6 steps to apply for a Dutch work visa

If you’re considering working and living  in the Netherlands, there are a few important steps you need to take before you apply for a Dutch work visa. The process might seem complicated, especially as there are quite a few different types of work visas available. But if you’re starting to map out your journey, these are the main steps to keep in mind.

In the Netherlands, there are different work permits for different situations. Look into the choices and pick the one that fits your situation. Some permits are for skilled workers, company transfers, or recent graduates.

Want to know the most common ones? You can see a list in this blog post, and a more detailed overview of all the factors and requirements in our free Newcomer’s Navigator

Before proceeding, check if you’re eligible for a Dutch work permit. Typically, if you’re not an EU/EEA citizen, you must have a valid employment contract, and/or your employer needs to be a recognized sponsor by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). 

For most work visas, you need to have a job at a Dutch company. Make sure the company is registered in the Netherlands (or has an Employment of Record solution in place), and the job adheres to the local rules. Many Dutch companies use LinkedIn and Indeed to post their vacancies. 

The market is definitely crowded, but it’s not impossible to find an English-speaking job in case your Dutch isn’t on par just yet. That’s especially true if you’re in one of the professions with high demand. 

After you get a job and know which permit you need, get your papers ready. These could be your passport, your work contract, school diplomas, and a note from your boss. If you’re applying for a Highly Skilled Migrant visa, the process will normally be handled by the employer – they’ll just ask you to provide a specific set of documents. Keep in mind that a number of documents might need to be translated to English before you can submit these with your visa application.  

Our free guide also gives you a detailed list of required documents, in case you want to start preparing ahead of time. 

Next, apply for the Dutch work permit. Most of the visa applications are submitted online. Especially if your employer is a registered sponsor, they have an existing communication channel with the IND. Make sure to check all the documentation twice before sending to avoid problems. 

If you’re moving with your family, this is the time when they should be added to your application as dependants, so they can join you in the move. 

Processing times differ depending on the visa type and whether your employer is a registered sponsor. If they are, it usually takes about 2 weeks. If not, it can take around 60 to 90 days.

If you need a hand with the application, you can also work with us!

While waiting for your permit, start planning your move to the Netherlands. Consider things like finding a place to live, opening a bank account, and registering at the municipality. 

When it comes to housing, there’s definitely a shortage in the Netherlands at the moment, so if you were planning to live in Amsterdam or another big city – consider finding a rental in a smaller town that’s easy to reach by public transportation instead. You’ll have a much easier time finding a decent place, and it’s also more likely you’ll find one that won’t break the bank. 

When it comes to a bank account – keep in mind that most employers will require that you have a Dutch bank account. If you need one urgently, and can’t wait for the process of a conventional bank, you can always go for an online bank (like N25, Bunq, or Revolut)

The free guide for newcomers also contains a checklist for the main things to do on arrival. 

If you’d rather kick back and enjoy the journey – MoveToNL would be happy to help you find a home and handle the most important admin items. 

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