Can I have the 30% ruling if I start my own business?
If you are working for an employer under the 30 per cent ruling, you can continue to make use of the 30 per cent ruling if you start your own business in The Netherlands.
One of the requirements is that you, as an entrepreneur you are employed by your own private limited liability company (BV), that is, that you are on the payroll of your company. It is important that the company is a legal entity paying taxes in the Netherlands.
The following requirements need to be met if you would like to implement the 30% ruling for your own BV:
- During your current employment the 30% ruling has already been granted in the Netherlands
- Within 3 months after ending your current employment you need to sign a contract with your own BV which was set up before the signing of the contract
- The Dutch BV pays a taxable income of at least € 37,00 (without the 30% ruling) less if you are under 30 years of age or have a masters degree
- A new request for the 30% ruling must be filed with the Dutch tax authorities
In principle the conditions for the 30%-ruling still apply if you start a company yourself.
For more information on the conditions please see:
What are the general residence requirements for entrepreneurs?
To qualify for a two-year residence permit as a self-employed entrepreneur, the business should serve an essential Dutch interest.
That is assessed by the IND upon advice of The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), a part of Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which uses a point-based-system to grade the enterprise in three categories:
- personal experience
- business plan
- added value to The Netherlands
Each of these criteria is allotted points. With 90 points out of a possible 300, the applicant is eligible for a residence permit.
There are exemptions according to your nationality:
Long-term EU resident EC
In a number of EU Member States it is possible to obtain long-term resident EC status, a European type of permanent residence permit.
With that status you do not need to score points under the point-based system when applying for a residence permit for entrepreneurs. You do need to present evidence that your enterprise has a viable chance of success in the Netherlands, by providing:
- a business plan including: market analysis, product/service, pricing, structure of organization, financing
- proof of expected turnover: prognosis made by a registered bookkeeper/accountant over the next 3 years
- the necessary licenses to practice your profession
- copies of degrees/diplomas if applicable
- copy of the long-term resident EC permit issued by another EU Member State
The list of EU states that grant resident EC status can be found here:
Citizens of the US and Japan
They are exempt from the criteria and point system, based on inter-state treaties. They must develop and direct an enterprise in which they have made (not borrowed) an investment of at least 4.500 euros. They also need to have full control of the funds and be subject to the entrepreneurial risk.
Nationals of Turkey
Are exempt from the point system, based on a treaty with the EU. They do, however, need to submit information and evidence required by the prescribed criteria.
In order to avoid initial rejection it is necessary to be well informed and fully understand the set criteria when applying for this type of residence permit.
Further details on how the Dutch government determines whether you are an entrepreneur can be found at:
How to apply for a self-employed residence permit?
If you require an Provisional Residence Permit (MVV visa Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) you must file an application at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country or in a country where you are legally residing.
If you need to apply just for a residence permit, you can wait until you arrive in the Netherlands. You can apply by making an appointment at your regional IND desk. You can also apply prior to your arrival if you want to start work as soon as you arrive
If you are applying for the start-up visa, you do not require an entry visa (MVV) regardless of your nationality, provided all the requirements for residence are met.
For details about applying for a start-up temporary residence see:
The applications are costly, and fees are not refundable if residence is not granted. As the fees are subject to change it is best to check the IND website for current rates.
Can I renew a residence permit for entrepreneurs?
A residence permit for entrepreneurs is valid for two years. Renewal is straightforward, provided you meet the initial conditions, and:
- your business is still active
- you still earn sufficient income
- your personal situation did not change
- you did not apply for unemployment benefits
- you were not charged with any violation of the law
With this residence permit you are exclusively allowed to work for your own enterprise. If you take up any other form of work/employment, you need to apply for a separate work permit (TWV tewerkstellingsvergunning)
In some cases there will be an additional proof requirement:
Director or major shareholder
To be deemed as self-employed when acting as director or a major shareholder of a company, you must additionally prove you have at least 25 percent interest in the company, be liable for risks and be able to influence the level of your income. If this is not the case, your relationship with the company would be considered as an ’employee’ and you would be required to obtain a work permit for employees.
If you are applying to work as a freelancer you must additionally prove that at the time of application you have one or more work assignments in the Netherlands that you, as a freelancer, are going to carry out. For an explanation of what is considered a freelancer visit this question.
If you intend to provide healthcare services you are subject to regulation by the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG) and must be included in the BIG register. With this registration a healthcare provider with a foreign diploma may operate in the Netherlands as a self-employed person.
As a foreigner, am I entitled to start a business in the Netherlands?
Yes, as a foreigner you can start your own business in the Netherlands, or bring your business from abroad. There are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled, the primary being legal residence, and ‘permission’ to work in the Netherlands. This differs to the ‘Start-up Visa‘ through which a resident permit is related to the business brought to the Netherlands.
Legal residence – condition number one
Legal residence is always the basic requirement, which may mean obtaining a residence permit, and often also an entry visa/permit.
The type of enterprise (legal form): whether a one-man business, a Dutch private limited company (BV), or a branch-office of a foreign company, makes no difference when it comes to residence requirements. The rules do not differ either if you start an enterprise shortly after arriving in the Netherlands, or after having been employed in the Netherlands for some time.
The law on residence differs for EU/EEA citizens and those of other countries.
Citizens of EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway (known as the European Economic Area states, EEA) and Swiss citizens do not need a residence permit to enter, stay, live and work in The Netherlands. Passport or ID card are sufficient proof of rightful stay.
Citizens of other countries intending to stay longer than 90 days usually need an entry permit, (MVV), and a residence permit, issued by the Dutch Immigration Authority, IND, (Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst), the authoritative source on residence permits. The information is available on their website:
IND website: ind.nl/en/work/Pages/Self-employed-person.aspx
MVV –provisional residence permit
Non-EU/EEA or Swiss nationals, who want to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months will typically require a Dutch residence permit. Unless exempt, an entry permit (MVV) is also required, as well as an integration exam beforehand.
You do not need and MVV if:
- you (or a close relative) are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland;
- you already hold a valid Dutch residence permit;
- you already hold a ‘long-term residence permit EC’ issued by another European Community (EC) state;
- you already hold a residence permit in another country that is part of the Schengen area;
- you already hold a residence permit/Blue Card for 18 months in another EC state;
- you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America or the Vatican City;
- your child (under 12) was born in the Netherlands and you have lawful residence in the Netherlands.
You apply for a provisional residence permit in person at a Dutch embassy or consulate in any country, as long as you have lawful residence in that country. With just a tourist visa, you do not qualify as a lawful resident.
You can apply for the MVV and residence permit in a single application via the Entry and residence Procedure (TEV).
If you are exempt from the MVV requirement, you or your sponsor can apply for a residence permit while you are still abroad, or you can opt to apply for your residence permit once you are already in the Netherlands.
Within 90 days of your arrival in the Netherlands or any country in the Schengen area you must apply for a residence permit. After 90 days you need to have a residence permit, or you must have applied for a residence permit. If not you will be in the Netherlands illegally.
More information at: ind.nl/en/Pages/temporary-and-non-temporary-purposes-of-stay.aspx