Prerequsites for starting a business
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:
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.
More information about the MVV is available on https://ind.nl/en/pages/mvv.aspx