience catering to the needs of people seeking European citizenships by investment.
If you’re interested, get in touch to review your options.