New residency regulations for start-up entrepreneurs

New residency regulations for start-up entrepreneurs

Everaert Advocaten is a respected leader in Dutch migration law. Based in Amsterdam, its multilingual team advises both short- and long-term expats on residency procedures and migration-related legal issues.

The Netherlands sees entrepreneurs as the engine of the Dutch economy. They are a source of innovation and job creation, and as such they stimulate economic growth.

Standard residency gateways for entrepreneurs

There have always been several methods for entrepreneurs to obtain residency in the Netherlands:

 American citizens

American citizens can make use of the Dutch - American Friendship Treaty, which enables them to apply for residency for themselves and their families, establish their own companies and invest a certain amount of money.

 Japanese citizens

Under the Treaty of Trade and Navigation between Japan and the Netherlands, Japanese citizens may start their own companies, invest a sum of money and obtain residency for their families.

 Other nationalities

Entrepreneurs of other nationalities can apply for entrepreneurial residency under the so-called "points-based system". They need to show that their business activities serve essential Dutch economic interests.

 Foreign artists

Foreign artists who can demonstrate their service to Dutch culture can apply for residency as self-employed artists.

Start-up residence permits

Recently, a new residency scheme was introduced that can be added to the above list of entrepreneurial residence permits.

Starting on January 1, 2015, entrepreneurs who want to found an innovative business in the Netherlands can apply for a "start-up" residence permit.

The start-up scheme is meant to attract ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the European Union, in order to stimulate Dutch economic growth, innovation and job creation.

Conditions for a start-up residence permit

Several conditions need to be met before a successful application for a start-up Entry and Residence permit can be filed:

1. Cooperation with a facilitator

Cooperation with a reliable expert facilitator laid down in an agreement between this person and the entrepreneur. The facilitator needs to have at least two years’ experience guiding innovative start-ups and must show he or she is financially sound. Also, the facilitator may not be related to the start-up entrepreneur (up to the third level).

2. Innovative product(s) and/or service(s)

The product or service must be innovative. It is either new to the Netherlands, or involves a new technology for production, distribution or marketing, or introduces a new organisational and process approach.

3. Business plan

The start-up entrepreneur needs a step-by-step plan in which the activities that will be undertaken to advance from idea to business are laid down. He must have an active role and serve as more than a shareholder or financier.

netherlands new start-up permit entrepreneurs

4. Registration

The start-up entrepreneur and facilitator must both be registered in the Dutch Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce.

5. Sufficient financial resources

The entrepreneur must have sufficient financial resources to reside, live and set up his business in the Netherlands for a year.

The amount available is 70 per cent of the standard amount for single persons under the Minimum Wage Act. At the moment this is 1.051,30 euros gross per month exclusive holiday allowance (this is 1.135,40 euros inclusive holiday allowance). The start-up entrepreneur may be financially supported by a guarantor.

Where to file the start-up Entry and Residence permit

The start-up Entry and Residence permit application is filed with the Dutch Embassy or consulate in the country of residence or with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND). It can be filed by the start-up entrepreneur himself or by an authorised person.

The IND consults with a special unit of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The Agency provides an assessment of the quality of the facilitator, innovativeness and the step-by-step plan. It will also determine whether the facilitator and the start-up are registered in the Dutch Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce.

The advice on the start-up application follows within two weeks of receipt of IND’s request.


The start-up entrepreneur residence permit is valid for one year. During this time the start-up entrepreneur should produce an innovative product or service. After one year the start-up should be mature enough that the entrepreneur can apply for residency based on the general points-based system.

Administrative fees

The administrative fees for the start-up residence permit amount to 307 euros.

Hermie de Voer is a partner at Everaert Advocaten and has worked with the firm in immigration and Dutch citizenship law since 2005.

everaert advocaten immigration lawyers

Hermie de Voer


Hermie de Voer

Attorney-at-Law | Partner at Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers. I am specialized in immigration and Dutch citizenship law. I work with entrepreneurs, start-ups, highly skilled migrants, wealthy immigrants, creatives, Dutch and...

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