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If you wish to practice a profession or set up a business in the Netherlands, you may apply for a residence permit as an entrepreneur. To work in the Netherlands on a self-employed basis you have to be granted permission to set up your business in the Netherlands. Furthermore, your business must serve an essential Dutch interest.

You will need a provisional residence permit (mvv) and/or a residence permit. The provisional residence permit is a special visa for stays of more than three months in the Netherlands.

Other conditions apply to persons with the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and their family members.

Conditions to migrate to the Netherlands as a self-employed worker


Where and how to apply

To travel to the Netherlands, you need a provisional residence permit (mvv). The mvv is a sticker that the Dutch representation places in the passport. In some cases, you do not need an mvv. You apply for the mvv and the residence permit at the same time. You apply to the Dutch representation in your own country or the country of continuous residence. The Dutch representation forwards your application to the IND. After you have submitted the application, you will get a letter from the Dutch representation stating how the fees are to be paid. For the application form and information on how to submit the form and pay the fees, please contact the Dutch representation.

The IND checks to make sure that you meet all the conditions and asks advice from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs).

This application costs € 1348 (in 2019).

Documents required

The application form lists the documents that you have to submit with the application. You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

Duration of validity of permits

The residence permit for stay as an entrepreneur will initially be issued for a maximum period of two years. It is possible to extend your stay.

Further requirements

Upon arrival, you must:


If the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has rejected your application, this will be specified in an official letter (= Decision) from the IND. If you do not agree with the decision, you can register an objection to it, or authorise someone in the Netherlands to do so on your behalf. The official letter explains how to start the procedure for this.

In some cases, the IND is not able to reach a decision in time. The IND may be in default. You can then send a written notice of default to the IND.

If after having registered an objection, the IND has stated your objections to be unfounded, it is possible for you to then appeal against this decision to the Dutch court.

Further information

More on the admission as a self-employed worker in the Netherlands


Extension of stay

If you wish to extend your stay, you must apply for this. The application for an extension of your residence permit can be submitted in writing. The IND will assess whether you meet the requirements for prolonging your stay.

Change of status

Has something changed in your situation that influences your residence permit? Please report this immediately to the IND. It may mean that the residence permit has to be changed.


The back of your residence permit shows if you are allowed to do paid employment. Your permit states 'arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met TWV ('only allowed work in paid employment with work permit') This means that, with a residence permit to work 'on a self-employed basis', you may only work if your employer has a TWV for you.

Have you worked in the Netherlands for 5 years? Then you are free to work in the Netherlands. You do not need a TWV anymore.

Is your residence permit still valid for at least 4 months? You can replace your residence permit for a document with the labour market notification 'arbeid vrij toegestaan' (work freely permitted).

Does your permit expire within 3 months? Apply for an extension. Write on the form that you wish to have the labour market notification 'arbeid vrij toegestaan' on your new residence permit.

Permanent residence

If you have lawfully lived in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of five years and you have a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay, such as work on a self-employed basis, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. Certain conditions will have to be met in order to be eligible for permanent residence.

Family reunification

As the holder of a residence permit for work on a self-employed basis, it is possible to bring your spouse, (registered) partner or minor child(ren) to the Netherlands. Certain conditions will have to be met in order to be allowed to bring your family members.

More on family reunification