This article discusses the Netherlands Startup visa, its eligibility requirements, the application process, and the pros and cons of company formation there.
The Netherlands is among the top five happiest countries in the world thanks to its excellent social welfare system and tight-knit community. The capital, Amsterdam, is also among the top five safest cities in the world.
The excellent living and safety standards, and the business-friendly environment, attract thousands of investors and entrepreneurs to the Netherlands each year.
EEA/Swiss nationals can enter and live in the Netherlands with a valid passport or ID. However, if you’re a non-EU/EEA national, you’d need a residence permit to enter and work in the Netherlands.
Do you have an innovative business idea you want to try out in the Netherlands? If so, you may be eligible for the Netherlands Startup visa. The Dutch are pretty thorough when it comes to reviewing visa applicants. So, if you want to receive a Dutch residence permit the first time around, it pays to have an experienced team by your side. That’s where we come in.
At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped over 2000 clients acquire a second residency or citizenship in a jurisdiction that best suits their personal and corporate lifestyles. The best part? You won’t need to do any of the legwork involved. Contact us today if you want the same hands-off approach to your offshore woes.
The Netherlands – Country Overview
The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is a northwestern European country bordering Germany and Belgium. It shares a maritime border with the UK and also has overseas Caribbean territories.
The capital is Amsterdam, and the official language is Dutch. The current population of the Netherlands is 17,233,885.The Hague holds the seat of the government, while the Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s busiest seaport.
The Netherlands is a founding member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO. The country ranks among the highest in the international press and economic freedom indices, including the Global Peace Index and Human Development Index. It’s also among the top countries regarding human development, quality of life, and happiness.
The Netherlands – Economy
The Dutch economy is among the top twenty in the world and relies heavily on foreign trade. The country also boasts one of the world’s largest exports and highest GDPs.
The Netherlands is rich in natural resources and accounts for more than a quarter of natural oil reserves in the EU. Moreover, its strategic location provides primary access to the UK, Belgian, and German markets.
The Netherlands has always welcomed entrepreneurial activities as they boost the Dutch economy and create jobs. The country has several agencies that help start-ups find their bearings in the Dutch business community.
What is the Netherlands Startup Visa?
The Netherlands Startup Visa offers non-EU/EEA/Swiss entrepreneurs a chance to start and run a business in the Netherlands.
The visa scheme allows foreign entrepreneurs to apply for a one-year temporary residence permit, during which the foreign national is supposed to start their business in the Netherlands.
To be eligible for the start up visa, there are several conditions to fulfill. However, the most crucial among them is getting guidance from an experienced facilitator (business mentor).
The support acquired from the facilitator is essential to growing your business in the Netherlands. You can find a list of recognized facilitators on the official website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO).
Eligibility Conditions for the Startup Visa
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) issues residence permits in the Netherlands. IND consults with RVO to assess start up visa applications.
Generally, five major conditions exist to be eligible for the start up visa. We’ll talk about each of them below.
Condition 1: Finding a Facilitator for the Netherlands Startup Visa
The most essential condition for the Dutch Startup visa is finding a facilitator to support your business venture in the Netherlands. However, you can’t just hire anyone to fill the role of your facilitator.
The facilitator or the business mentor is tasked with providing you with a tailored solution or support based on your business plan. The startup entrepreneur and the facilitator must set up their partnership in a signed agreement.
The facilitator may also help in carrying out several operational activities. For example, they can deal with marketing, operational management, or research development regarding your business idea.
Eligibility Conditions for a Facilitator
A facilitator must:
- Have experience in guiding startups.
- Be financially stable.
- Not be bankrupt or in receivership.
- Have no negative equity.
- Not have a majority interest in the startup company.
- Not be related to the applicant up to the third degree (grandparent, parent, child, aunt/uncle)
Most conditions are there to ensure that the facilitator sticks to their role of “facilitating” rather than owning, running, or benefiting from the startup.
Condition 2: Innovative Product or Service
The Dutch business community is very welcoming toward innovative businesses that promise to add unique value to the country’s business culture and boost the economy.
To be innovative per RVO’s standards, your business must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Your product or service must be new to the Netherlands.
- Your startup must incorporate new technology for production, distribution, or marketing.
- Your startup involves an innovative organizational and process approach.
As you can see, the conditions are pretty vague and can be interpreted in a number of ways. It also doesn’t specify which sectors have a favorable chance of getting the startup visa.
RVO assesses applications on a case-by-case basis. That’s why working with a professional team is essential to improve your chances of being eligible for this Netherlands visa.
A team of experts, like the Nomad Capitalist team, can guide you better about the Dutch visa conditions and how to best fulfill them. If you are not a fan of wasting time DIY-ing visa applications, get in touch with us. We do all the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Condition 3: Step-by-Step Plan to Advance Your Idea into a Viable Business
If you were hoping to get into the good books of Dutch authorities with just a shiny new idea, you’re in for a surprise. More than the idea, the Dutch government wants to know how you will advance that idea into a viable business. To do so, you’ll need to provide a step-by-step business plan detailing all the vital information about your startup.
Moreover, you must play an active role in the organization, meaning you must not be only a shareholder or a sponsor.
Your step-by-step plan can be as detailed as you deem necessary. However, it must contain information about the following aspects:
- Organization’s structure
- Organization’s purpose
- Organization’s legal form
- Employees – as well as their roles and duties
- Your business idea – description of your product or service detailing why it’s innovative.
- Business activities (especially in the first year).
- Business set-up plan
Condition 4: Entry in the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK)
The startup founders and the facilitator must be entered in the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) and receive a KVK number. RVO checks the entry in the Business register while assessing your application. If you’re unable to register, your facilitator can declare that the startup will be registered once you receive the start-up visa.
The entry must state the startup entrepreneur’s autonomy over the startup activities.
Condition 5: Sufficient Financial Resources to Live in the Netherlands
You must show that you have enough financial resources to sponsor your stay and business activities in the Netherlands.
Once your visa application is approved, you can collect your provisional residence permit at a Dutch consulate or embassy. Once in the Netherlands, you’ll receive your Netherlands startup visa within two weeks.
A provisional residence permit, along with another valid residence permit (such as a start-up visa), allows a non-EU entrepreneur to enter and stay in the Netherlands for more than three months.
Once in the Netherlands, you must also register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the Dutch municipality where you plan to live.
The Netherlands Startup Visa Application Process and Timeline
If you live outside the Netherlands, you can apply for a Startup visa at a Dutch consulate or embassy. You may also have to apply for a provisional residence permit to enter the Netherlands.
Are you from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or South Korea? If so, you have an advantage in the visa process. You can submit your visa application directly with the IND on their official website.
Your facilitator can also submit your visa application on the IND’s official website. While applying, you’ll also have to provide personal information as well as information regarding your business plan.
You must also pay an application fee. The application process takes, at most, three months.
Once you get your startup visa, you’ll be free to live and work as an entrepreneur in the Netherlands for a year. After one year, you can apply for a residence permit on a self-employed basis. The self-employment residence permit will allow you to live and work in the Netherlands. As a self-employed person, you must fulfill certain conditions to acquire the self-employment residence permit. If you’re Japanese or a US citizen, you may get certain perks because of the Dutch American Friendship Treaty and Dutch-Japanese Trade Treaty.
You can also apply for a regular residence permit (Arbeid is vrij toegestaan), permitting you to work in the Netherlands.
If you need to hire certain highly skilled foreign professionals essential for your startup growth, you can apply for a residence arrangement for essential personnel for startups. Through this scheme, the government has made it far easier to hire foreign essential workers.
Advantages of the Netherlands Startup Visa
- Strategic Location: The Netherlands’ strategic location provides primary access to the UK, Belgian, and German markets, making it an excellent corporate base.
- Excellent Quality of Life: The Netherlands is the fifth happiest country in the world, which clearly reflects its excellent living standards.
- Multilingual Workforce: Over 90% of Dutch speak English, making it an excellent location for entrepreneurs who don’t want to deal with a language barrier. From a marketing perspective, many Western nationals find an English-speaking target audience a lot easier to deal with.
- Business-Friendly Environment: The Dutch economy is one of the best in the world. It’s also very stable, providing an excellent spot to park your investment or plant a business flag.
Should You Start a Business in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands has an international business climate as well as one of the best living standards in the world. The country is also among the top listings on the Global Peace Index and the Women Peace and Security Index.
However, all these perks come at the cost of one of the highest tax rates in the world. Spending over 40% of your yearly income on taxes does take most of the fun out of an otherwise excellent lifestyle. Especially when there are entrepreneurial hubs all over the world, some of which are even tax-free.
In a tax-free jurisdiction, if you’re making a million from your innovative business idea, you’ll get to keep a million.
Sounds enticing? At Nomad Capitalist, we can introduce you to a world of personal and financial freedom by helping you go where you’re treated best. If you want to plant a business flag in a tax-friendly or tax-free zone with tons of growth opportunities, get in touch with us today.
How to Get the Netherlands Startup Visa in 2023: The Ultimate Guide FAQ
Dutch taxes can easily go over 40%, making it one of the countries with the highest taxes in Europe. Moreover, the Dutch tax system is very complicated. You must assess all three tax boxes according to your income and then calculate your tax liabilities accordingly.
Yes, depending on their Netherlands-sourced income sources and assets, foreigners (non-residents) are subjected to income tax there.