Innovative entrepreneurs entering the market in the Netherlands may find their immigration solution in a start-up permit.

Citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland do not need a residence permit working as a self-employed person and American entrepreneurs and Japanese entrepreneurs may find a solution in treaty-based permits. For all other nationalities, the start-up permit may be worth considering.


To be eligible for the start-up permit, the product or service that you intend to develop needs to be innovative. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) will assess the innovative value of your product or service. If you work with specific corporate social responsibility, have a creative market approach or an original approach to environmental or sustainability issues, this may increase your chances of obtaining a start-up permit.

Another important requirement is that you should partner with a reliable facilitator. This facilitator will provide you with services such as (access to) coaching, technology, research, business premises and/or finances. Examples of facilitators are accelerators and incubators. The facilitator should have at least two years’ experience in guiding start-ups, should be financially sound and cannot be related to you as a family member. The facilitator may not have a majority share in your company.

You should have sufficient means to support yourself for the duration of your residence in the Netherlands. The current minimum is 1162,13 euro per month for single persons. Someone else, even your facilitator, can also fund your stay.

You will be required to submit a step-by-step plan, detailing which activities you will undertake in the first year, what your role in the start-up will be and which innovative product or service you will develop.

Other requirements are registering at the Chamber of Commerce and taking out health insurance.

Duration residence permit

The start-up residence permit is valid for one year. You cannot renew this permit and should, therefore, apply for another type of permit if you wish to stay in the Netherlands. With a statement from your facilitator, you can bypass the rigid assessment scheme of the standard self-employed permit and only need to meet several less rigid requirements.

The administrative charge for the start-up permit is currently € 311,-.

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