Information & Types of Visa for the Netherlands
While many nationalities do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands, as it is a part of the Schengen Area (see below), some internationals do, either for a short stay or simply to transit through.
Who needs a visa for the Netherlands?
Most nationalities do not require a visa in order to enter the Netherlands as a tourist for a short stay (90 days or less over a whole period 180 days) to visit friends or family.
To see if you are required to apply for a visa to visit the Netherlands, check this list on the Dutch government website of countries whose citizens need a visa.
If you do not need a visa, you may enter the Netherlands (and the whole Schengen area) for a total of three months freely as long as you:
› have a valid passport
› have enough money for your stay (34 euros per day)
› have a genuine reason for visiting the Netherlands
› are not considered a threat to public order, national security or international relations
Types of visa in the Netherlands
There are four different visa for internationals visiting the Netherlands:
› Schengen or short-stay visa
› Airport transit visa
› Residence permit or long-stay visa
There is also a return visa for expats who wish to travel outside the Netherlands and whose residence permit is not currently valid or has been lost/stolen.
1. Short-stay visa for the Netherlands / Schengen visa
The Schengen visa, also known as a short-stay visa (VKV) or type C visa, allows tourists or visitors to enter the Schengen area. This area is an agreement between 26 countries in the European Union to have no border controls between them. All of these countries issue a common visa called the Schengen visa.
The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
If you are required to have a visa, you must apply for a Schengen visa at the Dutch mission (embassy or consulate) in the country in which you reside or are entitled to reside.
If there is no Dutch mission where you reside, you can call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague on +31 703 485 622 to find the closest mission.
A Schengen visa for the Netherlands will also allow you to travel within the whole Schengen area for 90 days within a 180-day "free period." This period is dated from the day you enter the Netherlands or Schengen area.
You can use the free period in two ways, either as a consecutive 90-day stay, or spread over the whole 180-day period. If you wish to spread your visit out, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. You can specify when you apply whether you want a single or multiple entry.
If you stay for a consecutive 90 days, you need to stay outside the Netherlands (and the Schengen area) for another 90 days before applying for a visa again.
Applying for a Schengen visa
You must apply for your Schengen visa at the mission of the country of your trip’s main destination (i.e. the Netherlands or the country where you plan to spend most of your time). If you are dividing your time equally among countries, you must apply for the visa with the country you plan to enter first.
Your visa may be limited to only the Netherlands or to a specified number of countries or the whole area. In all cases, visa holders can only go to the countries for which their Schengen visa is valid.
Usually, the earliest you can be issued with a visa is three months before the date of your arrival.
To apply for a Schengen visa, you must complete a visa application form, sign it and affix one 35x45 mm passport photo.
You must submit your visa application in person at the Dutch (or Schengen country’s) mission and also present your passport, which must be no more than ten years old and valid for at least 90 days after your visa expires.
Conditions of a Schengen visa
To be eligible for a Schengen visa you must have travel insurance covering medical costs for the entire duration of your stay in the Netherlands and the rest of the Schengen area.
Your insurance policy must cover repatriation on medical grounds, urgent medical care and emergency hospital treatment to a minimum of 30.000 euros. You will need to show your insurance policy when collecting your visa.
You must be able to demonstrate your travel purposes to Dutch immigration officials and show that you have sufficient means of support (check the exact amounts).
You will not receive a visa for the Netherlands if you are deemed a risk to public order, domestic security, public health or the international relations of one of the Schengen countries, nor can you be on the list of persons to be refused by one of the Schengen countries.
There must also be sufficient guarantee that you will return to your own country, for example strong social and/or economic ties with your country of origin or your country of continuous residence.
Extending a Schengen visa
Internationals can extend a Schengen visa in the Netherlands, provided a few conditions are met, namely that:
› You do not stay longer than 90 days in total
› You have satisfactory reasons for wanting to extend the visa and you have documents showing that you cannot return to your country of origin before your visa period ends
› You have enough money to support yourself while in the Netherlands or you have someone who will stand surety on your behalf
› Your healthcare and/or travel insurance remain valid
› Your passport is valid for at least another six months and is less than 10 years old
› There are no indications that you have ulterior reasons for extending your visa, such as an intention to settle illegally in the Netherlands
If you want to extend your Schengen visa, contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
Schengen visa for family members of EU/EEA nationals
If you are a family member of an EU/EEA or Swiss national and you wish to visit the Netherlands, you may qualify for an accelerated free visa procedure as long as:
› you are a first-degree family member (spouse, partner or child who is under 21) of an EU/EEA or Swiss national
› your EU/EEA national is travelling to or is residing in a member state other than that of which he/she is a national
› you are accompanying your EU/EEA national or planning to join him/her
You will need to show Dutch immigration officials proof that you meet these criteria when you submit your visa application.
2. Airport transit visa for the Netherlands
Some internationals will need to get an airport transit visa to change flights in a Dutch or other Schengen-area airport. Check this list to see if your nationality is required to apply for a transit visa.
Travellers who have a long transit time between flights and would like to leave the airport in the Netherlands will need to apply for a Schengen visa.
3. Long-stay visa for the Netherlands / Dutch Residence Permit
Anyone who plans to stay for longer than 90 days to live with a partner or family member, study or work in the Netherlands will need to apply for a residence permit; or first (for some nationalities) for an authorisation for a temporary stay (a provisional residence permit or mvv), also known as an entry visa or type D visa.
Learn more about how to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands.
4. Return visa for the Netherlands
If you do not have a valid residence document at the present time (or it will expire while you are abroad) and you want to travel outside the Netherlands, you may need a return visa.
You do not need an urgent reason to apply for a return visa if you have submitted an application in time (or within two years after your current residence permit has expired) to:
› extend your temporary stay
› change your purpose of stay
› acquire a permanent residence permit
› acquire a first residence permit for a child born in the Netherlands
› replace a lost or stolen residence document
› you are awaiting the decision or have not yet received your permit
Note: the notice that you have been granted a residence permit is not a valid border-crossing document.
You will need an urgent (and demonstrable) reason if you are waiting for your application for a first residence permit (with or without an mvv) or the decision on an appeal/objection against a refusal of an application.
Note: this is only if you are already allowed to await this procedure in the Netherlands and the decision on your appeal is not expected within the three months' validity of the return visa.
Valid reasons for wanting to go abroad include the death of a close family member, the wedding of a close family member, business or study travel and a study exchange.
Note: you must always be able to support your request with documentary evidence.
Further, if you are awaiting your first residence permit application with an mvv, you do not need a return visa if your mvv is still valid. With a valid mvv you can travel within the Schengen area for 90 days from the date of entry and re-enter the Netherlands for three months from its date of issuance by the Dutch embassy. Only if your mvv expires while you are abroad do you need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands.
In applying for a return visa, you will need a valid passport, your current residence permit (if applicable), the appointment code, a police report (in case your residence permit card was lost/stolen) and, if necessary, documentation supporting the urgency of your need to travel abroad.
You can apply for a return visa at your local IND desk, after first making an appointment by calling 0900-1234561. The operator will tell you what documents you need to bring.
If your return visa is granted, it is issued as a sticker in your passport. It is a single entry visa that allows you to travel to and re-enter the Netherlands once within the three months after it was issued.
Usually the visa cannot be extended, unless it is for business purposes, in which case it may be issued as a multiple entry.
If your residence permit is based on study and you have to travel for study purposes, your return visa may be valid for six months.
Visa for students in the Netherlands
For expats coming to the Netherlands for study purposes, your university may apply for your visa on your behalf.
Study in Holland has a Student Visa Wizard that explains which procedures may be necessary for you, if any. In most cases, the same procedures apply for prospective employees.
Dutch visa costs
Different charges apply for visa for adults and children in the Netherlands. There are also charges for changes to length of stay or number of entries for compelling personal circumstances. Check the IND website for exact visa costs.