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Residence permit self-employed person

Last update: 30 May 2023

You want to start working on a self-employed basis in the Netherlands. Find out what the requirements are to work as a freelancer and how to apply for the residence permit for a self-employed person.

Do you want to work in the Netherlands as an entrepreneur setting up a start-up? Then other requirements apply to you for a start-up residence permit


These requirements apply to you.

Essential interest to the Dutch economy

The product or services you offer must be new for the Netherlands. To assess this, the IND requests advice from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The RVO gives advice on behalf of the Minister of Economic Affairs.

The RVO assesses the essential interest of the work you want to start as a self-employed person in these 3 areas:

  1. Personal experience
  2. Business Plan
  3. Added value for the Netherlands. 

In its assessment, the RVO gives each area a number of points. Do you have at least 30 points for each area? Or 45 points for your personal experience and 45 points for your business plan? Then your business is of essential interest to the Netherlands. See the legislation on the scoring system and all requirements in Dutch. Or this English translated document:

Do you have Turkish nationality or the status of long-term EU resident in a different EU country? Then the scoring system does not apply.

Requirements of the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty or Dutch-Japanese Trade Treaty

  • You meet the general requirements that apply to everyone.
  • You have the nationality of United States of America (US) or Japan. 
  • One of these situations applies to you.
    • You trade between the Netherlands and the United States of America or Japan. 
    • You develop and lead the business operations of a business in the Netherlands. This means that one of these situations applies to you.
      • You represent a US or Japanese business and have a key position (very important position) at that business. 
      • You practise an independent profession. This does not apply if you work for or on behalf of the government or in the healthcare sector. 
      • You invest a lot of money (substantial capital) in your business. The level of this sum depends on the form of your business. For most forms, the IND requires a minimum investment of €4,500. See the rules on substantial capital investment.

Process and costs

These are the steps in the application process for the residence permit:

Show details Hide details
  • 1. Check requirements open minus
  • 1. Check requirements open minus
  • 2. Collect documents open minus
  • 2. Collect documents open minus
  • 3. Apply open minus
  • 3. Apply open minus
  • 4. Pay for application open minus
  • 4. Pay for application open minus
  • 5. Wait for decision on application open minus
  • 5. Wait for decision on application open minus
  • 6. Decision on application open minus
  • 6. Decision on application open minus
  • 7. Collect MVV and travel to the Netherlands open minus
  • 7. Collect residence permit open minus
  • 8. Collect residence permit open minus

The residence permit

Find out what else you need to know about the residence permit:

TB test

Did you indicate at the time of the application that you will take a TB (tuberculosis) test? Then make an appointment with the public health service (in Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gezondheidsdienst or GGD). Do this within 3 months after you have received your residence permit. Take with you to the appointment:

Working with the residence permit

On the back of your residence permit, it says whether you are allowed to work for an employer. Then your residence permit says ‘work as an employee only allowed with a work permit’ (in Dutch: arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV)). This means that, with this residence permit, you are only allowed to work if your employer has a work permit (TWV) for you.

Your family members or relatives are allowed to work in the Netherlands without a work permit (TWV). It says on their residence permit ‘work allowed on a self-employed basis, free to work, no work permit required’ (in Dutch: arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan, arbeid vrij toegestaan, TWV niet vereist).

Working without TWV 

Have you worked in the Netherlands for 5 years? Then you no longer need a work permit (TWV) to work in the Netherlands. You will be allowed to work without a TWV as soon as you have received a residence permit with the work status ‘free to work' (in Dutch: arbeid vrij toegestaan). This is how you apply for this indication of work status.

Will your residence permit remain valid for more than 4 months? Then you can replace your residence permit with a residence document with the indication of work status ‘free to work’ (in Dutch: arbeid vrij toegestaan).

Will your residence permit expire within 3 months? Then apply to extend your residence permit. Indicate on the form that you want to have the work status ‘free to work’ (in Dutch: arbeid vrij toegestaan) on your residence document.

Legal obligations

You have an obligation to provide information. This means that you must notify the IND of changes in your situation. Read more about your obligation to provide information.

The IND checks whether you meet your obligations. If you do not, you may get an administrative fine

Validity of residence permit

Your residence permit is valid for a maximum of 2 years. 

Other applications

Replacement of the residence permit

Has your residence permit been damaged, lost or stolen? Visit the web page residence permit damaged or change details or residence permit lost or stolen.

Extend the residence permit

Will your residence permit expire soon? Then you can extend your residence permit.

Permanent residence permit

Have you had a residence permit for 5 years? Then you can apply for a permanent residence permit.