Many innovative companies choose Amsterdam, the capital of cool, for their European headquarters.

Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco

In a short amount of time, the Netherlands has become a hotbed for tech businesses. This tiny country brings together high-skilled techies and a centuries-old drive for innovation.  No wonder companies such as Uber and Netflix decided to have their European headquarters in Amsterdam.

Due to its location, the Netherlands is the gateway to Europe. Innovation, societal challenges, and the best tech universities have created a buzzing startup ecosystem, with Amsterdam as its capital of cool.

Who doesn’t want to be part of this ecosystem? Luckily, the Netherlands makes it easy with a startup visa. If you want to move your startup to the Netherlands or begin a new one, the “scheme for startups” gives ambitious international entrepreneurs the chance to launch their innovative businesses for a one-year period. You just have to qualify.

Find a facilitator

Since 2015, a regulation has allowed ambitious entrepreneurs from non-EU countries to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. This gives you one year to launch an innovative business. A precondition is that your startup must be guided by an experienced mentor (facilitator) based in the Netherlands. See a list of qualified facilitators.


To qualify for a residence permit for startup, you must meet a number of criteria. The innovativeness of your product is one, as is the age of your company. Check all the criteria before you apply, including:

  • Sufficient money to live in the Netherlands
  • An innovative product or service
  • A step-by-step plan to develop your idea into a business
  • Registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KVK)


If you apply for a residence permit for foreign startups, you will need to know where to submit your application and who will review it. Your country of origin also determines what application process you will need to follow.

Be ambitious

Under this program, startups are offered support to develop into a mature enterprise. Read more about how the Dutch government supports ambitious entrepreneurship.

Develop your innovative idea into a business plan within one year. You can now apply for a residence permit for entrepreneurs.

Be successful

Welcome to one of the five most competitive economies in the world. Expand your business, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth in the Netherlands.

After the first year, the residence permit may be extended by applying for self-employment. Startup entrepreneurs must receive a statement from the startup facilitator or they must meet the standard requirements applicable for self-employment. For an overview of these requirements, please consult the IND website.