Visa Requirements for the Netherlands

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About 19 million tourists flock to the Netherlands every year to marvel at picturesque Dutch windmills surrounded by rolling fields of flowers, to party at the world-famous Red Light District of Amsterdam, and to cycle along its scenic canals. It's one of the top destinations in Europe and also one that's easy to get to, seeing as citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and dozens of other countries are allowed to visit for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a tourist visa. Because it's also a Schengen country, the Netherlands' borders are open (for traveling, working, and studying) to other countries included in the Schengen Area.

There are more than 100 countries—mostly in Southeast Asia, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East—whose nationals do require a Schengen visa to visit the Netherlands. If a foreign national wants to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, whether to work, study, or live with a family member, there are other visas to consider. In the U.S., these are processed at Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Global application centers, located in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Regardless of whether you require a visa to visit the Netherlands, your passport should be valid for at least three months (or the duration of your stay, if longer) upon arrival.

Visa Type How Long Is It Valid? Required Documents Application Fees
Schengen Visa (Type C) 90 days Proof of financial means, accommodation details, proof of intent to return to one's home country, and medical travel insurance About $90
Long-Stay Visa (Type D, MVV) Depends on purpose of stay A job offer, school enrollment, or proof of relationship, all dependent on the purpose of your stay From $50 to $1,500
Caribbean Visa 90 days Proof of financial means, accommodation details, proof of intent to return to one's home country, and medical travel insurance About $90
Airport Transit Visa (Type A) As long as your layover Standard required documents for a Schengen visa, plus a detailed travel itinerary About $90

Schengen Visa (Type C)

Citizens of the U.S. do not require any sort of special document to travel or do business in the Netherlands for up to 90 days, but those who do must obtain a Schengen visa, which is valid for all 26 Schengen countries, also including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. Once your short-stay visa is issued, it will include the starting and ending dates of the visa's validity, the number of days you'll be allowed in Schengen countries, and whether you can travel once (single entry) or several times (multiple entries) to the Schengen Area with the visa.

Visa Fees and Application

Travelers can apply for a Schengen visa at their local embassy with the required auxiliary documents and fees.

  • Proof of financial means, hotel reservations (or, rather, a written invitation from a personal contact in the Netherlands), proof of intent to return to one's home country, and proof of medical travel insurance may be required. (Visa holders should also keep copies of these documents on hand while traveling.)
  • The Schengen visa can only be obtained by visiting an embassy or consulate in the traveler's home country. Make an appointment before you go.
  • The total cost is about $90 (80 euros).
  • Visa applications take 15 to 30 days to process and are issued no more than six months before travel.
  • Visa holders must report to the local municipality within 72 hours of arrival. This requirement is waived for visitors who rent accommodations in a hotel, campsite, or something similar.

Long-Stay Visa (Type D, MVV)

Long-stay visas double as authorization for temporary stay (MVV) in the Netherlands. You may qualify for it if you have family in the Netherlands, work for a corporate sponsor or are self-employed, seek medical treatment in the Netherlands, or are simply unable to leave the country within 90 days (because you're ill, for instance).

If you are the family member of a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Swiss national, then you may be able to expedite the visa application process (not to mention have the fees waived) via visa facilitation . This scheme was designed to promote person-to-person contact between EU and non-EU citizens. It's only available to family members who do not share the same nationality as the person they're visiting or traveling with.

Visa Fees and Application

The conditions, duration, and cost of this Type D visa depend on your purpose for visiting .

  • Document requirements depend on the exact visa you're applying for (family, student, work, or otherwise), but in general, travelers will need evidence of legal residence, travel details (including a complete itinerary), proof that you will return to your country after your visit, Schengen visa health insurance, proof of employment (if relocating for work), and proof of sufficient financial means.
  • It can cost anywhere from $50 (for a child under 18 years old) to more than $1,500 for a self-employed worker. The general study visa and adult family visa cost $200 each, a visa for medical treatment costs $1,250, and a general work visa costs $350.
  • Most long-stay visas can be renewed for a fee usually equal to the initial cost.
  • They typically take about 90 days to process. If accepted, you'll have three months to collect the visa from a Dutch embassy or consulate. Then, you'll have three months from the start date on the visa to enter the country.
  • Employees should apply through their employers; otherwise, the visa can be obtained by visiting a Dutch embassy or consulate.

Caribbean Visa

Travelers from some countries, such as the U.S. and those included in the EU do not need a visa to visit the Caribbean parts of the Netherlands , including the countries of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten and the public bodies of Bonaire, St Eustatius, and Saba. These destinations rarely require transit visas (for passing through on a cruise ship, for example), but for extended stays of up to 90 days, you may require a Caribbean visa. This visa allows for multiple entries over a 180-day period and costs the same as the Schengen visa and transit visa, about $90. The application process is similar to that of the Schengen visa in that it can only be completed by visiting an embassy or consulate, whether in the Netherlands or in your home country. You'll be required to reveal the purpose of your stay and show proof of travel and accommodation arrangements.

Airport Transit Visa (Type A)

Airport transit visas (also called Type A visas) are granted to some foreign nationals—from countries like Cuba, Iraq, Nepal, and Ghana—who plan to pass through a Netherlands airport on a layover, but don't anticipate leaving the airport itself. These must be obtained in person at a Dutch embassy or consulate and fees depend on your home country . In order to apply, you must have a valid passport, your travel itinerary (including proof of further travel), evidence of sufficient funds, and a standard-size passport photo.

Visa Overstays

An overstayed visa rarely goes unnoticed in the Netherlands, so travelers must follow the rules to avoid consequences. Punishments range from fines to deportation to lifetime bans from the Netherlands or all 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area. A fine is the most common penalty for overstaying a visa , with the maximum amount ($1,400) sometimes being dished out to single-day overstayers. If you depart between three and 90 days after your visa expires, you're asking for a year-long ban from the Netherlands. Overstay more than 90 days? That's a ban of two years.

Extending Your Visa

Schengen visas may only be extended in the case of an emergency, such as becoming ill during your trip . The extension would only be valid for the country in which you apply for it, not the entire Schengen Area. In order to qualify, you must prove that you have the funds to stay for longer, you must have health or travel insurance, and a passport that's valid for six months. Extending the Schengen visa costs about $70.

Long-stay visas only qualify for an extension when the reason for obtaining the visa in the first place is still valid . If, for instance, you obtained a visa on the basis of being employed in the Netherlands and no longer have a job, or were granted the visa after getting married to a national but are now divorced, then you would no longer qualify for the long-stay visa. For those that do qualify, the extension fee varies by visa but is often the same as the original price.

Article Sources
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