Should you apply the Search Year (Orientation Year) Visa or Startup Visa?

We often receive questions from people about whether they should apply for the Search Year (Orientation Year) Visa or Startup Visa. To answer this question, let us understand first what each visa is about. This article will outline the difference between the two visas and give suggestions on which visa that you should first go for.

1. What is a Search Year (Orientation Year) Visa?

The Search Year Visa came into effect since 2016. The Visa is intended for highly educated graduates, specifically:

  • foreign students studying in the Netherlands;

  • foreign students who graduated from a top university outside the Netherlands;

  • foreign scientific researchers who have carried out research in the Netherlands.

These highly educated migrants are given the chance to apply for the Search Year Visa within the three years of graduating. With this Visa, highly educated migrants are allowed to find jobs in the Netherlands as a highly-skilled migrant or as an entrepreneur. The validity of the Search Year Visa is 12 months.

For more details about the Search Year Visa, click here.

As mentioned above, even with the Search Year Visa, highly educated migrants can also register their own company at KvK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce) and start their business in the Netherlands.

2. What is a Startup Visa? Why apply for Startup Visa if you can already start your business in the Netherlands with the Search Year 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. Read here to see the requirements of the Dutch Startup Visa.

You apply for Startup Visa subsequently after your Search Year Visa so that you can extend the period where you can stay legally in the Netherlands and therefore continue developing your Startup. The validity of Startup Visa is also 12 months, similar to the Search Year Visa.

If you have the opportunity to be able to first apply for a Search Year Visa, you have the advantage of time (12-months validity of Search Year Visa) to work on your Startup in the Netherlands. Subsequently, you can apply for the Startup Visa that will be valid for another 12 months. This way, you have approximately 24 months (2 years) to work on your Startup in the Netherlands.

After the Startup Visa, you can also apply for the Self-employment Visa in the Netherlands to continue developing your business in the country. Read here to understand the difference between the Self-employment Visa and the Startup Visa.

In short: If you have the advantages of being eligible for both Search Year and Startup Visa to start your business in the Netherlands, choose first to apply for the Search Year Visa and then subsequently apply for the Startup Visa in order to gain the advantage of time.

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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