Complete guide to moving to the Netherlands as an American

If you currently live in the US and wish to start a new life in the Netherlands, there are some things you must know beforehand.

In 2020, around 20,000 US citizens immigrated to the Netherlands. This comes as no surprise as the Netherlands is known for offering acceptance and tolerance toward different cultures.

Is It Hard to Move to The Netherlands as an American?

Moving to the Netherlands is hard for foreigners as they must undergo a specific process of obtaining residency or citizenship. However, American expats who wish to move to the Netherlands can obtain a residence permit with an extra opportunity known as the DAFT visa. The DAFT visa is a type of permit that allows entrepreneurs and businessmen to obtain a residence permit provided they invest around $4,800 in the Dutch economy.

The DAFT visa enables you to apply for permanent residency which then makes you eligible for Dutch citizenship. 

How to Move to the Netherlands From the US?

To move to the Netherlands, in most cases you must have a job and then apply for a temporary residence permit. Since US citizens do not need an MVV (Dutch long-stay visa) to enter the Netherlands, you may also submit your residence permit application directly to the IND. The process of moving to the Netherlands from the US is as follows:

  1. Find a job in the Netherlands. Currently, jobs like engineering, data analysis as well as finance have a priority when it comes to issuing work permits.
  2. Obtain a work permit. The permit can only be issued by a Dutch employer and only if you are considered a skilled immigrant worker.
  3. Collect the requirements for your residence permit application. All requirements for the residence permit are listed below under “What Documents Do I Need to Move to the Netherlands?”.
  4. Obtain a Dutch temporary residence permit. A residence permit is usually issued for either work, studies, or family reunification purposes. Its validity is a maximum of five years, and it can be renewed. 
  5. Register at the Dutch Municipality. After you obtain the permits, you must register as a resident in order to obtain a BSN number. The BSN number allows you to work and open a bank account in the Netherlands.

Another way to move to the Netherlands from the US is through the Dutch American Friendship Treaty.

Dutch American Friendship Treaty

The Dutch American Friendship Treaty is another way for US citizens to be issued a residence permit in the Netherlands. It is also known as a DAFT visa and it is issued if the US citizen invests at least $4,800 in the Dutch economy. This permit then makes its holder eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit after residing in Dutch territory for five years. The DAFT visa is usually issued to entrepreneurs as well as businessmen who want to move to the Netherlands and pursue a career.

What Documents Do I Need to Move to the Netherlands?

When you move to the Netherlands, you will be asked to submit documents such as:

  • Valid US passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your trip.
  • Residence permit application form. You can find the form either at the IND office or online on the IND website.
  • Clean criminal record. You can obtain the criminal certificate from your local police station or office.
  • Sufficient means of sustenance. You must prove you have an income of at least $1,300 a month.
  • Birth certificate. The certificate must state personal information such as your and your parents’ names, as well as the day and place of your birth. 
  • Appendix Antecedents Certificate. The form can be found on the IND website.

Depending on why you would like to move to the Netherlands you must submit additional documents such as:

  • Work contract, if you would like to work in the Netherlands.
  • Marriage certificate, if you want to live with your Dutch partner.
  • Letter of acceptance from a Dutch university, if you are pursuing higher education in the Netherlands.

All documents that are required for the permit application, must be legalized with the Apostille Stamp before submission.

How to Apply for a Residence Permit in the Netherlands?

To obtain a temporary residence permit as an American citizen you must make an appointment with the IND – Immigration and Naturalization Service. US citizens do not need an MVV (Dutch long-stay visa) beforehand and can submit the application directly to the IND after they enter the Netherlands.

After you submit the application, the IND will issue a request for the permit payment. You can pay for the permit by cash or with a debit card, however, a credit card payment is not possible.

The price for a temporary residence permit is around $154 and if your application is rejected, the fee is not refundable.

You must wait around 90 days to get an answer from the IND. If by any chance your application gets rejected (for reasons such as missing documents or information), your application email will state your eligibility for a review.

Should I Move to the Netherlands? 

You should definitely move to the Netherlands if you want to pursue a high-quality lifestyle. The Netherlands is known for its beautiful infrastructure and architecture, low level of crime rates, healthy lifestyle as well as a perfect balance between life and work. Not only that but the Netherlands is also known for its high-quality education, ranking it amongst the most critically acclaimed in Europe no matter the study level. Besides the high taxing system, the Netherlands is one of the best places to live in and it will most certainly fulfill all your needs and wishes.

Here are some comparisons between life in the US vs in the Netherlands:

Life in the USLife in the Netherlands
Second job requirement for a more stable lifestyle.Comfortable living without a second job requirement.
More variety in the weather.Cloudy and gloomy weather almost all year long.
Living in the US is cheaper than in the Netherlands.Living in the Netherlands is %27.4 more expensive than the US.
You only get one to two weeks of vacation days.You get up to one month of paid vacation days.
Not everyone can afford healthcare in the US.Everyone has access to healthcare whether you have a high or low income.
You only get a specific amount of sick days.No limitation on sick days.
Most Americans suffer from obesity.Dutch people are considered healthier.
High crime rate.Low crime rate.
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