Phase 1: Before you come to the Netherlands

Residence permits, work permits and what you can prepare in your home country

What should you take care of before you come to Netherlands? Here you will find information about residence permits, work permits and the steps you can take in your home country.

The information on this page is for people who do not come from an EU country, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. At the bottom of the Emigrating to the Netherlands page, you will read what these people should do.

Residence permits

First, determine whether a residence permit is required in your situation. You need a residence permit if you:


  • want to live in the Netherlands for more than 3 months,
  • do not come from an EU country, Iceland, Croatia, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and
  • come from a country that has a visa requirement for the Netherlands.


Do the conditions above apply to you? You need a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV) and a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). You can request the MVV and the residence permit at the same time via the access and residence procedure (toegangs- en verblijfsprocedure, TEV). You request the TEV in your home country, at the Dutch Embassy or the Dutch Consulate. On the website of the Dutch government, you will find a list of cities by country where you can request a TEV.


Read more about residence permits on the Dutch government website >


Work permits (Werkvergunningen)

Do you want to come to Netherlands to work, and have you already found a job? Then you need a work permit in addition to a residence permit. Your employer in the Netherlands requests the work permit for you. Only when you have received your residence permit and work permit can you travel to the Netherlands.


There are different work permits: 

  • Combined residence and work permit (Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA): in most cases, you need a GVVA, for example, if you are employed in the Netherlands. The GVVA is a residence permit and a work permit in one. You can apply for the GVVA yourself at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND), but your employer can also do that for you.
  • Employment permit (Tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV): your employer asks for a TWV if you do seasonal work or work for which you can not apply for a GVVA.
  • Residence permit for self-employment: If you want to work as an independent entrepreneur in the Netherlands, you request a residence permit and must also meet a number of conditions relating to your work. You must also register with the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK).


Read more about work permits on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) website >


Learning Dutch and meeting the integration requirement before you come to the Netherlands

In some situations, you must start learning Dutch before you arrive in the Netherlands, and you have to take an integration exam in your home country:


  • if you are coming to the Netherlands to live with your partner or family
  • if you are a spiritual minister


This exam is called the basic integration exam abroad (basisexamen inburgering in het buitenland) and is about Dutch language and society. Only when you have passed the exam can you get a temporary residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV). You must have basic knowledge of the Dutch language and society before relocating here. This allows you to integrate faster.


Read more about the basic integration exam abroad >

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Ready to depart? Or have you just arrived in the Netherlands? See what you need to do if you are in the Netherlands on the Phase 2 page: Shortly after arriving in the Netherlands.

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