Self-employed Visa or Startup Visa? That is the question.

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

A lot of people ask whether they should apply for Self-employed or Startup visa with their business idea for the Dutch residence permit. To answer this question, we usually first answer by telling the difference between Self-employed and Startup Visa and advise accordingly. This article will outline the difference between the two visas.

1. What is self-employed visa? And what are the requirements?

Self-employed Visa existed before the Startup Visa. Self-employed Visa is a Dutch residence permit that allows non-EU entrepreneur to stay in the country and work independently (e.g. opening own company as a freelancer).

One of the requirements of the Self-employed Visa is that you must prove that your services/products are innovative and can benefit the Dutch economy. This is measured with a point-based system by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

The point-based system consists of 3 parts:

  1. Personal experience (education, entrepreneurship, work experience)

  2. Business plan (market analysis, product/service, price, organization, financing).

  3. Added value for the Netherlands (innovation, employment creation, investments).

The 3 parts together consist of a total of 300 points. At least 90 points are needed, with a minimum of 30 points for each part.

In addition, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Your company must be registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK).

  2. You meet the requirements for practising your business or profession. This means that you have all the necessary licenses.

  3. You are going to earn sufficient income from your activities as an independent entrepreneur. This should be evident from the business plan.

  4. If you are a freelancer, you must have one or more commissions in the Netherlands that you, as a freelancer, are going to carry out.

  5. If you are an individual healthcare company, you must be registered in the Big-register (Individual Healthcare Professions).

For more information about the additional requirements, check out the IND website.

There are different types of work visas in the Netherlands. As you can see above, the requirements for the Self-employment Visa are considered to be stricter than all of them. For this reason, the Dutch government introduced the 'Startup Visa' to make it easier for non-EU entrepreneurs to set-up their businesses in the Netherlands.

2. Startup Visa, as a preparatory step to obtain Self-employment Visa

Acknowledging the rigorous requirements of the Self-employed Visa, the Startup Visa was introduced by the Dutch Government in 2015 to make it easier for non-EU entrepreneurs to set-up their businesses in the Netherlands. The Startup Visa can be considered as a preparatory one-year where the non-EU entrepreneur can subsequently apply for the Self-employed Visa as their Dutch residence permit.

What usually happens is that a non-EU entrepreneur applies and obtains the one-year Startup Visa. During the period of one-year Startup Visa, the non-EU entrepreneur is supported by a Dutch facilitator. At the end of the one-year of the Startup Visa, the facilitator makes an assessment whether the business idea of the non-EU entrepreneur has potential for the Dutch economy and whether the non-EU entrepreneur is credible and moving towards the right direction. If the facilitator's assessment is positive, the facilitator will be able to give a supporting letter. This supporting letter can be used by the non-EU entrepreneur to apply for the subsequent Self-Employment visa. By using the path of the Start-up visa, the non-EU entrepreneur does not need to meet the requirements of the Self-employed Visa through the rigorous point-based system. Instead, the non-EU entrepreneur simply needs a supporting letter from the facilitator in order to apply for the Self-employment visa given that they are moving towards the right direction with the business idea.

What are the requirements of the Startup Visa? Check out this Checklist to understand better what the requirements are.

Apply your Startup Visa in the Netherlands with the best support

  • Do you already have a business idea?

  • Do you feel that you need to strengthen further your business idea so that it suits the Dutch sector?

  • Do you need help with the Startup Visa application process?

  • Do you need to get connected with a Facilitator (Startup Accelerator) to support your visa application?

  • Do you need help with the development of Step-by-Step Plan as one of the requirements for Startup Visa application?

  • Do you need end-to-end support for your Startup Visa application, from business development of your idea to application submission?

If you say YES to any of the questions above, you are in the right place.

Shape of Green Business is here to guide you with the Startup Visa application, from business development of your idea to application submission, step by step.

We are specialised in business coaching and application process for your Startup Visa. We can provide you with the strategic shortcut to help you reach your goals with your Startup Visa application in the Netherlands in a guided and orderly manner.

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