/ News / Dutch startup visa law is approved

Dutch startup visa law is approved

The Dutch immigration law will be changed as of January 1st 2015 to allow for special visa for startup founders. Although there are many questions about how the new law will work in practice, this is a major step in making The Netherlands more innovative and startup-friendly.

9400527612_cd3dd60e20_mImmigration law is a tricky issue for many countries. Traditional immigration law is written to keep people out as there are often more people applying than can be accommodated. On the other hand, countries are competing for global talent and therefore need procedures to allow talented professionals and entrepreneurs access. Dutch politicians have therefore worked hard to ‘fix’ the current immigration law and create a separate startup visum track for innovative entrepreneurs. Last thursday the updated law has been published in the Staatscourant and the new law will go into effect on January 1st 2015.

The fact that there is a startup visa law is a major step forwards, as this is official recognition from the Dutch government of the value of startup entrepreneurs to the Dutch economy. “Two years of hard work have come to a very happy conclusion” wrote David van Traa, director of the Dutch expat center. “We now have one of the most welcoming immigration procedure for international innovative entrepreneurs”. The law is one of the first visible outcomes of the startupNL manifesto by member of parliament Anne-Wil Lucas.

StartupJuncture was one of the parties that responded to a request for comments made earlier this year as part of the lawmaking process. We agreed with the overall intention of the new law but had important questions about the speed and transparency of the process. We suggested to make the procedure much more transparent to the actual target audience, by creating an English language website much like the Canadian government has done: a visitor friendly website with clear definition and explicit criteria. The current law does not provide this level of detail: it is clear that there is a startup visa opportunity, but no-one knows yet who qualifies, how to apply and how long to wait. All we know is that the RVO will play a role in the  so we will follow any publications from the RVO closely. In the mean time, here is an overview of the most important points of the new law:

You can read the full text of the announcement here (stn-2014-450 startups). The Dutch government expects dozens of applications per year.  StartupJuncture is looking forward to hear the experience of the actual applicants with the new process. If you are applying, let us know so we can learn from your case.

Image credit: banner –  ANP, open sign – Czarina Alegre

Sieuwert van Otterloo
Sieuwert van Otterloo is IT expert by day and startup enthusiast by night. IT expert via Softwarezaken | innovation expert via Node1 | editor and cofounder of StartupJuncture | member of StartupDelta | startup investor. Reach out to Sieuwert via otterloo @ gmail .com
  1. We applied on the “old” legislation, which already accommodated innovative companies, but required a lot of documentation to pass. Given the experiences from that application my biggest worries are with the RVO and the time it takes. Our process took around nine months, which for a startup is a lifetime. Decisions should be made in weeks to allow for the pace of decision making a startup needs. The whole systems was also fully intransparant, no way to “track your progress”.

    Finally -> RVO wouldn’t recognise a startup, a founder or actually any decent company even if it was right in front of their noses in their grey office tower. Having them form part of the decision process (or any public servant) is always reason for concern (as it is for subsidies etc. too).

  2. Do somebody know how the process would look like?

  3. Gaurav Gupta says:


    Can anyone tell me what is startup visa and who can apply for it. What are the requirements and other details regarding it.

    Thanks is advance.

  4. Denis says:

    We’ve already applied for the Italy Startup Visa but the Dutch one looks very promising as well!

  5. Ind says:

    This is complete bullocks and this just only a new flashy term introduced to lure into a trap. In reality the Dutch only exploits the internationals they make them suffer through their tormenting Visa policies.

  6. dindin muhan says:

    great info, thanks

  7. It is a start but in reality its not the visa for founders that are needed, but especially the visa for staff and employees and experienced people from the bay area (USA)…and not after weeks but within hours; in our world speed is of the essence and measured in milli seconds.
    also get rid of those silly income requirements that are currently used in the ‘kenniswerkers regeling’.
    my 5 cts

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