Emigrating to the Netherlands
What do you have to do?
If you want to come live in the Netherlands, you must make some preparations. That begins even before you come here, in your own country. For example, you must apply for a residence permit and, depending on your situation, you must start learning Dutch while in your home country. Even once you are in the Netherlands, there are a number of important matters that you must handle. In this dossier, we list the most important information for people who want to emigrate to the Netherlands.
What you need to arrange depends on the country you came from and the reason that you emigrated
Not everyone who comes to Netherlands has the same goal. Some people live with their partner, others come here to study or for a brief or extended period, and there are people who have fled their own country and are seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
What you need to do depends on where you come from and the reason you want to emigrate. The questions and answers below only apply to people who are not from an EU country or from Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland (see box at the bottom of this page).
Are you coming to the Netherlands to live with your partner or family?
You need a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) if you want to come live with family in the Netherlands. Not everyone receives a residence permit; this depends on your situation and the family member with whom you plan to live. Your family member in the Netherlands can apply for a residence permit for you. You also need to take an exam before you come to the Netherlands: the basic integration exam abroad.
Are you coming to the Netherlands to study?
You need a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) if you want to study in the Netherlands. If you want to do an internship or you want to gain work experience in the Netherlands, you need a Combined permit for residence and work (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA).
Are you coming to the Netherlands to work?
You need a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) and usually a work permit (werkvergunning) if you want to work in Netherlands. Which permits you need depends on the kind of work you are going to do (for example, paid employment or as an independent entrepreneur).
Are you coming to the Netherlands because you fled from your own country and you are seeking asylum?
If you submit an asylum application (asielaanvraag) in the Netherlands, this is also the application for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). There are strict conditions that you must meet to receive asylum in the Netherlands. In addition, there are rules for refugees in the field of work and integration. For example, refugees with a (temporary) residence permit are required to integrate and learn Dutch. They may only work if they have a work permit (werkvergunning).
Residents of EU countries, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland: what should they do?
For people from an EU country, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, other rules apply when they move to the Netherlands:
- They do not need either a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) or a work permit (werkvergunning). People with a nationality from other countries do, though.
- They have no integration requirement. People with a nationality from other countries usually have an integration requirement. Nevertheless, it is important that you learn Dutch quickly. You will then have more opportunities for work and you can talk to the municipality, the general practitioner and with your children’s school.
It can be difficult to find out what things you need to arrange for your relocation to the Netherlands. We therefore divide the process of a move into three phases, and we tell you for each phase what you need to think about.