What are the criteria for a start-up visa?

There are essentially five conditions that you'll have to satisfy when applying for a start-up visa. Doing so involves providing information about yourself, your business plan and your proposed method of operation:

Condition 1. Working together with a reliable expert facilitator

One of the requirements for the residence permit is working together with a facilitator. This cooperation must be set down in a (signed) agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. The facilitator must have experience in guiding start-ups. The facilitator provides the start-up entrepreneur with a tailor-made package depending on the guidance the start-up entrepreneur needs. The facilitator can, for example, help with operational management, marketing, research and seeking investors for setting up the innovative company. The facilitator must also be financially sound. The facilitator may on no account be in receivership or bankrupt and may not have any negative equity. The facilitator may not be related to the start-up entrepreneur (up to three times removed; child, parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt, nephews and nieces).

Condition 2. The product or service is innovative

What makes a product or service innovative for the Netherlands?

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency [Dutch: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO)] will assess whether your product or service is 'innovative'. The product or service is innovative if at least one of the 3 conditions is met:

  • The product or service is new to the Netherlands.
  • A new technology for production, distribution or marketing is involved.
  • There is a new innovative organisational and process approach.

(Non-definitive) examples can include the following:

  • The product or service is new for the Netherlands
  • It represents new technology
  • Original organisational structure/process
  • Activities encouraged in the top sector policy
  • Socially responsible enterprise
  • Original energy conservation approach
  • Smart and creative adaptations or combinations serving cross-sectorial applications
  • New product/market combinations
  • Creative or innovative market approach
  • Social innovation

Condition 3. The start-up entrepreneur has a plan to advance the idea to a business

What conditions must the step-by-step plan meet?

As a startup entrepreneur, certain activities have to be undertaken to advance from an idea to a business. The government wants to know what activities these are. The startup entrepreneur provides a description of this in a step-by-step plan, which contains information relating to:

  • The organisation. The startup entrepreneur must have an active role. This means he is not simply a shareholder or financier. The step-by-step plan at least contain:
    • the structure of the organisation
    • the roles and tasks
    • the legal form
    • the personnel
    • the purpose of the enterprise
  • A description of the idea for the product or service and why it is innovative (see condition 2)
  • The activities in the first year. A description of the planning and activities for the business. The steps to be gone through in setting up the company.

Condition 4. The start-up entrepreneurs and the facilitator are entered in the Business Register of the Chamber of Commerce

Entry in the Business Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The start-up entrepreneur must be entered in the Business Register of the Chamber of Commerce. This entry must show that the start-up entrepreneur has a say in the start-up. This is important in order to be able take decisions regarding the future enterprise. The facilitator must also have a Chamber of Commerce number. It is not necessary to provide an extract from the register, the Chamber of Commerce number is sufficient. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency checks the entry in the Businessl Register.

Condition 5. There is sufficient money (resources) to reside and live in the Netherlands

Sufficient money (resources) to be able to reside, live and start up a business in the Netherlands

The start-up entrepreneur must have sufficient money (income) to be able to reside, live and set up a business in the Netherlands. Start-up entrepreneurs may not rely on public funds, such as welfare benefits.

The start-up entrepreneur can prove he has sufficient resources in various ways. The entrepreneur can show by way of a bank statement that he has sufficient money in his account. The amount available must be at least 70% of the standard amount for single persons under the Minimum Wage Act.

Another (legal) person, such as the facilitator, may also fund the residence by providing money (resources) to the start-up entrepreneur. The amount must be available for the start-up entrepreneur's entire period of residence (maximum 1 year).