Immigration to the Netherlands

Introducing the Kingdom of the Netherlands which can be described as the most densely populated country in the whole European Union (EU) despite being a rather small country. It is located between Belgium and Germany in Western Europe. It has a population of 17 283 008 as recorded in 2018. The total GDP is 1,019 trillion USD.

The Official language of the Netherlands is Dutch. The largest city is Amsterdam. The official currency of the country is Euro (EUR). The Netherlands is a founding member of the Eurozone, EU, G10, OECD, NATO and WTO, as well as a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and Schengen Area. The country governs a few intergovernmental organizations, international courts, which altogether provides numerous benefits for its residents.

The Netherlands currently offers a legal residency program, allowing a direct path to citizenship or residence permit with no residency requirements for individuals and their families, provided the applicants are capable to make a financial contribution to the country’s government. If entering the country for a short stay, a certain type of visa will be required for the third-country nationals.

Immigration services

The Immigration and Citizenship Office is responsible for immigration services in the Netherlands, which are provided through at their local municipality (gemeente) and at the Dutch embassy or consulate. There are several different legal documents in the Netherlands, granting its holder temporary or permanent rights of immigration: short stay visa, temporary residence permit, provisional residence permit, EU Blue Card. There are many different reasons for seeking residence in the Netherlands. Therefore, it is essential to choose the purpose that best fits your situation as this influences which permit application you select and submit. There are also certain benefits while having criteria for its acquisition. However, citizens of EU / EEA countries, as well as Switzerland do not need a residence permit to work and live in the Netherlands. Although, expats from the before mentioned countries are not required to register with the IND.

Immigration service providers

Here are three email address of companies which offer immigration services in the Netherlands:

  • E-mail:
  • E-mail:
  • E-mail:

Lawful immigration

In order to visit the Netherlands legally, a residence permit and short stay visa are required if one is staying in the Netherlands for more than 90 days. Moreover, if one’s country of citizenship has a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands, then no visa is required. Even more, a visa-requiring foreigner needs to be in possession of a valid Schengen visa issued by either the Netherlands or another Schengen member state. Netherland’s legal regulations on the immigration of non-EU citizens entering the country set out the requirements for an individual to have such a visa issued by the state of the Netherlands, as well as defining 'visa free' countries, citizens of which do not require a visa for short term visits.

If you need to apply for such visa, the following country’s public government institutions are responsible for immigration to the Netherlands and issuing visas to the third country nationals:

  • the MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf),
  • the IND (Imigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst),
  • the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice.

Government immigration office site for the Netherlands.

Immigration statistics

According to statistics, the majority of non-European immigrants come from Suriname, Turkey, Morocco. Most immigrants live in the West of the country and around 12.5% of all inhabitants live in one of the four major cities such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam as well as the Hague and Utrecht. Therefore, in cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, almost one in three people are of non-European origin.

The top 10 biggest groups of immigrants in the Netherlands is:

# Country Population
1 Indonesia 389 094
2 Germany 381 186
3 Turkey 368 006
4 Suriname 333 504
5 Morocco 329 493
6 Dutch Antilles and Aruba 129 965
7 Belgium 112 224
8 Former Yugoslavia 76 465
9 UK 75 686
10 Poland 51 339

Largest cities by population

The biggest city by population in the Netherlands is Amsterdam with population of more than 7 million. Amsterdam is located in the North Holland province in the western area of the country. In 2016, it had an estimated population of 813 562. The top 5 biggest cities of the Netherlands by population are:

# City Population
1 Amsterdam 851 573
2 Rotterdam 635 389
3 The Hague 514 861
4 Utrecht 334 176
5 Delft 101 030

Migration in and out of Schengen area

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a Western-European country, which is a member state of the European Union and Schengen area. Member states of the Schengen Agreement have abolished passport control as well as any immigration restricting procedures at their internal borders, therefore, one may move freely within the territory of the EU. Passport controls and immigration checks still remain at the external borders. Member states also do recognize Schengen visas issued by other Schengen states. On the external border or upon first entry to the Schengen area member state, normal immigration control procedures still apply, however, admission to any Schengen country is generally recognized as an admission to the entire Schengen, without any further passport and visa control.

So far the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted 186 thousand immigrants back in the year 2018 alone, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.5 thousand. Net migration has also increased by around 3 thousand in comparison with the year 2017.

Visa types in the Netherlands

Third-country national entering the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a short-stay (up to 90 days) is required to apply for a Schengen short stay visa (C-type visa). Depending on the circumstances and purpose of a visit to the Netherlands, one is obliged to apply for one of the following types of visas:

Airport Transit Visa For those who need to transit through one of the country’s airports, to reach their travel destination country, outside the Schengen Area.
Orange Carpet Visa For those wishing to visit the Netherlands for holidays or sightseeing.
Long-stay Visa also called an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV).
Short-stay Visa For a maximum of 90 days, valid in the other Schengen countries.
Caribbean Visa Allows visiting Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.

Citizens of non-EU countries wishing to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months must apply for a residence permit.

Residence permit

In order to stay in the Netherlands in excess of 90 days, you need to obtain a residence permit. The country’s immigration policy is quite strict. All Dutch residence permit applications are processed by the IND, therefore, the applications lodged in the Netherlands can be directly submitted with the IND, however, the applications from abroad can either be submitted at the Dutch embassy or consulate in one’s own country of residence, or at the IND by one’s sponsor who is already in the Netherlands.

In order to support one’s residence permit application he or she might need to gather documents - birth certificate and others, depending on which application form one is submitting. However, the official foreign documents need to be legalized and apostilled with the stamp. Also, the documents must be in English, Dutch, German or French. Other languages will need to be translated by a sworn translator in the Netherlands. Also, third country national may apply for an Orange Carpet Visa or Caribbean Visa, if the following criteria are met:

  • have completed a course of study at a university or any other educational institution with a minimum duration of 3 years,
  • have received a binding job offer for at least one year in the Netherlands and the employment corresponds to your education,
  • will earn a gross annual income of at least one and a half times the average gross annual income of full-time employees,

If staying for a shorter period of time (up to 3 months), third-country nationals need to apply for a visa.

Currently, the Netherlands offer a Golden Investor Visa investment program, allowing to apply for a residence permit, by investing €1.25 million which must be invested in a Dutch company.

In case you have questions or you need a free consultation regarding immigration opportunities to the Netherlands, feel free to contact us:

Immigration documents

To read more about the various immigration, residency and citizenship documents in the Netherlands, please refer to the immigration documents section.