Startup Visa


The Netherlands Startup visa makes it easier for new entrepreneurs to get their company started in the Netherlands. It is a one-year Dutch residence permit which allows the holder to work with a “facilitator” in the Netherlands to get his/her company ready to meet the criteria of a self-employment visa.

A startup entrepreneur needs to have an active role in the company, meaning they cannot be merely a financer/stakeholder.

What is a facilitator?

A facilitator is the business mentor who the foreign entrepreneur will be working with. The facilitator provides the entrepreneur with support based on the specific needs of the startup company. This support could be by helping with marketing, operational management, research etc.
There is a number of conditions a facilitator has to meet:
  • Experience in mentoring innovative startups
  • They must be financially stable
  • They cannot have a majority interest in the startup
  • They cannot be a family member of the entrepreneur. This applies up to the third degree: child, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle.
  • They must be registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) decides if someone meets the criteria to become a facilitator for a startup visa. They also have a list of recognized facilitators.
After the one-year startup visa ends, the facilitator can provide a recommendation for the entrepreneur to the immigration services to aid their Dutch self-employment visa application.

The requirements for the Startup Visa Program are:

  • The product or the service is innovative.
  • The startup entrepreneur has a step-by-step plan in order to move from idea to business.
  • The startup entrepreneur is registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • There are sufficient financial means to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands (a minimum of 13,000 euros in your bank account).

You can read more about the Startup Visa Program and specific requirements here.

Dutch Startup Visa Business Plan.

A startup entrepreneur has to provide a step-by-step plan detailing how they will move their idea from a concept to actual business. This is also done to provide the authorities with information about what the company will entail before they issue a Netherlands startup visa.
A step-by-step for a Netherlands startup visa includes:
  • Information regarding the organization. This includes: the structure of the organization; the purpose of the company; roles and tasks; the company’s legal form; the personnel.
  • A description on how the plans and activities that you will undertake to set up the company.
  • A description of the innovative product or service you will be providing.

What makes a product innovative?

In order for a product or service to be of value to the Netherlands and be considered it has to be innovative. A product/service is innovative if:
  • It is new to the Netherlands
  • It has an innovative organizational method and procedure
  • It produces, distributes, and advertises by employing new technologies

How to Apply for a Netherlands Startup Visa?

If you are a national of a country who does not need an MVV to enter the Netherlands, you can apply for your Netherlands startup visa at the IND.

Even so, if you are already in the Netherlands with a short-stay visa to open a business, you may not need to apply for an MVV even if your country normally requires one. If you meet all the other criteria, you can submit you application for a startup visa directly to the IND.

You can also authorize your facilitator to apply on your behalf.

However, if you are abroad and your country requires an MVV, you can apply for both the MVV and the residence permit at the same time. You can do this at the Dutch embassy/consulate in your country.

If you require an MVV, your facilitator cannot apply for the startup visa on your behalf.
When you apply, you need to have a completed application form as well as the required documents (and copies for each of them.) All your documents need to be in either English, French, Dutch, or German. If they are not, you have to get them translated by an authorized Dutch translator.