First and foremost, do you actually need a Dutch visa or residence permit?

The answer is no, if you are:

  • A national of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) member states or Switzerland. (Although, if you intend to stay longer than four months you will have to register with the municipality when you arrive in the Netherlands.)
  • A spouse, partner or relative of an EU, EEA or Swiss National, even if you are not one yourself.
  • You are not required to obtain a visa if you are from the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Monaco, Vatican City, Australia or New Zealand, but you will need a residence permit, so please read on.

It is essential that, if you are from outside of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you acquire the correct documents before traveling to the Netherlands.

The system can be confusing and it is worthwhile getting your head around these acronyms in order to understand it:

1.    MVV, Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf : ‘Authorization for Temporary Stay’; a long stay Visa.

2.    VKV, Visum Kort Verblijf : A short stay visa

3.    VVR, Vereniging van Registrars : The Dutch residence permit.

4.    TEV, Toegang en Verblijf : ‘Entry and Residence Procedure’, a process that enables you to apply for a Visa and a residence permit simultaneously.

5.    IND, Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst : ‘Immigration and Naturalisation Service’, a Dutch government agency that manages the entry of foreigners into the Netherlands.


To attain your Visa, visit the Dutch embassy in your country of origin or residence. If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for:

  • A period of less than 90 days, you will have to request a Short Stay Visa (VKV).
  • A period exceeding 90 days, you must arrange an Authorization for Temporary Stay (MVV).

Side Note
Side note:

– An MVV must also be requested for your accompanying family members.

– Processing time is approximately 90 days, so make sure you start the procedure in good time.


If you require a residence permit as well as a visa you can initiate the ‘TEV procedure’, at the Dutch embassy in your country of origin or residence, to apply for both documents at the same time.

Alternatively, if you have a sponsor residing in the Netherlands (a person or organization with an interest in your coming to the country, such as a family member, employer or university) they can initiate the TEV procedure on your behalf. Your sponsor must fill out the application form and send it, along with the other necessary documents, to the IND.

You must await the outcome of your TEV application before traveling to the Netherlands. However, under exceptional circumstances, you may be able to enter the country without an MVV. It is crucial that you communicate with the IND if you need to do this.

If the IND has no objection to your entering the Netherlands it will send an MVV approval to the Dutch embassy in your home country or country of residence, which you should collect.

Within two weeks of your arrival in the Netherlands, you must contact the IND to set up an appointment. They will ask for your fingerprints, passport photo and signature. Once you have provided these, you will be issued with your residence document.


If you do not require an MVV you, or your prospective employer, can apply for your residence permit with the IND. You will need the following documents for the application:

  • A legalized, certified copy of your birth certificate (as well as your spouse’s or partner’s)
  • If applicable, a legalized marriage license
  • If either you or your partner were previously married, a copy of the legalized divorce decree

You may need to provide additional documents, depending on your circumstances and country of origin. The IND will also ask for your passport, work permit and proof of insurance at a later date.

– You cannot apply for a residence permit if you have entered the Netherlands without making use of the MVV.

– If you are over the age of 13 you have an Obligation to Carry ID at all times in the Netherlands. Legal forms of ID include: a passport (for EU nationals) or a valid aliens document (for non-EU nationals). Dutch nationals may show either a driver’s license, a passport, or an identity card. Neither photocopies, nor an invitation to the police to come and check your documents at your home, are sufficient.

– It is not enough for children over the age of 13 to be included in their parents’ passport, they must own and carry their own papers.

– If you refuse to comply with the above regulations you may be taken to the police station for identification and you run the risk of being charged a fine. This will be in the region of € 45 if you are under the age of 16, or € 90 if you are older. However, in extreme cases, you could be fined as much as € 2,250 so it is wise to abide by the rules!

– If store or building security officers ask you for your ID you are not obliged to show it to them. However, they will have the right to deny you entry, or to escort you out of, the building.

Useful links
Find out if you require a visa

Arrange your IND appointment

View extra information on visas and permits

Visa requirements:

MVV requirements:

For more information about Work Permits

Health insurance:

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