VisaGuide » Moving to » the Netherlands
Steps you need to take to move to the Netherlands, the documents checklist, the application process, and eligibility criteria

Home of the windmills, tulips and the heart of cheese, the Netherlands offers a variety of colors and fun to whoever seeks to start a new life there. Around 200,000 people move to the Netherlands every year and this comes as no surprise since the Netherlands is known for its hospitality and open-mindedness. 

If you want to start a new journey and want to move to the Netherlands, there are some requirements you must fulfill beforehand. An important factor to consider before starting your application process is your nationality. Depending on where you are from, the application process will differ.

Can I Move to the Netherlands?

Yes, nearly anyone who has a valid reason (e.g. work, studies, etc),  can move to the Netherlands. However, it is much easier for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen: Anyone who is from an EU/EEA country or from Switzerland is allowed to stay in the Netherlands visa-free. To stay for longer than four months, you must register your stay at the local municipal personal records database where you will settle. 

If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen: You need to have a strong reason to want to move to the Netherlands. You will have to acquire a temporary residence permit first, live in the Netherlands for five continuous years, and then you will become eligible for permanent residency. Here’s how Americans can move to the Netherlands.

Check if you need a visa to enter the Netherlands for long-stay or short-stay purposes.

How Can I Move to the Netherlands?

As a non-EU citizen, if you want to move to the Netherlands, the most straightforward method is by finding a job and applying for a work visa. As such, the process of moving to the Netherlands can be described as follows:

  1. Find a Job in the Netherlands.
  2. Apply for a Dutch Work Visa.
  3. Move to the Netherlands.

Find a Job in the Netherlands

Finding a job in the Netherlands as an expat might be hard, but it is still possible. The easiest city to find a job in as an expat is Amsterdam. Amsterdam is booming with international companies and businesses and they are always looking to hire foreigners. As of 2022, the jobs that are currently in demand in the Netherlands are:

  • Electrical Engineering.
  • Medical Health Care.
  • IT and Data.
  • Finance.
  • Hospitality.
  • Communicators.
  • Manufacturers.

If you are part of any of the listed professionals, you can then look up job opportunities in the Netherlands. The easiest way to find a job in the Netherlands is through:

  • The EURES (European Employment Services) website. EURES is a network provided by the European Commission which helps foreigners to move freely inside EU/EEA territory.
  • The UWW (Werkzoekenden) website. The UWW is an employment service that is partnered with numerous employment agencies. 

Apply for a Dutch Work Visa

To apply for a Dutch work visa you must:

  • Make an appointment with the IND (the Immigration and Naturalization Service). All applications for the temporary residence permit must be submitted to the IND. If you are applying for an MVV (a Dutch long-stay visa), you must do so at the embassy.
  • Collect all the required documents. You can find more information on the requirements listed below under “Checklist for Moving to The Netherlands”.
  • Apply for a temporary residence permit. You might be asked to apply for an MVV (long-stay visa) and a work permit as well. 
  • Obtain a work permit. A Dutch employer must apply for the permit on your behalf so you do not have to prove that you are a highly skilled worker.
  • Manage your finances. Before moving to the Netherlands, do some research on the living costs in the Netherlands and be prepared for high prices.

Work visas for foreigners are only issued if there is no Dutch citizen who can fulfill the job requirements.

Move to the Netherlands

If your Dutch visa and residence permit application is approved, you can now enter the Netherlands. Within the first few days of arrival, you will need to register your residence at the Gemeente, which is the town hall in the Dutch municipality where you plan to live.

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You must also register to obtain a health insurance plan. You are advised to obtain health insurance as soon as you arrive, as the Netherlands is known for their high-standard healthcare system with highly-skilled medical professionals. As a non-EU expat, you will not be eligible for government health insurance until you apply for a permanent residence permit. So, you will be asked to have private health insurance beforehand to cover your medical costs.

What Do the Dutch Authorities Define as a Highly Skilled Migrant?

The Dutch Immigration Service classifies a foreign employee as a highly-skilled migrant worker if they fulfill the following conditions:

  • You have a valid work contract with a Dutch employer. The institution or business must be recognized by the IND. 
  • You are able to earn the sufficient financial requirement. 
  • Your wage is competent according to the market conditions.

If you plan to work as a healthcare professional you must register in the BIG (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg), which is the Dutch individual healthcare professions register.

To apply as a highly-skilled migrant, your Dutch employer must submit the application for you. The price for the application process is €345.

Can I Move to the Netherlands Without a Job?

As a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, in most cases, you must have a job offer in order to move to the Netherlands. You can move to the Netherlands without a job offer only in the following instances:

  • You apply for a Dutch student visa. International students must leave the Netherlands after their study course finishes, however, so this is not a solution to long-term relocation.
  • You apply for a Dutch family reunification visa. If you are married to a Dutch citizen or resident, you can move to the Netherlands as part of the family reunification process. In this case, your partner would have to support you financially.
  • You apply for the Dutch startup and self-employment visa. Technically, even as a self-employed person or business owner, you need a “job”, but it is not tied down to any particular employer.
  • You apply for the Dutch working holiday visa. This visa is issued to young people (aged 18-30) from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and South Korea, allowing them to explore the Netherlands and live there for up to one year.
  • You apply for a DAFT visa. The Dutch American Friendship Treaty, is an agreement between the US and the Netherlands that allows American entrepreneurs and investors to obtain a Dutch residence permit.

Checklist for Moving to The Netherlands

To move to the Netherlands, you must have the following:

  • Valid work contract. You are required to find a job before moving to the Netherlands.
  • Stable income. Usually a monthly income of at least €1,200 is required. 
  • Accommodation. Registering your stay is an important step of your immigration process and you must therefore have a rental agreement beforehand.
  • Valid health insurance. Obtain a private health insurance policy to cover your medical costs in the Netherlands. 

If you apply for an MMV (a Dutch long stay visa) as the spouse of a Dutch citizen or a cleric, you must also have a civic integration certification. This certificate shows your Dutch language proficiency level. 

As a non-EU/EEA citizen, you can not move to the Netherlands without proving that you have a valid reason to do so, such as for studies or work.

All documents for a Dutch visa application must either be written or translated into Dutch before submission.

Should I Move to The Netherlands?

Here are some pros and cons of living in the Netherlands:

Pros of Living in the NetherlandsCons of Living in the Netherlands
Beautiful scenery and amazing architecture.Expensive cities and living conditions.
Ability to work part-time.Hard to find a job due to the competition.
Many jobs offer working from the comfort of your own home.High population number.
Low crime rates.High tax payment system.
Highly experienced doctors and nurses.Expensive health care system.
Cycling system and no air pollution.Stores close too early.
Balance of work and life.Work visas are hard to obtain.
Dutch people speak English perfectly.Dutch-speaking communities may make you feel left out.
A month of paid vacation.High credit card interest rates.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Amsterdam?

Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, is one of the most expensive cities to live in Europe. Rent prices vary depending on how far away you are from the city center, but usually, for a single person to live comfortably in Amsterdam, you must make around €2,000 a month. Meals are also fairly expensive with prices reaching amounts up to €30 per meal for one person only. 

Another downside is the fact that Dutch people pay a very high tax. The taxing system in the Netherlands is very rigorous, and you are required to pay taxes consistently. You are advised to plan your finances as moving to Amsterdam is not cheap.

Is it Easy to Move to the Netherlands?

Moving to the Netherlands as a non-EU/EEA citizen is hard. You must first apply for a temporary residence permit which you must then extend for five years. After living in the Netherlands with a temporary residence permit for five years, you are then eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. Moving to any European country can be very challenging, and the Netherlands is no exception.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you can move to the Netherlands without the work and residence permit requirements.

Do I Need to Learn Dutch Before Moving?

The Dutch language requirement is not technically obligatory, as many companies and businesses in the Netherlands offer opportunities for English-speaking expats. However, knowing the Dutch language will not only help you land a job more easily, but also help you communicate with your coworkers, neighbours, read signs, and ask for directions if you ever get lost. 

Can I Move to The Netherlands Permanently?

Yes, you can, but you must first obtain a temporary residence permit. This permit is valid for up to five years. If you have continuously lived in the Netherlands with the temporary residence permit for five years, you are allowed to apply for a Dutch permanent residence permit.

Also read: How to become a Dutch citizen?

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