Visa requirements for foreigners

Who requires a visa?

In the Netherlands, the rules and regulations for visitors from abroad are contained in the Aliens Law. For an overview of all regulations applicable, click here and carefully read the information.

The following section contains general information only.

Whether a prospective visitor requires a visa depends on his nationality and how long he intends to stay in the Netherlands. Nationals of many countries require a visa for an uninterrupted stay of up to three months.

Countries whose nationals need a visa for a stay of under three months:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Botswana, Burma (see Myanmar), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Fepublic, Chad, China (People’s Republic), Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic), Congo (Brazzaville), Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Fiji Islands, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldavia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Marianas (Islands), North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau,Palestinian Authority, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philipines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Salomon Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Samoa, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Countries whose nationals do not require a visa for a stay of three months or less:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (Federal Republic), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, (FYR) Macedonia *, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro *, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia **, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, Taiwan.

* The visa exemption applies only to holders of biometric passports.

** Except for holders of a Serbian passport issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (Koordinaciona uprava).

I have more than one nationality. Do I require a visa?

If you have more than one nationality, whether you require a visa depends on which travel document you intend to travel on. If it is a passport of a country whose nationals require a visa, you will also require a visa even if you have another nationality for which no visa is required. The country in which you are residing is irrelevant to whether you require a visa, although you must be residing legally in the country in which you submit your application.

Do I require a visa with a travel document for a third country?

Yes. Persons with travel documents for aliens and refugees issued by third countries always require a visa no matter what their nationality or which country issued these documents. An exception is made for refugees with travel documents issued by 16 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Nationals of certain countries also require an airport transit visa to change aircraft at a Dutch airport, even though they do not actually enter Dutch territory.

Countries whose nationals need an airport transit visa:

Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Colombia, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana**, Guinea *, Guinea Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Nigeria**, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

* Nationals of Guinea do not need an airport transit visa for Belgium provided they are in possession of a valid visa for one of the EER-countries, Andorra, Canada, Japan, Monaco, San Marino, United States of America or Switzerland.

** As from 1 May 2008 nationals of Ghana and Nigeria do not need an airport transit visa for Benelux, Germany, Italy and Spain provided they are in possession of a valid visa for for the United States, Canada, Japan, EER-countries and Switzerland

I want to stay for longer than three months.
To stay for an uninterrupted period of more than three months, you will require a special visa called an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV). Such a visa is required by the nationals of all countries except the EU member states and a few other countries.

Countries whose nationals do not need an MVV for a stay of over three months:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

For which countries is a Schengen visa valid?

On 26 March 1995, the Convention applying the Schengen Agreement came into force in seven countries. Since then, more countries have joined the Schengen Area. There are now 24 Schengen countries, with no border controls between them: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slowakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, Switzerland.

Visitors to any one of these countries receive a uniform visa valid for travel to all 24 of them. The Schengen countries have also harmonised their conditions for entry and their policy on countries whose nationals require a visa to visit the Schengen Area.

Some visitors are permitted to enter the territory of only one Schengen country or a limited number of them (such as the Netherlands or the Benelux countries). A Schengen country may issue such a visitor with a visa valid only for that country or for a specified number of Schengen countries.

Chinese students need a NESO certificate to apply for an ATR. Please click here for more information.

What documents will be required?

The number and type of supporting documents to be enclosed will depend on the circumstances in the country where you are applying and the nature of the visa application.You can obtain more information from the mission where you submit your application. In some cases you can obtain information about visas in the local language.

The visa-issuing authority will establish whether your visit poses a danger to public order, national security or international relations, and whether you have already been refused entry to the Schengen Area. It will also take account of the purpose of your visit in assessing these risks and the risk that you may remain in the country illegally. You should be able to prove that you have enough financial means at your disposal to cover your travel and accommodation expenses. You need to have a travel medical insurance to cover any expenses for repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment. The insurance must:

1. be valid throughout the Schengen territory
2. have a minimum medical coverage of EUR 30.000
3. cover the entire period of the person’s stay.

The amount of financial means considered “enough” will depend on the purpose of your visit (you may for instance intend to buy goods), your accommodation (whether you intend to stay in hotels or with friends or relatives), and the duration of your visit. Alternatively, you can give the name of a “guarantor” – a person in the Netherlands willing to guarantee payment of any costs the Dutch state may incur as a result of your visit. The applicant should obtain the travel medical insurance in their state of residence. Where this is not possible the applicant can obtain the insurance in another country or the host can obtain the insurance for the applicant in his own place of residence. The travel medical insurance only needs to be taken out after the visa application has been approved. The policy must be shown when collecting the passport.

When submitting your visa application, you should also enclose supporting documents relating to your visit (such as reservation for a return ticket), its purpose (such as an invitation), and your ability to pay all your travel and accommodation expenses (such as traveller’s cheques, bank statements, and payslips) and passport, which must be valid for at least 90 days after the expiry date of the visa.

Time Required to Issue a Visa:

It can take a minimum of a few days up to a maxiumum of two months to process a visa application, depending on whether further investigation is necessary in the Netherlands. In exceptional cases, an investigation will take longer than two months. You should therefore apply for a visa as soon as possible to avoid the disappointment of having to postpone your visit.

What is the Cost of a Visa?

When you submit a visa application, you must pay a fee. If your application is refused, the fee will not be refunded but retained to cover the processing costs. The Schengen countries have harmonised visa fees.

As a rule, you must pay the fee in the local currency. In exceptional cases (for instance, if the local currency is not convertible), you must pay in another currency. You may also have to pay other costs incurred in processing your application (such as the cost of sending faxes).

Visa fees:
– an airport transit visa: EUR 60;
– a transit visa valid up to five days: EUR 60;
– a visa valid for up to thirty days: EUR 60;
– a single-entry visa valid for up to ninety days: EUR 60;
– a multiple-entry visa valid for up to ninety days: EUR 60;
– a multiple-entry visa valid for up to one year: EUR 60;
– a multiple-entry visa valid for up to five years: EUR 60;

Visa applicants with the nationality of a country with which the European Union has entered or will enter into a visa facilitation agreement (Albania, Bosnia, Former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, Russia and Serbia) will pay EUR 35,-.

How long is the Visa valid for ?

Visas are normally issued for the duration you specify, with a maximum of three months (90 days) per six months. The visa-issuing authority will want to see your flight ticket to check the dates on which you will be entering and leaving the country.

In the “duration of stay” box on the sticker, you will find the number of days during which you may remain in the Schengen Area. In the “from” box, you will find the date on which your visa becomes valid. You may enter the Schengen Area on that date or afterwards. In the “to” box, you will find the date on which your visa expires.

As soon as you enter the Schengen Area, the days in the “duration of stay” box start to count down. You must leave the Schengen Area no later than the day on which you have reached your maximum number of days or on the date stated in the “to” box.

I want to enter the Netherlands more than once. Can I do so?

A visa can also be “multiple entry”. This will be stated on the visa sticker. The holder may enter and leave the Schengen Area an unlimited number of times during the visa’s period of validity (see the “from” and “to” boxes). But he may stay no longer than the number of days stated in the “duration of stay” box. Nor may he stay longer than three months within a six-month period or six months within a 12-month period, since to do so would amount to settling in the Netherlands, for which an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV) is required.

Other Information:

Chinese students need a NESO certificate to apply for an ATR. Please click here for more information.

Where can I apply for a visa?

You can apply for a visa at a diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) of a Schengen country, even if you are not a national of the country where the mission is situated. Under the Schengen Agreement, honorary consuls are not authorised to grant visas.

You should apply for a visa at a mission belonging to the Schengen country that is the main destination of your journey. If you cannot specify your main destination, you should apply at a mission belonging to the Schengen country you will enter first. In places where the diplomatic mission uses the services of a private company to collect visa applications, it is also always possible to apply for a visa directly at the diplomatic mission.

How do I apply for a visa?

The first step is to complete a visa application form. You should then go to the mission, taking the completed and signed application form and one passport photo (also if you are applying for an authorisation for temporary stay).

When submitting your application, you must be able to produce a travel document that will be valid for at least three months after your visa expires.

Contact nearest Netherlands embassy for more information

Disclaimer: The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only, in good faith. The use of this website is at the viewer/user’s sole risk. While every effort is made in presenting up-to-date and accurate information, no responsibility or liability is accepted by the owners to this website for any errors, omissions, outdated or misleading information on these pages or any site to which these pages connect or are linked.

Source & Copyright: The source of the above visa and immigration information and copyright owner/s is the:

– Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs – URL:
– Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education –

Note: We would recommend that after you finish reading this webpage, that you also contact the Netherlands embassy or consulate in your country, as visa issues may have changed.