Immigration to Netherlands – How to Move to the Netherlands

Natives of the Netherlands, the Dutch, speak the Dutch language. The Dutch enjoy a good work balance and quality social security. Furthermore, the country boasts a thriving entrepreneurial scene. Basically, these nationals look healthy and are well-groomed.

The immigration process to the Netherlands varies. Requirements depend on where you are moving from and the visa you take. Some of the legal requirements may include;

  • Proof of sufficient income.
  • approval of your potential employer by the Dutch government.

Typically, relocation is easier if you move from Switzerland or any of the EU/EEA member countries. These nationals face fewer bureaucratic and custom restrictions compared to third-country citizens. Ex-pats, such as software engineers, also find it easy to get a Netherlands Visa. This is because they specialize in occupations that are in demand.

Moving your belonging to the Netherlands is not costly. The country does not impose taxes on personal belongings. However, finding accommodation can be challenging. The cost of living is also high, but the standard of living compensates for the expense. Do you consider relocating to the Netherlands? Read more to find out all about moving to this country.

Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

The type of visa or resident permit you need will depend on your citizenship. EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens do not need a Netherlands visa. These nationals also don’t require a residence permit to immigrate. Their travel ID is sufficient to live and work in the country.

Immigrants from the US, Australia, South Korea, and others also find it more manageable. They don’t require a Netherlands visa to move. However, once in the country, they need to obtain a residence permit once they are in the country.

If you are not from any of the countries mentioned earlier, the situation is quite different. Your visa type will depend on the purpose of your stay in the country. For example, highly skilled workers like software engineers don’t require an additional work permit.

Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

When moving to work in the Netherlands, you may need a work permit, residence permit, and long-stay visa. The work permit and employment visa you need is dependent on your home country and your skills. If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national, you don’t need any of these documents. A passport or ID card is sufficient proof to live and work in the Netherlands.

You don’t need to apply for a work permit or employment visa yourself. Your employer, who also acts as your host in the country, handles the application. The situation is different for investors and entrepreneurs.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will process the applications. These documents require legalization; the Presentation is in English, Dutch, German, or French. The process can be complex and confusing. It’s advisable to seek advice from professionals with local expertise.


Jobs in The Netherlands

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Work and Permit Eligibility

Most cases require that you get a work permit when moving to the Netherlands for work. TWV is another term for a work permit. However, if applying for a highly skilled migrant visa, you won’t need a work permit. Your Netherlands employer will fill and submit the work permit application form. The employer will advise you on the necessary documents for the application.

You need a residence permit to live in the Netherlands. When and how to apply depends on whether you need a long-stay visa. This is in exception of national from EU/EEA member states or Switzerland. Unless self-employed, it is your employer’s responsibility to apply for your residence permit.

If you need both a work permit and a resident permit, you can submit a joint application. The joint application, or Single Permit, is also the responsibility of your employer.

Long-Stay Visa for The Netherlands

Long-stay visa is not necessary for all migrants. Nationals from the following countries don’t need a visa to stay in the Netherlands;

  • EU/EEA member countries
  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • San Marino
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • United States
  • Vatican City

Your exemption also applies as mentioned below;

  • You have a residence permit for any other Schengen Area country
  • You are living with a family member who is a national of an EU/EEA country

How to Apply for Long-Stay Visa

The purpose of your stay in the country will determine how you apply for your visa. You can apply for a long-stay visa either;

  • Yourself at the embassy or consulate.  Reasons for making the application yourself include;
  • If your stay in the country is to look for employment as a highly skilled migrant
  • Independent entrepreneurship
  • Start-up
  • Investments
  • Your host. Your host has to submit your visa application if you stay in the country for work or studies. Other reasons include; marriage to a Dutch national or family reunification.

You automatically apply for a residence permit when applying for a long-term visa. However, the work permit application remains separate.

To obtain a long-stay visa, you need to take a  civic integration exam. The exam will test your knowledge of Dutch society. The exam also tests your Dutch language skills, both speaking and reading. The cost is 150 EUR (175 USD).

Work Visa Requirements

The requirements depend on your situation. You could be an intracompany transferee, a skilled migrant, or a European blue cardholder. However, the following are general conditions you have to meet when applying;

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • Clear criminal record
  • Medical test for tuberculosis once you arrive
  • Sufficient income for that visa type
  • Recognized employer by the Netherlands’s government

The cost of a visa application usually does not exceed 300 EUR (330 USD). However, the cost depends on what type of visa you are applying for.

Netherlands Business Visa

If you have a short stay (type -c) visa, you can stay for up to 90 days on business in the Netherlands.  However, those from the EU or EEA and Switzerland do not need a short-stay visa. Included in the list are those with a residence permit/long-stay visa issued by another Schengen area country.

Documents needed for this application include;

  • A letter of invitation from the Dutch company you plan to visit. The letter should include their address, including the dates you will be visiting.
  • A letter from your employer. This letter should detail your travel.
  • Proof of previous trade relations between your home company and the Dutch company, if applicable.
  • Original and certified copies of business documents
  • Business bank statement covering the last six months.
  • Sufficient funds to cover your expenses.  You should be able to spend at least 55 EUR (65 USD) per day. Additionally, the employer or the company you are visiting needs to state how much of your expenses they will cover.

Family Visa

If you hold a long-stay Netherlands visa, you can bring along your spouse, long-term partner, and  children under 18 years of age. However, you need to apply for family member visas for them. You can apply online or in-person—a spousal visa costs174 EUR (200 USD).  A child’s visa costs 58 EUR (67 USD).

Dutch Citizen Service Number (BSN)

Within five days of your arrival, you must make an appointment at the local City Office. At the local city office, you will receive your Dutch citizen’s service number.

Housing in the Netherlands

Finding accommodation in the Netherlands is quite tricky. The reason for this is that the country has a larger population compared to its size. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of the housing market is earmarked for social housing.

Social housing is rarely available for immigrants. Housing is thus expensive, especially for houses or apartments in the central area of big cities such as Amsterdam.

The most typical houses in the Netherlands are the traditional townhouse you see on streets and alongside canals. There are no legal restrictions when buying a home. You only need to have a sufficient budget. To take a mortgage, however, you need proof of stable income.

The housing market segments into;

  • Social housing, which takes 75% of the market
  • Private accommodation at 25% of the market

The government caps rent for social housing.  Currently, social housing rent is around 720 EUR (783 USD). There is usually a yearly adjustment of the rent. Every year, at least 80% of vacant social housing is set aside for those whose annual income is below a certain threshold—currently, the threshold I below 37,000 EUR (40,780 USD).

Any rent above this figure qualifies for the private market. At least 10% of the social housing market is for those that earn more than the set threshold. Ex-pats are usually unlikely to make part of the market. Most foreigners, thus, focus on the private market.

Furnished or Unfurnished Apartments?

There are three types of apartments in the Netherlands;

  • Fully furnished – These are quite uncommon and highly priced. Fully furnished apartments are common in bigger cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
  • Unfurnished
  • Shell-type apartment – Comes without any fixtures, and sometimes lack flooring.

Average Rent in the Netherlands

The average price of a rental depends on its location. The cost of living in a big city is obviously higher compared to the countryside.

Cost of Housing in Relatively Expensive Regions

  • Noord-Holland – 930 EUR (1,025 USD)
  • Zuid-Holland – 880 EUR (970 USD)
  • Utrecht – 850 EUR (840 USD)

Cost of Housing in Relatively Affordable Regions

  • Friesland – 650 EUR (720 USD)
  • Drenthe – 660 (730 USD)
  • Groningen – 675 (745 USD)

Lowest Rent Figures in The Biggest Cities

  • Amsterdam – 1,000 EUR (1,100 USD)
  • Rotterdam – 950 EUR (1,050 USD)
  • The Hague (Den Haag) – 850 EUR (940 USD)

To rent a house as a foreigner, your landlord may request your employment contract and Dutch bank statement.

Healthcare In the Netherlands

Public health does not exist in the Netherlands, but medical care is accessible to everyone. Private health insurance is the basis of the healthcare system. Health insurance and the healthcare system are closely linked. Here, healthcare is not free, and It’s mandatory to have the standard insurance package.

Everyone living or working here must take out private health insurance. However, non-residents with international health insurance can receive the necessary healthcare while in the country.

The government is responsible for the quality and accessibility of healthcare. The government also regulates the components of the health insurance cover. However, it only decides what to include in basic insurance packages, but not the premiums.

Once you have your insurance, you must find a family doctor. Family doctors provide basic medical care, and tests then give referrals to specialists. You need to get a referral from your doctor even during emergencies. Without their referral, you will have trouble getting your insurance to pay for the services received.

The Tax System

You have to pay taxes when living and working in the Netherlands. There are quite a few tax laws in place, but the most relevant is the income tax. Taxes there are pretty high, with the lowest tax bracket over 35%.

Though ex-pats are lucky, they benefit from a tax ruling that allows them to receive extra non-taxable income. Ex-pats are also given relief from some of the tax burdens for the first five years of their stay in the country.

Opening a Bank Account

Non-residents are not allowed to open a bank account in the Netherlands. The reason is that to open a bank account, you need a citizen service number. However, most ex-pats don’t have problems with the bank system as they need to register in the country and legally become residents.

The two most common accounts are the current or checking account and the savings accounts. There are no minimum deposit or income requirements when opening a bank account. However, most banks require that you pay monthly administration fees. The fee depends on the type of account and is usually around 1.50 to 5 EUR (1.60-5.50 USD).

As an ex-pat, you need the following documents to open a bank account in the Netherlands:

  • proof of Identification
  • citizen service number
  • proof of address
  • employment contract
  • Dutch phone number
  • credit balance from your previous bank
  • Residence permit

Education System in the Netherlands

Public education is free, and part of the Netherlands’s school system is partly bilingual. Private schools are not common and are primarily for children with special needs. However, some international students can’t speak Dutch or consider learning the Dutch language necessary.

Such students can opt for fully private or partially government-funded international schools—the main difference between public and private schools in the language and fees charged. Unlike public schools, private ones are not free.

The education system is relatively easygoing on the primary school level. Primary school splits into eight groups and stretches over eight years. At the end of eight years, students take an aptitude test for entry into secondary school. Results determine what secondary school they will proceed to. The secondary also determines what type of university a child will enroll. Primary and secondary school education is mandatory.

Living in the Netherlands

Every expert often asks what it’s like to live in the Dutch and how they will adjust. To integrate well, one needs to understand Dutch culture. The cost of living in this country is relatively high, but you get value for your money. There are quality goods and services. For example, housing is costly, but the standard is very high. It is prudent that you carefully manage your expenses, especially in your first few months.

Many locals prefer cycling on the well-maintained as a mode of transport. This is because there are endless traffic jams. However, the weather in the Netherlands is typically grey. You can choose to use public transport instead. There are well-connected trams, buses, and metros.

If you are an extrovert, you will definitely love Dutch culture. There is always something going on, and your calendar will fill up fast. There are summer festivals and events at many of the country’s museums, not forgetting time spent at the coffee shops catching up with local friends and other like-minded tech ex-pats.


Working and living in the Dutch will teach you the value of directness as the Dutch are direct and blunt in their communication. You will also learn the comfort of a good work balance if you can out up with the competitive job market.

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