Schengen Visas for The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a full participant in the Schengen cooperation, which allows people to move freely between the countries that are members of the Schengen agreement. Under the Schengen agreement the following countries have opened their borders to one another:

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

The Schengen visa permits entry to the Schengen countries for the purposes of tourism, family or business visits. With a Schengen visa you may travel freely throughout the Schengen countries, but you may not stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days within a 180-day period, whereby each day of stay is taken into account for the calculation of the 180-day period. The holder of a short-term visa must exit the Schengen area before the visa expires. Failure to do so may have consequences for future entry to a Schengen country.

Tourist Visas

The majority of foreign travellers to the Netherlands wishing to stay for a short period for tourism or to visit family and friends (less than three months) will require a tourist visa. Foreign nationals from the EU and other qualifying countries will not need a visa to travel to the Netherlands for a short stay.

A tourist visa allows you to stay and travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. If you wish to stay in the Netherlands for longer than three months this cannot be considered a tourist visit and you must apply for a long-term visa. More information on long-term visas can be found here.

Overstaying the permitted 90 days in the Schengen area can lead to you being banned from entering the entire area and even fined. If you have overstayed your tourist visa or if your permitted time is coming to an end please contact one of our immigration experts quickly so that such an entry ban may be avoided.

Short Term Employment

If you are travelling to the Netherlands for a short time with the intention of conducting business activities you will need a visa, unless you are a foreign national from the EU or from a country of origin that is exempt from the Dutch visa requirement.  It is important that you are aware that nearly all work activity in the Netherlands requires a work permit, and that there are only very narrow exceptions to the work permit requirement for business travellers.

An exception to the work permit requirement exists for limited business meetings, contract negotiations, closing a deal, training or implementing a program created abroad.  This exception should be interpreted very narrowly, as enforcement authorities will impose a fine of EUR 12,500 if they determine that work has been performed without the necessary permit. Please contact one of our immigration experts to find out wether your business activities in the Netherlands meet the criteria for this exception.

The duration during which one can stay in the Netherlands to attend business meetings is limited to a total of thirteen weeks per year, so one should count the days of stay as well. Should you exceed these 13 weeks, a work permit is required, regardless of the nature of the activities performed in the Netherlands.

Orange Carpet Visas

In certain countries (including India and China) the Dutch Embassy can facilitate companies whose employees regularly require business visas for the Netherlands, via the Orange Carpet Visa Facility.  Benefits of the Orange Carpet Visa Facility include not having to apply for the visa in person, relaxed documentation requirements, walk-in facilities and the availability of visas with a validity ranging between 6 months to 3 years.

Participation is open to Dutch companies that have a subsidiary in the qualifying country (or vice versa) and employees travelling frequently to the Netherlands for business or to companies from the qualifying country that have a long-term business relationship with a company in the Netherlands.

For more information about business visas in general or to determine if you could benefit from the Orange Carpet Visa Facility please contact Ester de Vreede, corporate immigration specialist, at

P.O. Box 15835, 1001 NH  Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Tel: +31(0)20 675 7312  | Fax: +31(0)20 2581 701 | | Header picture by Iwan Baan