Start-up

You wish to work in the Netherlands as a start-up entrepreneur. You need a residence permit for this. What are the conditions for this residence permit? And how does the application procedure work?

​A residence permit as 'start-up' gives ambitious starters a year to start an innovative company in the Netherlands. One condition in this regard is that they are supervised by a reliable supervisor (facilitator) in the Netherlands. Start-ups receive a great deal of support in the Netherlands to develop into successful enterprises. This is good for the entrepreneur, but also good for employment and the economy.

Why start up a business in the Netherlands? The Netherlands is in the top 5 of the most competitive economies in the world. We have much to offer foreign entrepreneurs and investors: the accessibility by road, rail, ports and airports is excellent. In addition, our digital infrastructure is one of the fastest and most reliable in the world.

With a good business climate also come good living conditions. The Netherlands also takes a world-leading position in (international) education, healthcare and recreation.

Conditions

There are certain conditions that apply to everyone. In addition to these conditions, the following conditions apply to you and your facilitator:

  • Collaboration with a reliable and experienced facilitator.
  • The product or the service is innovative.
  • The start-up entrepreneur has a (step-by-step) plan in order to move from idea to business.
  • The start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator are both registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • There are sufficient financial means (resources) to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands.

What is a facilitator?

One of the conditions for the residence permit is working together with a business mentor: a facilitator. This cooperation must be laid down in a (signed) agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. 

The facilitator provides the start-up entrepreneur with a tailor-made package of support depending on the specific needs of the start-up entrepreneur. The facilitator may, for example, help with operational management, marketing, research and investing acquisition for setting up an innovative business. 

The facilitator must also meet a number of conditions:

  • The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative start-ups.
  • The facilitator must be financially sound.
  • The facilitator may not, in any case, be in receivership or bankrupt and must have no negative equity.
  • The facilitator may not have a majority interest in the start-up company.
  • The facilitator may not be a family member up to the third degree (child, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle) of the start-up entrepreneur.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) assesses whether the facilitator meets the above conditions and maintains the list of facilitators who meet the above conditions.

What makes a product or service innovative?

The product or service is innovative if it has at least 1 of the following 3 aspects:  

  • The product or service is new to the Netherlands.
  • It involves new technology for production, distribution or marketing.
  • It involves an innovative organisational procedure and method.

Examples include the following:

  • Business activities stimulated within the context of the Top Sector Policy.
  • Self-developed new products or services.
  • New product-market combinations.
  • Social responsible enterprises.
  • Original approach to energy conservation.
  • Original approach to environmental/sustainability issues.
  • Smart and creative adaptations or combinations for the purpose of cross-sectoral applications.
  • Creative or innovative market approach.
  • Social innovation.

Check for more information www.rvo.nl.

What conditions must the step-by-step plan meet?

The start-up entrepreneur must undertake specific activities to progress from concept to business. The Government wants to know in advance what activities will take place. The start-up entrepreneur provides a description of this in a step-by-step plan. The step-by-step plan provides:

  • Information on the organisation. The start-up entrepreneur must play an active role in the organisation. This means he is not merely shareholder or financier. The step-by-step plan must detail the following:
    • The structure of the organisation.
    • The assigned roles and tasks.
    • The legal form of the company.
    • The personnel.
    • The purpose of the company.
  • A description of the proposed innovative product or service (see What makes a product or service innovative?).
  • A description of the planning and activities associated with setting up the company.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) evaluates the start-up and checks compliance with the step-by-step plan.

Registration in Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The start-up entrepreneur must register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce. The registration must show that the start-up entrepreneur has an active role in the start-up. This is essential in order to be able take decisions regarding the future company. The facilitator must also be registered with the Chamber of Commerce. The RVO will audit the entry in the Trade Register. 

Sufficient financial resources to be able to reside, live and start up a business in the Netherlands

The start-up entrepreneur must have sufficient financial resources (income) to be able to reside, live and set up a business in the Netherlands. Start-up entrepreneurs may not rely on welfare benefits or other benefits from public funds.

The start-up entrepreneur can prove he has sufficient resources in various ways:

  • The entrepreneur proves by way of a bank statement, that he has sufficient funds in his account.
  • Another (legal) person, for example the facilitator, may fund the stay by providing financial resources to the start-up entrepreneur. The support must be available for the entire stay of the start-up entrepreneur (maximum of 1 year).

Other conditions may apply for Turkish nationals and their family members.

Online application

Your facilitator can also submit this application online. He can do this in the Business Portal.

Online application

Costs

This application costs € 333. 

Checklist for documents

The application form lists the documents that you have to enclose with your application.

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

 

After the application

Collect your residence permit

The IND aims to have your residence permit ready within 2 weeks following your arrival in the Netherlands. The IND will send you a letter indicating when you can collect your residence permit. For this, you have to make an appointment online at the IND desk stated in the letter. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to visit an IND desk at short notice. Therefore, please schedule an appointment in time.

Check to see if the information on your residence permit is correct while you are still at the IND desk. If something is incorrect, please inform the IND staff member at once.

Registration with the municipality

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you must register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP)  in the municipality you are going to live.

To register with the municipality you need a legalised and translated  birth certificate. Take this therefore with you when you travel to the Netherlands.

Please contact your municipality in advance to check which (legalised and translated) documents/ certificates you need to take with you.

TB test

You have indicated your intent to undergo a tuberculosis test (TB test) when you applied. You have to make an appointment for this with the Area Health Authority (GGD). You do this within 3 months after having received your residence permit. Please take the 'TB test referral form' with you to the appointment.

In some cases you are exempt from taking a TB test.

Take out health insurance

Anyone living in the Netherlands must take out health insurance. You do this within 4 months following your arrival in the Netherlands.

Validity residence permit

​The period of validity of the residence permit is up to 1 year. After 1 year, you can apply for a permit to work on a self-employed basis. You must meet the regular conditions applicable to the self-employment scheme. 

Right to work

The back of your residence permit shows if you are allowed to do paid employment. Your permit states 'arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met TWV ('only allowed work in paid employment with work permit') This means that, with a residence permit to work 'on a self-employed basis' in a start-up, you may only work if your employer has a TWV for you.

Familymembers of start-up entrepreneurs are allowed to work without a work permit. The residence permit states 'arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan. arbeid vrij toegestaan, TWV niet vereist' ('work as a self-employed person allowed free from restrictions, work allowed free from restrictions, Work permit not required')

Legal obligations

​There are a number of legal obligations that apply to you.

The IND monitors your compliance with these legal obligations. Failure to meet these legal obligations may have consequences.

Further applications (extend or change) / return visa

Replacement of residence permit

Is your residence permit damaged, lost or stolen? In that case, have the residence permit replaced.

Extend residence permit

It is not possible to extend the residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs (start-up). 

Change residence permit

After 1 year, you can apply for a permit to work on a self-employed basis. Here you must meet the regular conditions applicable to the self-employment scheme

Transition to self-employment scheme

In order to transition to the self-employment scheme, the start-up entrepreneur must meet the conditions normally associated with the self-employment scheme.  

In addition, he must be in possession of a statement from the facilitator, showing that he completed the supervisory trajectory in a minimum of 3 months and with positive results. Thus, the start-up entrepreneur substantiates that he has developed enough personal experience and has a sufficiently viable company. Within the scorings system, the statement of the facilitator equals at least the minimum score for personal experience, business plan and added value for the Dutch economy.

Change residence permit

Has something changed in your situation that influences your residence permit? Please report this immediately to the IND. It may mean that, due to the changes in your situation, the residence permit has to be changed.

More information

FAQ: Start-up permit
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl)
Expat center Amsterdam Area 

Return visa

If you are awaiting a procedure, you do not have a valid residence document at present and you wish to travel outside the Netherlands, you may need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands. This could be the case if your current residence permit is no longer valid or your current residence permit will expire during your stay outside of the Netherlands. To apply for a return visa you must meet certain conditions.  

Provisional residence permit (mvv)

​The provisional residence permit (mvv) is a visa you need if you wish to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days. For more information, check Regular provisional residence permit (mvv).

Dutch representation

​This is the Dutch embassy or consulate.

Country of continuous residence

​A country of continuous residence is a country (other than the country of origin) where you may lawfully live for more than 3 months. This means you have a valid residence permit for that country. Or that you are waiting for your application for a residence permit to be approved.

Are you in a country in your free term? Or with a visa for short stay (maximum of 3 months)? This is not continuous residence.

formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.

TWV

​A TWV is a work permit. The employer applies for a TWV with UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). UWV examines among other things if there is no employee with the Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss nationality that is qualified for the job.