One year ago, the Netherlands unveiled its new startup visa that gives foreign entrepreneurs a special one-year visa to get their business off the ground.
Starting Jan. 1, 2016, the Security & Justice branch of the Dutch government is amending its self-employment regulations to give foreign startups even more time to grow.
Now foreign entrepreneurs starting up in the Netherlands will be able to get a residence permit for self-employed persons as soon as they have satisfactorily completed the start-up program … and thereby, an additional year of residency.
(If you’re an American or EU resident, the startup visa likely isn’t for you. American techpats, for example, get an automatic 2-year visa under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty.)
Foreign start-ups have been able to use the start-up program since 1 January 2015. Participants have one year in which to make the transition from a good idea to an actual business, according to the Dutch government website. At the end of that year they are expected to move on to Holland’s self-employment scheme.
From the website:
In practice, however, it often takes longer than a year for starting entrepreneurs to fulfill the conditions of the self-employment scheme, because it often takes them two years to reach the growth phase. The self-employment scheme has been amended to avoid a situation whereby promising start-ups, in which a substantial investment has already been made, would still be forced to leave the Netherlands.
The amendment takes affect Friday, 1 Jan. 2016.
Here are the rules and requirement for the startup visa:
To qualify for a startup visa, you must:
- Work together with a trusted and experienced mentor (facilitator) who is based in the Netherlands;
- Have a product or service that is innovative;
- Have a detailed business plan;
- Be registered with the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce;
- Have sufficient finance (resources) to reside and live in the Netherlands for one year.
One of the requirements for obtaining a residence permit is working together with a business mentor, know under visa rules as a “facilitator.” This includes having a formal agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative start-ups.
- The facilitator provides the entrepreneur with a tailor-made support package. The facilitator can, for example, offer help with operational management, marketing, research and investment acquisition for setting up an innovative business. The facilitator must be trusted and financially sound. On no account can the facilitator be in receivership or bankrupt and may not have negative equity. The facilitator may not be related to the start-up entrepreneur (up to three times removed; child, parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt).