Visiting the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam, is high on the list of most travelers to Europe. Top attractions in Amsterdam, such as visiting the Van Gogh Museum and cruising the canals as well as day trips to Delft that is home of beautiful blue porcelain, and Keukenhof Gardens, will keep you busy in this small country.
Whether a tourist requires a visa to enter the Netherlands all depends on his or her nationality. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and dozens of other countries are allowed to spend up to 90 days in the Netherlands without a tourist visa. Nationals of the European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) member countries and Switzerland are exempt from all visa requirements. Visa-exempt tourists can spend 90 days in any 180-day period in the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Area consists of 26 European states that have officially abolished passport checks and other types of border control at their mutual borders.
For nationalities that require a visa to enter the Netherlands, a Schengen visa must be obtained in person from the Dutch embassy or consulate of the traveler's home country. Schengen visas are valid for the 26 countries of the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Auxiliary documents, such as proof of financial means, hotel reservations, or invitation letter from a personal contact in the Netherlands, proof of intent to return to one's home country, or proof of medical travel insurance may be required. (Visa holders should take copies of these documents with them on their travels.)
If the visa applicant intends to visit more than one Schengen country on the same trip, the visa application should be submitted to the mission of his or her chief destination; if no country meets this qualification, then the visa can be obtained from the mission of the first Schengen country the applicant will enter.
Visa applications take 15 to 30 days to process; visas are issued no more than three 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.
Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. Once your short-stay visa (type C) is issued, it will include the following specifics:
- The starting date of the visa's validity
- The number of days you are allowed in Schengen Area countries
- The end date of the visa's validity
- Whether you can travel once (single entry) or several times (multiple entries) to the Schengen Area with the valid visa
Visas for More Than 30 Days
Non-Dutch nationals who wish to spend more than three months in the Netherlands must apply for a purpose-specific, temporary residence permit and, in some cases, a visa. Dutch resident permits and visas include visas for family visits, work, study, and for cultural exchange.