Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Knowledge Migrant Programme process. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

  • Knowledge Migrant Programme (KMP)
  • Knowledge Migrant Programme Expat Centre: Only in locations where Expat Centres exist; otherwise, the standard KMP application process should be followed.
  • European Union (EU) Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Permit: EU ICT Directive 2014/66
  • Work Permit: For intra-company transfers
  • Standard process: For host companies that are not registered sponsors in the Netherlands

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the Knowledge Migrant Programme (Expat Centre) process. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in the Netherlands is seven (7) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In the Netherlands, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor intensive; newly issued birth certificates and marriage certificates in English, Dutch, German, or French must be obtained and legalized. See the “Application Materials” section below for further details. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Pre-Application: Corporate Registration with the Knowledge Migrant Programme
Processing Time: Six (6) weeks but can take up to three (3) months

If the Dutch entity is not yet registered for the Knowledge Migrant Programme, we can complete this registration on their behalf if we are initiated to do so. Extensive documentation is required for companies that have not been registered /active for more than eighteen (18) months, which may produce delays to overall case processing times.

Step One: Machtiging Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV) Approval and Knowledge Migrant Residence Permit Application
Processing Time: Two (2) to four (4) weeks

The combined application for MVV approval and Knowledge Migrant Residence Permit (called TEV application) is submitted on the applicant’s behalf to the Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst (IND). The IND will notify our local partner when the MVV is approved and the assignee can apply for their Dutch Entry visa.

Step Two: MVV Visa Application at Dutch consulate in home country (some nationals can bypass this process)
Processing Time: Two (2) working days to two (2) weeks

Applicant will need to submit an MVV visa application at the Dutch Embassy/Consulate in the home country/country of residence once the MVV is approved (Step One) and approval received by Consulate. At this time, visa nationals traveling under the highly skilled migrant or scientific researcher categories will have their employment status indicated with their MMV stamp, enabling them to commence work immediately upon arrival in the country.

Step Three: Knowledge Migrant Residence Permit collection and Town Hall registration at Expat Centre
Processing Time: Same day

During a pre-scheduled appointment, individuals who did not receive an MVV stamp that indicates their employment status in Step Two will need to go to the IND to have their biometric data collected and to receive a VA-sticker. This sticker will allow the applicant to start working, but they will need to return later to collect the residence card. In addition, a mandatory post-arrival registration will need to be completed.

However, visa nationals who have received their employment status with their MVV stamp will only need to collect their final residence card. These individuals can start working once in the country as per the employment status mentioned in their MVV entry visa. Nevertheless, they will still require completing their registration upon arrival.

At some Expat Centres, the company address can be used for initial Town Hall registration. Collection fees may apply.

Note that visa nationals may be required to take a tuberculosis (TB) test at a local health Centre (GGD). Test results are obtained that same day and, in general, forwarded automatically to the IND by the GGD.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the Knowledge Migrant Programme process described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Knowledge Migrant Programme Residence Permit: In line with length of assignment, up to five (5) years. Please note that it is a combined document for residence permit and work permit
  • EU ICT permit: Dutch permit will be issued on the basis of the duration of the Assignment/Transfer letter, up to three (3) years in all Member States in total. The permit will be a combined permit for work and residence authorization. Recognized and non-recognized sponsors can apply for this type of permit. Processing time for recognized sponsors are around three (3) to four (4) weeks from the date of filing and around seven (7) weeks in case of non-recognized sponsors.
  • Town Hall Registration: Valid until change of address. Please note that it is compulsory to update the home address at the new Town Hall immediately upon arrival in a new city. If the IND determines that an individual’s home address is not updated, the residence permit authorization may be cancelled.
  • Work permit for short term assignment: In line with length of assignment, up to three (3) months
  • Standard process: A standard work permit will be granted for one (1) year. The ICT work permit is an exemption to this general rule. ICT work permits will be issued for the length of the assignment with a maximum of three (3) years.

Renewal

  • Renewal is possible for applicants and dependents travelling under the Knowledge Migrant Programme.
  • Work permits under the ICT Scheme can be issued to key personnel, specialist and trainees and will be issued for a maximum of three (3) years. The work permits for trainees and specialist cannot be renewed beyond these three (3) years. Key personnel can apply for a new work permit after three (3) years.
  • A possibility to extend EU ICT permit is currently being discussed.
  • The IND has ninety (90) days to approve renewal applications. The new residence card will in general be ready within two (2) weeks after the date of the approval; please allow two (2) to four (4) weeks’ lead time for document gathering.
  • Renewal applications need to be submitted prior to the existing expiry date.

Permanent Residence may be applied for after five (5) years. We can assist with all of these processes.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave the Netherlands after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep tabs on the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of the Netherlands requires all assignees to complete the following deregistration process upon departing the country.

  1. Deregistration notification IND: The Company sponsoring the permit of the main applicant must deregister the permit within four (4) weeks [twenty–eight (28) calendar days] from the employee’s last working day in the Netherlands. The permits from the family members also need to be deregistered within the mentioned time frame. Strictly speaking, this is the obligation of the employee. Please note that IND notification forms must be used for deregistration.
  2. Return the original Dutch residence permit card: All the residence permit cards issued by the Dutch authorities are the property of the Dutch State. As such, all cards must be returned in a timely manner. Returned cards are destroyed by the government to prevent unauthorized use. Please note that there is no specific period in which the cards have to be returned but we deem it advisable to do so as soon as possible.
  3. Deregistration from the municipality: This procedure differs per municipality. It is required for anyone that is moving abroad and should be done within five (5) days of the date of departure.

If the IND is not informed about the departure of the applicant within the allotted time, or if there is something unusual about the deregistration process, the company may be fined by the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND). Applicants who fail to return their cards and seek to return to an assignment in the Netherlands may also experience significant difficulties in receiving a new card, as they will be required to return their original card and explain why the original card was not returned in a timely manner before they are permitted to receive a new card.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in the Netherlands under the Knowledge Migrant Programme, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Eighteen (18) in the event that the couple got married before the principle applicant came to the Netherlands. Twenty-one (21) in the event that the couple got married after the principal applicant came to the Netherlands.
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18)
  • Unmarried partners: Yes, with conditions
  • Same sex partners: Yes, with conditions
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Yes, with conditions
  • Work authorization granted? Yes

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the Knowledge Migrant Programme are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Such documents include apostilled or legalized birth and marriage certificates, statement of employment from sending company or employment contract from Dutch company.
  • All documentation must be submitted in English, Dutch, German or French and may require legalization. We can assist with translation and legalization requirements.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Schengen type C
  • Duration of stay: Thirteen (13) weeks within fifty-two (52) weeks is permitted for the purpose of attending business meetings.
  • General activities permitted: “business only”, generally defined as attending business meetings and seminars. This visa does not allow the applicant to work in the host country. If you are unsure whether your assignment may be considered business or not, please contact your representative.

Change of Status

It is possible for some nationalities to convert from visitor to employment status without leaving the Netherlands. However, if following the MVV process, no entry should be made to the Netherlands while the MVV application is still under approval.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Netherlands, there are minimum salary requirements in place. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see an undergraduate degree. In some situations, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Absence of degree.
  • Minimum salary requirements apply.
  • Birth certificates and marriage certificates issued within the last six (6) months, and with legalizations, will be required for Step Three for principal and at Step One for dependents.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of the Netherlands takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, and deportation.

Employee Penalties:

Applicants who fail to return their residence permit cards and seek to return to an assignment in the Netherlands may experience significant difficulties in receiving a new card, as they will be required to return their original card and explain why the original card was not returned in a timely manner before they are permitted to receive a new card.

Employer Penalties:

Employers may be fines by the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) if their assignees fail to return their residence permit cards within a month of leaving the country.

For more details, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

  • European Union: The Netherlands is part of the European Union (EU). EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss nationals may live and work in the Netherlands without the need to apply for work permits, although note that registration is still required for stays of longer than 90 days. Nationals of Croatia will still require work permits for the first twelve (12) months of their stay in the Netherlands, after which time a residence permit with the right to work, valid for five (5) years may be sought.
  • Schengen: The Netherlands is a member of the Schengen agreement. Short term (type C) visas and residence permits for the Netherlands will allow travel in the rest of the Schengen zone.