Netherlands: Long-term stay qualifications eased for Startup Visa program applicants

On or after January 1, 2016, Startup Visa applicants will see eased rules concerning the requirement to apply for a Self-Employed Residence Permit after one year under the Startup Visa, based on a proposal to Parliament from the Secretary of Security and Justice and the Minister of Economic Affairs.


The Startup Visa - introduced in January 2015 to attract foreign startup entrepreneurs to the Netherlands - is a one-year permit that cannot be extended.  Applicants must, among other requirements:

  • obtain a business facilitator; and
  • pass a strict points-based system review to qualify for a Self-Employed Residence Permit after one year under the visa. 

Because many entrepreneurs are still in a growth stage when the Startup Visa expires, this creates a risk that they may not qualify under the points-based system and thus may not qualify for a Self-Employed Residence Permit.

New Procedure

Based on the Secretary’s proposal, the business facilitator can now submit a recommendation to the Dutch economic authority (RVO) to support the applicant’s Self-Employed Residence Permit application. With such a recommendation, approval by the Dutch immigration authorities, and eventually a Self-Employed Residence Permit, will presumably be easier to obtain.

Entrepreneurs already in the Netherlands under a Startup Visa will be able to take advantage of this new procedure as well.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Entrepreneurs under the Startup Visa program should benefit from the eased qualifications if their business facilitator can submit a recommendation to support the Self-Employed Residence Permit application.

Startup Visa applicants and entrepreneurs already in the Netherlands interested in submitting an application for a Self-Employed Residence Permit, or entrepreneurs interested in opening a new business in the Netherlands, should contact their immigration professional.