Visa Pathways for Living in the Netherlands

| Leiden International Centre

The Netherlands attracts people from around the globe to work, study, and live. Its popularity is often attributed to the many career opportunities and desirable work-life balance available here. There are many different pathways to take to live and work here, whether temporary or long-term. If you want to be more informed on the options available for moving to the Netherlands, this guide will come in handy.   

If an individual is a national from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, he or she does not need a residence permit to live in the Netherlands but must register in the Dutch personal records database.  

Visa options 

For those from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, here are some of the visa options you can apply for: 

  • Highly-skilled migrant  
  • Scientific Researchers 
  • Intra Corporate Transferee 
  • Orientation year (Zoekjaar) 
  • Intern or apprentice in the Netherlands 
  • Dutch Start-up 
  • Dutch Start-up Personell  
  • Holder of a European Blue Card  
  • Partnership  
  • Stay with a Family Member 

For certain residence purposes, you must be sponsored by your employer. See below for details. 

Highly-skilled Migrant Visa 

A highly-skilled migrant will work in a high-level, specialist position, or as a guest lecturer, trainee doctor, or researcher in paid employment. There is also a minimum salary requirement. Find more information on this page

If you want to come as a highly-skilled migrant, your employer is required to be registered with the IND as a recognised sponsor.  

High-Skilled Migrant Visa in 5 Steps 

IND High-skilled Migrant pdf 

Scientific Researchers 

If you want to be hired as a scientific researcher your organisation is required to be registered with the IND as a recognised sponsor. A scientific researcher works under Directive 2016/801/COD as a paid scientific researcher, PhD student, or an unpaid scientific researcher with a grant. Find more information on this page.  

IND Scientific Researcher pdf 

Intra-Corporate Transferee Visa 

If you’re an employee who works at a company with its registered office outside the European Union as a manager, trainee, or specialist and is transferred to a branch in the Netherlands, this is an option for you. Find more information on this page

Orientation Year Visa (Zoekjaar

If you’ve recently completed your studies (bachelor's, master's, or PhD) or research you have the option to apply for this provisional permit, which is valid for one year. This permit allows the individual to work without employer sponsorship until it expires. 

The permit provides time to search for a job that will sponsor them as a highly-skilled migrant employee or for the individual to switch to other visa pathways. Find more information on our website and the IND’s

Orientation Year Visa in 5 Steps 

Prepping for Orientation Year 

IND Orientation year pdf 

IND FAQ Orientation year pdf 

Intern/Apprentice Visa 

If you're looking to intern or apprentice in the Netherlands, you need a Single permit (gecombineerde vergunning verblijf en arbeid or GVVA.)  

The GVVA is a combination of the residence permit and the work permit. This permit can be valid for a maximum of 1 year. Find more information on this page

IND GVVA info 

Dutch Start-up Visa 

Ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland who want to launch an innovative business in the Netherlands can apply for a temporary Start-up personnel permit, valid for up to 1 year.  

During this time, you must develop an innovative new product or service under the guidance of an experienced facilitator. Find more information on this page

Dutch Start-up Visa in 5 Steps 
IND Dutch Start-up Visa pdf 

Essential Start-up Personnel Visa 

In addition, there is an umbrella visa under the Dutch Start-up Visa that is called the Residence Permit for Essential Start-up Personnel. This permit allows the start-up company to hire foreign talent by offering employees shares/options in the company.  

Next to the general conditions that apply to everyone, there are specific requirements that apply if you wish to hire foreign talent through the Start-up personnel permit in the Netherlands. Find more information on this page.  

Essential Start-up Personnel in 5 Steps 

European Blue Card 

The EU Blue Card is a residence and work permit for highly-skilled migrants with non-EU nationality. This card allows you to have mobility within the EU for work, alongside your family.  

Compare both visa options (Blue Card vs. Highly-Skilled Migrant) and see what fits you and your employer best. 

Learn about the requirements and how your employer can apply for the permit on this page.  

IND Participating Countries of EU Blue Card 

Partnership Visa 

If you’re looking to bring your partner over, they will need a residence permit to live with you. Some of the requirements include that you have had a long-term relationship with your partner, you’re married or are in a registered partnership. Find more information on this page

IND Partnership Visa pdf (admission and residence 'to stay with a family member) 

IND Questionnaire for Residence with Partner pdf 

Admission & Residence ‘To Stay with a Family Member Visa 

There are pathways available to bring foreign family members, i.e. your children, to the Netherlands. The options vary depending on your specific circumstances. Find more information on this page

IND Admission & Residence 'To Stay with a Family Member 

If you are not part of the previous categories, you might still be able to work in the Netherlands by applying to the Single Permit: GVVA 

Single Permit: GVVA 

If you plan to work in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, you will most likely need a GVVA. This permit combines your residence and work permit into one application process. It is essential for various types of paid employment.  

The GVVA simplifies the administrative process by integrating both permits into a single document. It is required for most non-EU/EEA nationals working in the Netherlands for an extended period. 

This pathway also applies to the people coming to the Netherlands to gain work experience, either for study or work purposes 

To determine if you need a GVVA or to find more information, please visit this page


For a breakdown of most of this information, you can look at this page: Requirements for EU/Non-EU Citizens 

If you’d like to see detailed information about all the resident permits available, you can do so on the IND website. When seeking advice on any of these visa pathways, we advise contacting the IND or immigration experts for specific information.  

Our partnered experts in immigration: 

  • De Clercq Advocaten: advises international companies and internationals on varies areas of Dutch law such as employment law, immigration law, corporate law, intellectual property, privacy, real estate, and notary. 
  • LIMES International: provides guidance and support to companies and people who cross national borders for employment purposes, and assists companies with cross-border employment in the areas of corporate tax, employee tax, and social security.