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Useful links and FAQs

Useful links:


General Questions

Where can I find the application form?

The application form can be downloaded directly from the IND’s website. Candidates may also choose to approach the International Welcome Center North (IWCN) for help – they can assist startups with the completion of their applications forms.

Can I apply for a startup permit if I currently have highly skilled migrant status in the Netherlands?

Yes, provided all other conditions are met.

How long does it take to process an application?

If the application is complete and includes all relevant documents, applicants will be notified of the official decision within 90 days, however, start-up applications will be given top priority at the IND in order to ideally process them sooner (the current estimation is 7 weeks).

Which parties are involved in considering the application?

The involved parties are the IND (the Immigration and Naturalisation Service), which makes the ultimate decision about granting the startup permit; the RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency), which advises the IND on the quality of the business proposal and the question whether a facilitator is qualified and trusted, the chamber of commerce to register in the Trade Register and the International Welcome Center North (IWCN) for supplying the permit and all questions and support needed.

Does it matter which legal form of company the startup will take?

No. However, the company must be registered in the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

Can I register a company from abroad?

No. You must be present in person to register a company.

If an application is denied, can the decision be appealed?

Yes, there is a right of appeal against every decision of the IND.

Our startup company participated in an accelerator programme last year. The company currently consists of two people, and we would like to apply for a startup permit for a third person at the same company. Is this possible?

Yes, that’s possible. A non-EU or non-EEA citizen can apply for a residence permit on grounds of the startup rule, even if the company in question has participated in an accelerator programme in the past. However, this third person must fulfil all requirements for the startup permit, including having an agreement with a trustworthy and qualified facilitator.

How long is the startup permit valid? What possibilities are there for extension?

The startup residence permit will be issued for a period of one year. After one year, the startup entrepreneur may have their residence permit extended on the basis of the Dutch government’s self-employment scheme under the condition that the startup entrepreneur meets the standard requirements applicable to the self-employment scheme (click here for an overview of these requirements) and as of 1 January 2016, the application for the new permit can include a reference letter from the facilitator, increasing the chances to be granted a permit.

Where can I find more information about founding a startup in the Northern Netherlands (Top Dutch Region)?

The IND’s website provides plenty of information about the regulations concerning the startup permit. You can also reach the IND by phone at +31 (0)88 043 0430.

The Dutch Chamber of Commerce provides information about the startup permit and about entrepreneurship and startups in the Netherlands in general on the StartupDelta website.


Who can act as a facilitator?

The facilitator must be trusted and financially sound and may not be related to the startup entrepreneur. Companies can act as facilitators, too, as long as they are registered in the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce have been declared to be trusted and qualified. Accelerator programmes and organisations such as Launchcafe and Inqubator, as well as educational institutions, investors or ‘business angels’ can all assume the role of facilitator.

What does the agreement with the facilitator need to look like?

The agreement must clearly state 1) the nature of the mentoring, 2) the conditions under which the mentoring is offered and 3) what the facilitator’s potential interest in the company is.

Can you recommend ways to find a potential facilitator that meets the requirements?

The RVO’s website has information on the requirements for facilitators, but unfortunately they can’t recommend specific facilitators. Assessing the proposed facilitator is part of the application process.

Does the facilitator have any legal obligations to the candidate?

Yes, the facilitator has obligations as stated in the signed agreement. However, the facilitator does not have any legal position, such as a sponsor would when applying for residency.

Financial requirements and bank accounts

Can I use a non-Dutch bank account in the name of the entrepreneur?

No. The bank account must be with a Dutch bank (or a bank with a branch in the Netherlands). An alternative is for the facilitator to act as a financial backer, this must be proved at the time of application.

If I don’t have a Dutch bank account, or can’t open one because I don’t have residency/a BSN, what are my options?

There are three possibilities for financing the stay in the Netherlands if the candidate cannot open a Dutch bank account: an authorised person can open a postbus rekening – a bank account connected to a P.O. box in the name of the candidate; a bank account can be opened by a notary; or the necessary financial resources can be transferred through the facilitator, if there is an agreement between the candidate and the facilitator stating that the facilitator will guarantee the necessary funds for the applicant

Do we need to provide a personal bank account or can we provide a reference from our business bank account?

You can provide either a personal or a business account. Note that in both cases it is important that the account was opened in the Netherlands and that the candidate is authorised to withdraw money from the account. In other words, the candidate must have a Dutch bank account that he or she is authorised to withdraw money from.

Immigration and naturalization processes

Do I require a Regular Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) in order to legally reside in the Netherlands?

Are you already in the Netherlands with a short stay visa? Or do you hold the nationality of a country for which there is no visa requirement? In that case a new application for an MVV is not required when you meet all other conditions of the startup permit.* Successful recipients of the startup visa who are already present in the Netherlands must still submit an application for the one-year residence permit. You or an authorised representative (such as IN Amsterdam) can submit this application for a residence permit directly to the IND.

Foreign nationals who already have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands but who wish to transfer this to a residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs can also use the application form on the IND’s website.

A list of nationalities exempt from the MVV procedure can be found here.

* Following an amendment on 1 October 2015, start-up entrepreneurs that are already present in the Netherlands no longer need to apply for and collect a provisional residence permit (MVV) at the Dutch Embassy in their original country of residence, before they can collect an approved startup permit in the Netherlands and apply for the subsequent residence permit. Read more about this amendment to simplify procedures.

I am currently residing outside of the Netherlands and my nationality is not exempt from the provisional visa procedure. How do I apply for a Regular Provisional Residence Permit (MVV)?

Startup entrepreneurs residing abroad can still submit their application for an MVV and a residence permit to the Dutch embassy or consulate in their country of residence. Read more about this procedure, including details of required documentation and forms.