You are going to be living in our beautiful part of the Netherlands. Here is what you need to know when it comes to acquiring a visa for staying in the country, Dutch residence permits, dealing with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service, insurance and municipal registration. Nobody likes formalities, but we will help you find the relevant information regarding living in the Arnhem - Nijmegen - Wageningen area!
The Dutch government provides the brochure 'New in the Netherlands' which describes all of the necessary actions you must undertake after arriving in the Netherlands. You can download the brochure in multiple languages.
The rules that apply to you and the procedures that you have to go through when applying for a visa, depend on your particular situation.
Short-stay visa/Schengen visa
As the Netherlands are among the countries covered by the Schengen Agreement, the short-stay visa/Schengen visa allows you to stay in the entire Schengen area, made up of these 26 countries (22 of the 26 EU member countries and 4 EFTA countries) for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days. You can travel freely throughout the Schengen area while your visa is valid. While applying for this visa, you can also select the a 'multiple-entry option' if you want to leave and re-enter the area within the 180-day period. You should always submit your application to the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country associated with your main purpose of travel, in your case the Netherlands. If you are a business traveller and travel to the Netherlands frequently, you or your employer may wish to use the 'Orange Carpet' Visa Facility, which saves time and money if a short-term visa is frequently required.
Long-stay visa/Authorisation for temporary stay
If you want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, you may need a residence permit, but in many cases you will also need a long-stay visa before you travel here. This type of visa is called a 'Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf' in Dutch and you will therefore often see the abbreviation 'MVV' used, even on Dutch websites that are fully English. You can enter your country or area in the search bar on this web page to check the provisions and requirements for citizens from your country who are coming to the Netherlands.
Do I even need a visa?
If you are from a Schengen country yourself or have a valid residence permit for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania or the United Kingdom stating that you are family of a citizen of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland, you might not need a visa. There are strict conditions, however, so it's good to read up on the specific rules that apply to your nationality. Find out if your nationality is on the list of countries whose nationals need a visa. If you have more than one nationality, the passport you travel on will determine whether you need a visa or not. Apart from these specific links, you can get all of the most recent information on visas from the English website of the Dutch government.
Residence Permits for the Netherlands
Your first port of call when applying for a residence permit, is the Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND (the abbreviation comes from the Dutch title 'Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst'). This governmental organisation deals with admissions of individuals to the Netherlands and will handle all applications and permits of people who want to reside here.
The rules and procedures that you have to adhere to when applying for a visa depend on your particular situation. The IND implements immigration policy and decides on applications for residence permits.
Within the framework of Dutch immigration law, a residence permit can be awarded on multiple grounds. Each ground/purpose of stay has its own conditions. On the website of the Dutch government you will find the residence permits that are most appropriate for professionals.
The English language section of the IND’s website provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of all rules and procedures.
Registering with your municipality in the Netherlands
All immigrants who need to get registered, including children, must visit the local town hall in person to be registered in the municipal Key Register of Persons, the BRP ('Basisregistratie Personen' in Dutch). You can make an appointment with the Civil Affairs Department ('afdeling Burgerzaken') in your municipality. Once you have registered, you will be given an extract from the BRP. Some companies in the area have an agreement with The Expat Center Foodvalley in Wageningen, which serves as a one-stop shop for expats and can help you out with all the formalities and immigration procedures. They offer a wide range of services and information to help you settle and ‘find your way’ around our region. The Expat Center Foodvalley also offers services that support relocation of your partner and children travelling with you. Go to the website of the Expat Center Foodvalley to find more information.
The Dutch insurance system is likely to be different from the system you are used to. Some insurances are obligatory, others are facultative.
Apart from specialised insurance companies, other organisations that provide insurance, like banks, offer a wide range of insurance packages that may include a car, life, burial, accident, liability, rental, building, home-owner's and legal support insurance. For high-value items such as art, jewellery and antiques, you will need a separate 'kostbaarheden' (valuables) insurance.
Combination packages allow you to bring down costs and avoid the problems of figuring out what company or policy covers what type of damage in times of need. Be sure to shop around at different suppliers, as costs and coverage may differ. You can also ask your Dutch bank for information.
The Union of Dutch Insurers ('Verbond van Verzekeraars' in Dutch) keeps a record of its members.