Guidelines for Netherlands Visa

How to apply for Netherlands visa? - Everything you need to know!

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Visa to the Netherlands

The Netherlands, informally called also Holland, is a country located in Western Europe and having overseas territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands consists of 12 provinces and borders Belgium, Germany, and the North Sea. This country is a founding member of the European Union and the part of the Schengen Area. 

Netherland is called 'the world's legal capital' because it hosts many intergovernmental organizations such as the States-General, Cabinet, and Supreme Court in The Hague.

The country's official language is Dutch, the second one is West Frisian (in the province of Friesland) and in the Caribbean Netherlands - English and Papiamentu.

The Netherlands has a common visa policy with all countries forming the Schengen Area but its 3 special municipalities (the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba) have their own visa policy.

A tourist holding a Netherlands visa can cross the Dutch border via air, land, or sea and continue traveling to other Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes

This is possible to get a:

  • single-entry visa
  • double-entry visa
  • multiple-entry visa

depending on the purpose of the stay and the expected frequency of trips during a 180-day period. Remember that if you leave the Schengen Zone with your one-entry visa, you will not be authorized to come back with the same visa. In such a case you need to wait for your visa to expire and apply for a new one.

Schengen zone countries

The Schengen Area also called the Schengen Zone is the largest passport-free travel area in the world. The name “Schengen” comes from the Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, the city in Luxembourg in 1985. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone and the idea of the Schengen Zone is that citizens of member countries can travel, work and reside without any limitations in any Schengen Zone member-state.

The Schengen Zone is formed by 26 countries that are:

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Additionally, 3 micro-states (Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City) and overseas territories of Spain and Portugal (the Canary Islands, Azores, and Madeira island) keep their borders with Schengen Zone countries open so you can visit them if you hold a Netherlands visa.

Netherlands tourist visa in a nutshell

A Netherlands tourist visa is a short-stay Schengen visa that allows its holder to enter the Netherlands, travel to any member country of the Schengen Area, and leave the Area from any other Schengen country.

A national short-stay Schengen visa (here: the Dutch one) is not a student, work, or permanent residence visa. If you want to get a paid job or take studies in the Netherlands you must apply for a Netherlands long-stay visa.

With your tourist visa, You can come to Holland and travel to 25 other Schengen Zone countries only for:

  • Tourism, sightseeing, holidays
  • Meetings with your family, life partner, or friends
  • Participating in business meetings, conferences, fairs, etc.)
  • Medical reasons (surgery, health treatment, etc.)
  • Official visit
  • Take part in a sport or a cultural event
  • Airport transit/seafarers transit
  • Research, training or short-term study

IF you violate the rules of the short-stay visa (for example you overstay or go to work) you can be deported and not let in any Schengen Zone country in the future.

To the Netherlands without a visa

Many countries are granted the visa-free regime with the Schengen Zone. If you hold the passport of one of the following states, you can come to Holland and all Schengen Zone without a visa:

Albania

Andorra

Antigua And Barbuda

Argentina

Australia

Bahamas

Barbados

Bosnia And Herzegovina

Brazil

Brunei Darussalam

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Dominica

El Salvador

North Macedonia

Georgia

Grenada

Guatemala

Vatican City State

Honduras

Israel

Japan

Kiribati

Malaysia

Marshall Islands

Mauritius

Mexico

Micronesia

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Palau

Panama

Paraguay

Peru

Samoa

San Marino

Seychelles

Serbia

Singapore

Solomon Islands

South Korea

St Kitts And Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent And The Grenadines

Trinidad And Tobago

Tuvalu

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United States Of America

Uruguay

Vanuatu

Venezuela

United Kingdom

Of course, the citizens of 26 Schengen Zone member countries can travel freely between states. Moreover, if you hold:

  • residence permit or one of the Schengen Zone country
  • long-stay visa of a one of the Schengen Area country
  • EU family member’s residence or EU long-term residence permit
  • passport of a “British National Overseas”, “British Overseas Territories Citizen”, “British Protected Person”, “British Subject”
  • special residence card as a diplomatic or consular staff

you can travel visa-free to the Netherlands. 

The condition in both cases is to have a biometric passport issued within the last 10 years.

If your homeland is not on the list and you don’t have any of the specified documents, you must apply for a Netherlands visa before going there. 

Dutch visa application

If you want to know where, when, and how to apply for your Netherlands visa, read the paragraph below and all of the Netherlands visa requirements.

Where can you apply for a Dutch visa?

You can apply for a Dutch visa in every Netherlands diplomatic mission all over the world but honorary consulates. As the visa appointment is obligatory, you need to go in-person to the embassy or consulate-general but before doing it you can download visa application forms from the Netherlands governmental websites. Once you do, print them and complete them. Once you have your application form filled in, gather additional documents.

When can you apply for a Dutch visa?

You can submit your application at the earliest 6 months before the date of your planned departure to the Netherlands and a minimum of 4 weeks before the intended date of travel.

How can you apply for a Dutch visa?

When you fill in the form, prepare the following documents:

  • your passport (it must be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the end of your planned stay in Holland. At least two blank pages of the passport must be blank)
  • 2 printed color photos (35 mm x 45 mm taken within the last 6 months, visa photo must meet requirements about the size, crop, background, head position, etc.)
  • copies of all older visas if you have any
  • certificate of the travel medical insurance valid in all European Union covering a minimum of €30,000 of medical costs
  • complete Itinerary of your trip
  • copies of flight tickets to the Netherlands and from NL or any Schengen Zone country
  • proof of means of subsistence (that could be an employment contract, bank statement, income from a rented property, retirement benefit plan, a letter of declaration from a sponsor who must be a Dutch citizen or resident, any other documents proving that you have the means to support yourself while stating in NL, a copy of your business license if you are self-employed, Income Tax Return)
  • addresses of accommodation in Holland - hotel bookings or address of the person who invites you
  • proof of payment of the NL visa fee 

Sometimes an embassy or consulate officer contacts the applicant and asks about some additional documentary such as a certificate of the criminal record of the home country, certificate of marriage, or birth certificate if you have children. This is rare but can happen so prepare also these documents.

What to expect from a NL visa appointment?

A Netherlands visa appointment is necessary to know your travel plans and motivation to go to Holland. During this meeting, you might be interviewed about how many days you plan to be in the Netherlands and in the Schengen Zone. They may ask you which countries you are going to visit, so prepare your travel plan - the country where you're going to exit Europe is key here.

Usually, it is possible to schedule the appointment online but not always. Check it in the chosen Netherlands diplomatic mission near you. You will not be accepted for the interview if you don’t book it in advance. Don’t be late, as in such a case your meeting might be canceled.

A consular officer will ask questions - answer honestly and fully, be prepared for the questions about your marital status, a number of children, and current job. You will be probably asked if you have sufficient funds for the entire stay in Europe or if you have somebody you know there. If yes, prepare their name(s) and contact details.

The appointment usually takes 10-15 minutes, then the consular officer has 20 working days to make the final decision about granting you a Netherlands visa.

If you apply for a long-term visa, it may take up to 2 months.

Entrance to the Netherlands with a visa

When you arrive at a Dutch port-of-entry from the country outside of the Schengen Zone, you will be subject to immigration control. You will need to show your passport and visa. The immigration officer may ask you about the purpose and period of your visit to Holland, the address of the hotel or the place where you are going to stay, and the contact details of your host or sponsor.

Remember that a Netherland visa does not guarantee you entrance. This is pre-entry permission and this is the immigration officer who decides if you are permitted to enter. If yes, the immigration officer gives you a stamp on your passport. This stamp is proof that you crossed the border legally and will be important during the departure procedures, so make sure you have it.

Extension of a Netherlands short-stay visa

Keep in mind that your stay in the Schengen Zone must not exceed 90 days in total during the 180-day period. In some cases, you can be granted a visa extension but it will be limited to the Netherlands.

In order to extend your short-stay NL visa, you need to contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands.

You must explain why you are unable to return to your own country before your visa expires. There must be no indications that you have wanted to stay illegally in the Netherlands. You will be obliged to show documents to demonstrate why it is impossible to leave the Netherlands. It might be a war or natural disaster in your country, unexpected family purposes such as a wedding or serious illness of you or your relative and some other. Moreover, you must have enough money for your stay in the Netherlands (at least € 34 a day) or have a guarantor (a person in the Netherlands who will sponsor you).

Additionally, you must:

  • have valid travel and health insurance for EU
  • hold a passport valid for at least another 6 months and it must not be more than 10 years old
  • pay a fee to extend a Netherland visa

NL visa for children and babies

If you intend to go to the Netherlands with your under-age children, you must apply for a visa for them too. The NL short-stay visa requirements for minors are a bit extended. You need to submit also:

  • their birth certificate 
  • an application visa form signed by both parents (In cases where only one parent has full custody over the child, a family court order is needed)
  • certified copies of ID/passport of both parents.
  • a notarized parental authorization to travel to Spain, signed by both parents or guardians if the minor will be traveling alone.

The rest of the documents such as the NL visa photo meeting requirements, etc. remain the same as for the child’s parents/guardians.

Netherlands - a country to discover!

What do you think if somebody says “the country of windmills, tulips, and canals”? Of course, Netherlands! But Holland (the informal name for the Netherlands) has so much more to offer!

Amsterdam is one of the most vibrant and interesting capital cities in Europe. This city has the best shops, department stores and shopping centres for fashion, art, and design. Of course, it is famous also for its picturesque canals, water taxis, and world-class museums such as the Rembrandt House Museum, located in the city's historic Jewish Quarter, or the spectacular Rijksmuseum also known as the National Museum.

The best way to discover Amsterdam and the Netherlands is cycling. This is not only a way of transportation or just a sport, but this is also a Dutch-style of living! Approximately 38,000 kilometers of bicycle paths are waiting for you!

If you like nature and you are looking for the background for absolutely breathtaking pictures, you cannot miss Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe. This largest public garden in the world (more than 70 acres) is a riot of color with flowers of every hue. You can find more than 700 varieties of tulips there!

Have you ever heard about Kinderdijk? This means ‘Children’s Dike’ in Dutch. But it attracts not only children. There are 19 beautiful windmills here that date from 1722-1761 recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Are you a gourmet and love cheese? So, of course, you know that the Netherlands is the world capital of… Edam. This cheese is famous the world over for its red-hued rind and signature round shape. But Edam is not just the name of the cheese but also the place it comes from which is the pretty town of Edam. Visit it and taste the best cheeses on the large cheese market and a famous cheese-weighing hall.

But Holland is not only a homeland for tulips, cheese, and windmills. Did you know that this country is known also for its splendid beaches? The Dutch coastline offers unlimited opportunities for water sports fanatics, nature lovers, and beach fans. You will also have the opportunity to surf, kite, dive, and sail on lakes and beaches everywhere in this country. Netherlands’ territory consists of 16% of water so you can discover this terrific country also from a boat or kayak.

You cannot miss The Hague and the Hall of Knights. You can take a guided tour of one of the most important buildings in Dutch history dating from the 13th century and take some postcard-style pictures!

At the end of the trip, you can have some fun in Amsterdam again. So, what do you choose? Night-life in the best clubs, chilling in coffee shops, or visiting the Heineken Brewery? If you decide on this last attraction, you can learn all about how this famous beer evolved but not only. You will end the trip with a beer tasting session!