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Business visitors

Visa requirements

In what circumstances is a visa required for business visitors?

This is governed by EU Regulation 539/2001, which lists the countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of the Schengen Area and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.


What restrictions are imposed on business visitors in terms of the work that they may undertake and their period of stay in your jurisdiction?

Business visitors are allowed to work if the host employer obtained a work permit, unless the activity is listed as work permit-exempt. The most notable example of an exempt activity is attending business meetings.

Application and entry

How are business visitor visas obtained and what is the typical turnaround time?

Business visitor visas can be obtained at the competent Dutch consulate or embassy or the private visa handler (VFS) for that consulate or embassy. Processing time is typically 15 days.

Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?

Yes. Exempt are:

  • nationals from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland;
  • nationals from countries that are listed as such under Regulation 539/2001; and
  • individuals holding a valid residence permit or valid long-stay visa for any of the Schengen countries.

Companies whose employees need to travel frequently to the Netherlands can be admitted to the fast-track Orange Carpet Programme.

Short-term training

What rules and procedures apply for visitors seeking to undertake short-term training in your jurisdiction?

Business visitors are allowed to receive training or operational instructions regarding goods that were manufactured in the Netherlands or services that will be performed in the Netherlands. Training and instructions must be limited to observing, getting accustomed to company culture and receiving instructions in a classroom or a similar setting that is clearly for instruction purposes only (ie, not for productive work), and under the guidance of an instructor/teacher. In other words, the setting itself must make it obvious that the activity involved is training and not carrying out productive work. This means that the training should not take place on the work floor, for instance. Attending meetings to enhance company culture is included in this waiver.

The waiver covers only recipients of training; those giving the training require a work permit. Attending a training under the waiver is not limited to intra-company trainings.

Lastly, the waiver is applicable for a maximum of 12 weeks out of 36 weeks for a single entry.


In what circumstances is a transit visa required to pass through your jurisdiction? How is it obtained?

Nationals of countries listed in Annex I to Regulation 539/2001 must have an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit area of airports situated on the territory of Schengen countries, including the Netherlands.

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