Before you move to the Netherlands, you should make sure that you are legally allowed to stay and work in the Netherlands. Depending on your nationality and the reason for your stay, you might need a residence or work permit.

Why the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a tiny country and might not be the first one that pops up when one thinks of moving abroad. But there are many reasons why someone wants to move to the lowlands of tulips and cheese (and much more, of course):

  • to work, live or study in the Netherlands (temporarily), for example, as an exchange student or au pair;
  • having a relationship with someone who lives in the Netherlands;
  • Family members living in the Netherlands;
  • refugees who do not feel safe in their own country and wish to apply for political asylum. mainly provides information for young professionals, recent graduates and international students. If you are a refugee and want to apply for asylum in the Netherlands, please contact UNHCR or check the resources on

Residence permit for EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens

If you are a national of a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you don’t need a residence permit to enter the country and to live and work in the Netherlands. To do so, however, you need a valid passport from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland or a valid identity card. If you are planning on living in the Netherlands, don’t forget to:

Working in the Netherlands

We already covered that citizens with the nationality of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland do not need a working visa. Employees with other nationalities mostly need a visa to work in the Netherlands, whether in paid employment, setting up a start-up, starting a freelance business or doing an internship in the Netherlands to gain working experience. First of all, you need to have a look at the duration of your stay. The first boundary would be 90 days:

  • A short-stay visa might be sufficient if you stay less than 90 days, depending on your nationality.
  • If you stay longer than 90 days and you are no citizen of one of the regions stated above, you must apply for a residence permit to be able to work in the Netherlands.

The most common residence permits for people who come to work in the Netherlands are:

In both cases, your employer must apply for your residence permit at the IND. You thus already need a job before moving to the Netherlands.

However, there are multiple options, e.g. if you are coming to the Netherlands as a researcher or want to start your own business or start-up. Which residence permit you need depends on your job and the reasons for coming to the Netherlands. Therefore check the Residence Permits section on There you’ll find different types of residence permits for your situation.

Good to know: After you have stayed and worked in the Netherlands for more than 5 years, you are able to apply for a permanent residence permit in the Netherlands.

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