Unlike residence permits, which cover long-term stays, visas apply to short-term stays in the Netherlands. A Dutch visa is necessary for some nationalities who plan to stay for a short period (up to 90 days) or transit through the Netherlands.
Types of visa in the Netherlands
There are four types of visa for the Netherlands:
- Schengen, short stay or tourist visa for stays up to 90 days.
- Transit visa for transfers at Dutch airports.
- Return visa for foreigners in the Netherlands without a valid residence permit who need to urgently travel abroad.
- MVV authorisation for temporary stay for some nationalities who want to apply for a residence permit.
The Dutch startup visa, aimed at entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in the Netherlands is actually a type of residence permit.
Please note that Dutch immigration law can be quite complicated, so it may be a good idea to contact an immigration lawyer when it comes to difficult cases.
Do I need a visa for the Netherlands?
Whether you need a visa to enter the Netherlands depends on your nationality.
Dutch visa not necessary
Many countries have reciprocal agreements with the Dutch government which allows their citizens to enter the Netherlands without a visa.
If your country is on the list of nationalities that do not require a Schengen visa then you can travel to the Netherlands without a visa and stay for up to 90 days (within a 180 day period). If you want to stay longer than 90 days in the Netherlands then you will need to apply for a residence permit.
Citizens of EU/EEA countries do not require a visa or a residence permit for the Netherlands.
Dutch visa required
Citizens of countries that are not in the above list will need to apply for a Dutch visa before travelling to the Netherlands.
If you want to stay for 90 days or less then you must apply for a Schengen or short stay visa. If you want to stay longer than 90 days in the Netherlands then you will need to apply for a residence permit with an MMV, also known as the TEV Procedure.
General requirements to enter the Netherlands
Regardless of if you require a visa or not, all internationals must fulfil a set of general requirements be able to enter the Netherlands:
- You have a valid passport with at least six months validity from the time you enter the Netherlands.
- You are covered by travel insurance.
- You can support yourself financially.
- You can prove your travel purpose(s).
- You can show that you will return to your country of residence.
- You do not pose a threat to public order, public health, domestic security or international relations.
- You are not on a list of refused people from other Schengen countries.
Visas in the Netherlands
A guide to the four kinds of visa in the Netherlands:
1. Schengen or short stay visa
If you want to come to the Netherlands for a short time for a reason such as a holiday, business trip or family visit, and your country does not have a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands, then you need to apply for a short stay visa. The Schengen visa, also known as a short stay visa (C-visa), is for a temporary stay of up to 90 days (over a 180 day period) in the Schengen Area including the Netherlands. The 180 day period starts the day you enter the Netherlands or another Schengen country.
What is the Schengen area?
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that removed border control at mutual borders and introduced a common visa policy.
Countries in the Schengen Area
Single or multiple entry
You can use the short stay visa in two ways: either as one consecutive 90 day stay, or as two or more stays spread over the 180 day period.
If you wish to spread out your visit, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. You can specify when you apply whether you want single or multiple entry. For example, if you travel to the UK during your visit, you should ask for a multiple entry visa as the UK is not part of the Schengen Area.
If you stay for 90 days consecutively, you need to stay outside the Netherlands (and the Schengen area) for another 90 days before applying for a visa again.
If you want to enter and exit the Schengen Area two or more times on a multiple entry visa then you may want to calculate the total number of days you spend within the area to make sure you don’t exceed the 90 day limit. Use the Schengen calculator to see how many days you have passed in the Schengen Area and how many days you have remaining.
Required documents for Schengen visa
When you submit your visa application you must also provide certain documents. It is advised to contact your nearest Dutch embassy or consulate in advance to know the exact requirements.
When applying for a Schengen visa the following documents are required:
- A valid passport or travel document.
- Two passport photos.
- Proof of planned travel such as a reservation with a travel agent.
- Proof of valid medial travel insurance with coverage value of at least 30.000 euros in the Schengen Area.
- Documents proving you have reason to return to your country of residence such as an employer’s declaration, a rental agreement, records of your children’s’ school attendance or proof of ownership of your house.
- Documents that demonstrate the purpose of your trip such as a hotel reservation, a business invitation from a company in the Netherlands or a completed invitation form from the person (sponsor) you are visiting.
- Proof of financial independence or support during your stay in the Netherlands (at least 34 euros per person per day) such as bank statements, cash or a legalised declaration from the person who will sponsor your stay. This person must also meet a minimum income level.
2. Transit visa
The transit visa or airport transit visa (A-visa) is for international airport passengers making a stopover at an airport (such as Schiphol) in the Netherlands or another Schengen country, while travelling to a destination outside the Schengen area.
With a transit visa you are not permitted to leave the airport. If you wish to exit the airport or continue your journey by car, train or bus to another Schengen country then you need to apply for a Schengen visa. See a list of airport transit visa countries.
3. Return visa
The return visa is for internationals living in the Netherlands who have an urgent reason to travel abroad such as a family wedding, illness or death, and whose residence permit is either lost, stolen or being processed.
The return visa allows you to travel abroad and then legally re-enter the Netherlands, even if your residence permit is lost or invalid. The return visa is a national (Dutch) visa so it is not valid in other Schengen nations. You can apply for a return visa at your closest IND desk in the Netherlands.
4. MVV authorization for temporary stay
If you want to come to the Netherlands for more than 90 days, and you are required to have a Schengen visa, then you need to apply for an MVV and a residence permit (TEV Procedure) before you travel.
The MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is similar to a visa because it grants entry to the Netherlands, however it is actually a provisional residence permit. The MVV allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident rather than a tourist. The MVV also allows you to stay in the Netherlands while your residence permit application is being processed.
Application procedure for Dutch visas
If you are required to have a visa to enter the Netherlands then you must apply for one before you travel.
Where do I apply for a Dutch visa?
You must apply for a visa for the Netherlands in person at the Dutch mission (embassy or consulate) in your country of residence. If there is no Dutch mission in your country then you should contact a Dutch mission in a neighbouring country.
Make a visa application appointment
You will need to schedule an appointment to submit your visa application. At this appointment you must bring all the supporting documentation. If your application is approved the Dutch mission will attach a visa sticker in your passport.
It is recommended to reserve, but not pay for, your travel to the Netherlands until your visa has been confirmed.
Visa application fees
|Type of visa||Fee|
|Schengen visa single entry (90 days)||60 euros|
|Schengen visa multiple entry (90 days)||60 euros|
|Schengen visa children 6-12 (90 days)||35 euros|
|Schengen visa children 0-6 (90 days)||0 euros|
|Transit visa (ages 12 and above)||60 euros|
|Transit visa children (6-12 years)||35 euros|
|Transit visa children (0-6 years)||0 euros|
|Return visa||148 euros|
Note: Additional costs can include the legalisation of documents.
Reduced visa fees for certain nationalities
The EU has an agreements with certain countries to reduce the cost of the short stay and transit visas from 60 to 35 euros.These countries are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Russia and Serbia.
Can I work on a Dutch visa?
You are not permitted to work in the Netherlands while on a visa unless your employer has organised a work permit for you.
Period of validity of visas in the Netherlands
As mentioned earlier, Schengen visas are valid from your stated arrival date for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. The Schengen visa will not be valid before that period. A transit visa is valid for the time that you are transiting between flights in a Dutch airport.
If you have compelling personal circumstances that force you to stay longer in the Netherlands then you can request to extend your visa. If you want to stay longer in the Netherlands, then you will need to return to your country of residence and apply for a MVV and residence permit (or TEV procedure).
Can I extend my Dutch visa?
Under exceptional circumstances it is possible to extend your Schengen visa. This is done via the IND and you must meet the following conditions:
- Your extended stay does not exceed 90 days.
- You can provide an explanation about the compelling personal circumstances that force you to extend your stay and can provide documents that prove you are unable to return to your country of residence before your visa expires.
- You can support yourself financially while you continue to stay in the Netherlands (at least 34 euros per day) or you have a sponsor who can support you.
- You are covered by healthcare or travel insurance.
- Your passport is valid for at least six more months and is not more than 10 years old.
- There are no indications that you have other reasons to extend your stay such as intending to illegally settle in the Netherlands.
Dutch visa extension fees
A visa extension due to compelling personal circumstances costs 30 euros. A visa extension due to a force majeure such as a natural disaster, or for humanitarian reasons, is free.