Now for the entry you’ve all been waiting for: a quick guide on how to emigrate to Appsterdam.
Most non-European passport holders can be in Europe for 3 out of every 6 months, which includes the Netherlands. In other words, unless you have been kicking around Europe recently, you can come to Appsterdam for the summer without needing a Visa.
If you want to be here for longer than that, you will need a residence permit and the related work permit. For most people, that works as you would expect: you get a job offer here, and the employer takes care of the paperwork. While not normally a speedy process, there is a fast track for knowledge migrants, which we certainly are.
If you are a self-employed person, there is a point system the government uses to asses your ability to support yourself. While I don’t have any specific information on that, I wouldn’t be too afraid of this process, as we are, as a general statement, a desirable group.
Certain countries have other agreements with the Netherlands. For example, citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the age of 30 qualify for a 12-month “working vacation” visa.
For self-employed Americans, there is the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, which is a piece of war-era diplomacy that makes it relatively simple for Americans to set up manufacturing companies in the Netherlands. Since apps are, by definition, products, we certainly qualify for that.
If you want to stay here on the DAFT, plan on the process costing you €10.000. Half of that will be your Dutch company’s capital investment—basically money sitting in the bank you can’t touch—and half will be for legal fees, preparing a DAFT-friendly business plan, etc.
The attorney Chris Barth is the local specialist, and has a lot of specific information on his site. He is a native Philadelphian who has been in the Netherlands for over a decade, and is your absolute best bet for getting over here with minimal fuss.
Some additions to the information on his site:
- You will need to order a new certified copy of your birth certificate to register as a resident alien.
- You will need a secondary certification from the issuing state, called an apostille, for each birth certificate.
- Health insurance is listed as a requirement, and is obtained easily here for around €100 a month.
For now, my advice is to come for the summer and if, about a month in, you decide you want to stay, you can get together with Chris to file the paperwork.
What about your spouse, kids, and pets? As far as I know, all immigration routes, including the DAFT, include residence permits, but not work permits, for your family. Your spouse can apply for their own work permit, or become a business partner in your DAFT company.
As for pets, according to the site Expatax:
You may bring pets into the Netherlands only if they are not meant to be traded or sold. If you wish to bring your dog or cat when you are moving to the Netherlands, it needs a pet passport. Your pet must be examined by a recognized vet in the country you are moving from in order to obtain such a passport. The passport contains the following information: – a statement from the vet (in Dutch, English, French or German) that your pet has been vaccinated with an approved vaccine against rabies; – the date of vaccination; – your pet’s description including its breed, sex, age, colour and type of fur and its marks; – the name of the owner.
Important! Your dog or cat must have been vaccinated within 1 year and at least 30 days before your move. Please take into account that applying for such a passport will take some time. You should, therefore, apply for it at your vet no later than 10 days before your move. If you do not have a pet passport, your dog or cat will be vaccinated upon entering the country after which it will have to remain in quarantine for 30 days.
For a few other animals you need a health certificate. This is, at least, applicable to birds, horses, cows (and other ungulates), ferrets, minks and foxes. You can obtain this health certificate from a recognized vet in the country you are moving from. You do not need a health certificate or passport for other animals, for example, rabbits, hares and fishes. You can bring these animals without having to make special provisions.
One of the best things about being an expat in the Netherlands is that so many people are already doing just that, so there is a lot of information available everywhere. Perhaps the best source is the book “The Holland Handbook,” which is full of practical information for making the move.
(For some reason, Amazon is only taking pre-orders for the upcoming revision, but I’m sure you can find the current edition somewhere.)