Assessing travel and visa obligations in the Netherlands

When traveling to the Netherlands, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to the Netherlands, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business meetings or the conclusion of agreements with companies and institutions for a maximum of 13 weeks in a 52-week period
  • Tour a company facility
  • Receive training or instruction on the use of goods manufactured in the Netherlands, or services to be performed in the Netherlands, for a maximum of 12 consecutive weeks in a 36-week period


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for the Netherlands?

Nationals of the European Union, the United States and many other select countries are eligible for a visa waiver and are not required to obtain a visa to enter and conduct business activities in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a member of the Schengen Area, a free-travel zone comprised of 29 European countries. If your nationality is not eligible for a visa waiver in the Schengen Area, you will be required to obtain a Schengen C Visa prior to travel. Visa-waivered nationals, as well as those who are required to obtain a visa, are authorized to travel to the Netherlands and throughout the Schengen Area. Please note that travelers may not spend more than 90 days within any 180-day period inside the Schengen Area.

Working in the Netherlands

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Dutch law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in the Netherlands, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Facilitating training
  • Performing audits
  • Consulting
  • Market planning

In limited circumstances, foreign nationals may engage in certain professional activities without obtaining work authorization, although strict preconditions must be met. An individual assessment is required to determine whether an exemption is applicable.


If I am traveling to the Netherlands for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in the Netherlands. The most common types of work authorization for the Netherlands are:

  • Short-Term Highly Skilled Migrant Work Permit (work authorization for professionals residing up to 90 days in any 180-day period)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Permit (long-term work and residence authorization for highly skilled professionals)
  • EU Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Permit (work and residence authorization for the transfer of senior management, specialists and trainees of a company located outside the EU to a local branch belonging to the same company or group of companies)
  • National Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Permit (work and residence authorization for the transfer of senior management, specialists and trainees of a company located within the EU/EEA/Switzerland to a local branch belonging to the same company or group of companies)
  • EU Blue Card (work authorization for highly skilled direct hires)
  • Work and Residence Permit (long-term work and residence authorization for direct hires)
  • Residence Permit for Essential Start-up Personnel (highly skilled work and residence authorization for employees of innovative, scalable and start-up companies).


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland are not required to obtain work authorization to work in the Netherlands. However, registrations or other formalities may be required prior to working or residing in the Netherlands.

Additional work authorization exemptions are available in the Netherlands under Vander Elst rules. In this case, a legal assessment to determine the possibilities for a work authorization exemption should be obtained prior to traveling.

What else should I know?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs post-Brexit relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, has altered immigration regulations in the affected countries. Please be sure to contact your immigration representative for full details regarding the TCA’s impact in the Netherlands.

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.