Right now, many cities in the EU have exciting tech scenes. While London and Berlin may be the most prominent destinations for developers looking to work with startups, the Netherlands is fast becoming an attractive destination. Understanding the Dutch visa process for developers is important for those looking to work in the city.

Honeypot is already active in the Netherlands, matching companies and developers. We strive to make it as easy as possible for you to get the job you want, providing you with clear information on how to navigate what can sometimes be a confusing and time consuming Visa process for non-EU citizens.

Honeypot offers free visa support in the Netherlands for companies and developers. As a first step, we recommend reading our simple guide to the Netherlands Visa application process.

Checklist for Companies to Complete a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa for Developers in the Netherlands

Citizens of EU / EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a residence permit to live and work in the Netherlands. Companies who are hiring developers from other countries must be recognized as a sponsor, which is a pretty simple process. They can then begin the procedure for getting developers the residence permit.

1. Become a sponsor: For detailed information on the process of becoming a sponsor check the Immigrationa and Naturalization (IND) site. Here are the basic steps you must take:

  • Meet Required Conditions: To become a recognised sponsor you must first make sure that your organisation meets the required conditions, which can be found on the IND website. All prospective sponsors must be registered in the trade register, have no issues with bankruptcy or debt payment, and anyone involved with the organisation must be deemed trustworthy. Further specific requirements may apply depending the nature of your organisation.

  • Fill in the form and pay a fee: On the same website you will find the application form which you must complete and send to the IND, along with the required fee. The IND will begin the process once the fee has been paid. The fee for this process is €2,638 for startups and small businesses with no more than 50 employees, and €5,276 for larger companies.

  • Include VOG: The IND may request a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct). Companies must apply for a VOG RP (Certificate of Good Conduct for Legal Entities), via the Ministry of Security and Justice. This certificate examines your company’s corporate compliance with criminal law. The fee for this process is €207.

  • Receive confirmation from IND: Once the IND has made a decision you will receive written notice. This usually happens within four weeks of your application.

2. Figure out if your developer needs an Entry Permit

  • Depending on which country the developer comes from, you may need to prepare a provisional residence permit, Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf, or MVV for short. It is an entry permit that allows the developer to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident rather than a tourist. It will allow the developer to travel to the Netherlands to collect their residence permit from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

  • Residence Permit Only:

    • The developer does not need an entry permit (MVV) in the following cases: If they already hold a residence permit in another country that is part of the Schengen area; if they already hold a residence permit/Blue Card for 18 months in another EC state; if they are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America or the Vatican City.

    • If the developer is exempt from the entry permit (MVV) requirement, you can apply for a residence permit while the developer is still abroad or once they arrive in the Netherlands.

    • You will need to fill in this form.

  • Entry Permit (MVV) & Residence Permit:

    • If the developer is a non-EU national and not from the countries listed above, they will need an entry permit (MVV) to enter the Netherlands, plus a residence permit.

    • You can apply for the entry permit (MVV) and residence permit in a single application via the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). Once you complete it, you must submit it to the IND.

3. Submit forms & fees

  • Most times, developers fall into the highly-skilled migrant category. To be eligible for this, developers must meet certain income requirements:
    • Highly skilled migrants from the age of 30: €4,324 gross per month excluding holiday allowance
    • Highly skilled migrants younger than 30: €3,170 gross per month excluding holiday allowance
    • International graduates who started working as a highly skilled migrant during their orientation year: €2,272 gross per month excluding holiday allowance
  • The processing fee is €926. This fee is covered by Honeypot if you hire a developer over the platform.

  • The IND will send a letter confirming the receipt of the application and state the time period within which it will make a decision (The IND must make a decision on the application within 90 days).

4. Collect the documents

  • If all conditions are met and the IND approves the application they will grant the MVV and residence permit. The IND will also inform the Dutch representation in the employee’s country. Once collected the employee can travel to the Netherlands. Within two weeks of arrival the employee should be issued with the residence permit which now entitles them to work!

Checklist for developers for the Dutch Highly Skilled Migrant Visa

As a developer, you are eligible for the fast-track highly skilled migrants programme. To qualify as a highly skilled migrant, you must earn over a certain level of income and your employer must also be an IND recognised sponsor. For those under 30 years old, the minimum salary for qualification is €3,170; for those older than 30, it’s €4,324.

  1. Send the required documents and application form to your employer. Documents must be translated to either Dutch, English, French, or German. Your employer will then begin the entry permit (MVV) and residence permit application process with the IND. The MVV is not necessary if you are a national of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the USA or Vatican City.

  2. Once the IND has received the application from your employer they will make a decision within 90 days. Once approved, you must make an appointment to collect your Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) from the Dutch representative which was listed on your application. This must be collected within 3 months, and your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of collection.

  3. Travel to the Netherlands! Your MVV is valid for 90 days. Once in the Netherlands you will be notified of when to collect your Residence Permit. This usually happens within two weeks.

  4. Get to work! You are now legally entitled to work in the Netherlands, but there are some small tasks that must be completed now that you are resident. You must:

After Arrival

Register with the Municipality in which you are going to live. For this you will need a legalised and translated birth certificate so don’t forget to bring this with you to the Netherlands! You must also take a TB test within three months of arriving in the country and take out health insurance within four months of arriving.

Extra Resources


Jelle Groot

Jelle Groot

Jelle is Honeypot's Market Manager for the Netherlands. Jelle left his career in finance to join the fast-paced world of startups. He likes to try to be creative in both the kitchen and on the football pitch (both with mixed results).