A European blue card residence permit allows a highly skilled employee to live and work in the Netherlands. On this page, you can find out about the conditions and how to apply for the residence permit.
A European blue card is a work and residence permit for highly skilled employees (expats) who are nationals of a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Check which countries belong to the EU and EEA. The information on this page applies in the following cases:
In the Netherlands, another residence permit for highly skilled employees is also available. This is the Highly skilled migrant residence permit. Different conditions apply for this permit. Find out more about the highly skilled migrant residence permit.
If you are hiring a foreign worker, then you are the sponsor of that worker. As an employer, you can become a recognised sponsor. Recognised sponsors can easily and quickly apply for residence permits for employees and their family members. Employers do not have to become a recognised sponsor to hire an employee for a European blue card: becoming a recognised sponsor is completely voluntary. Find out more about applying to the IND to become a recognised sponsor.
The following conditions also apply to the European blue card residence permit:
You must have documentation showing that you satisfy the conditions for the European blue card residence permit. The following documents are needed for the European blue card application:
The employee will need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. That visa is known as a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf – mvv). In some situations, no mvv is required, for example if the employee has held a European blue card in another EU country for at least 18 months.
Find out more about provisional residence permits (mvv).
Only the employer can apply for the residence permit. The employer applies for the mvv and the residence permit at the same time. This can only be done in writing. There are various application forms.
The employer pays the application fees. This can be done by Direct Debit, if you are a recognised sponsor. Alternatively, the IND sends a letter regarding payment of the application costs (fees).
The application for a European blue card residence permit costs € 320.
The IND has 90 days to adopt a decision on your application for a European blue card. This is known as the decision period. This period is determined by law. The employer will receive a letter stating the date by which the IND will adopt a decision on the application.
The IND aims to handle the application of a recognised sponsor within 2 weeks. This is conditional on the application being complete.
You can apply for review of the decision within 4 weeks. The decision letter explains how to do this. Find out more about applying for review or appealing a decision from the IND.
Has the decision period passed and you have still not received a decision on your application or review? Then the IND is late in deciding. Find out what you can do if the IND is late with its decision.
The residence permit is valid 3 months longer than the employment contract. But it is valid for a maximum of 4 years.
This residence permit allows the employee to work without a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning – TWV) for the employer who applied for the residence permit. The back of the residence permit states: 'Arbeid als houder van de Europese blauwe kaart en als zelfstandige toegestaan, andere arbeid toegestaan met TWV' (Work as a European blue card holder and as a self-employed person allowed; other work allowed with a TWV).
Do you want to work for another employer as well? If so, that employer will have to obtain a TWV for you. The employer should apply to the UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency) for the work permit.
Find out more about applying to the UWV for a work permit (Dutch only).
As an employee with a European blue card, you are also allowed to work as an entrepreneur in addition to your job with your employer. But you will still have to meet the conditons for the European blue card.
Have you lost your job and is your residence permit still valid? You have up to 3 months to find a new job. This is known as a search period. The search period starts on the day your contract ends. The search period is never longer than the validity of your residence permit.
The employee and the employer must comply with several legal obligations.