Dutch American Friendship Treaty: 10 Step Guide to Getting the Self Employment Permit in the Netherlands

Life in Amsterdam

Moving to Europe is notoriously hard. As an American, I didn’t really pay attention to my international friends’ struggles of applying for permanent visas in the United States. When I decided that I wanted to move to the Netherlands long-term, I got to understand first hand the frustrations of being on the other side. Thankfully, if you wish to immigrate to the Netherlands, there’s something called the Dutch American Friendship Treaty which makes it relatively easy for you to obtain a self employment work permit.

I’m writing this with the desire that my experiences with obtaining the residence permit for self-employment under the Dutch American friendship treaty (DAFT) will also help other Americans who wish to also move to the Netherlands. Other blogs online helped me a lot as I went through the process, though I found that there is a lack of updated information about the process online. So, I’m hoping that my experiences in mid 2016 will help future residents from the USA in the Netherlands!

The process for obtaining a self-employment permit may seem long and daunting, but it’s totally manageable to do on your own (you really don’t need a lawyer!). If you are thinking about moving to the Netherlands and are American, it’s definitely the best option and totally worth doing.

How to Qualify with Dutch American Friendship Treaty

Have an American passport. Have 4,500 euro disposable income. And ideally some marketable skill.

It’s important to note that under the DAFT permit, you’re actually a freelancer. That means you work for yourself and you take on clients. You can’t be hired as an employee. Most companies are OK with that (actually many even prefer that due to tax and health insurance implications). Technically, no one client can contribute to more than 70% of your income.

Timeline

For me, the Dutch American Friendship Treaty process took a little more than 3 months, which is not bad at all as far as resident application processes go. Of this, it took me about 2 months between the time I initiated my application and submitted the complete application, and then another 1.5 months approximately to wait to hear back.

Contacting the IND

Throughout the process you’ll probably need to talk to the IND dozens of times.

Contact the IND if you have any questions about the DAFT application process. Depending on the time of the year, wait times when you call the IND can be very long. If you’re calling the IND, always budget at least an hour for your phone call to be safe. If you’re on prepaid phone plans in the Netherlands, it’s probably a lot cheaper to call using Skype – otherwise your balance will dwindle quickly with all those minutes you’re on hold with the IND!

A little known trick if you’re looking to just have a question answered is to directly tweet the IND. They always respond within 24 hours and it’s a quick, painless way to ask a question. You could also email the IND, but the response time is a lot slower (like 3 days) and I actually didn’t get a response back at all one of the times I sent an email. So Twitter is the way to go for quick questions about the process! When you tweet, mention the Dutch American Friendship Treaty.

Steps

Here are the 10 steps I followed to obtain my resident permit with DAFT.

  1. Arrive in the Netherlands.
  2. Find a house / somewhere that allows you to register. Some of my housing tips are outlined here.
  3. Register your address at the Gemeente and get your BSN. Call and make an appointment with the Gemeente in order to register your address. You have to bring your passport, proof of residence (either a lease or a note from the main resident certifying you live there), and an “apostilled birth certificate”. Now I actually did not bring in a birth certificate with an apostille – they said I can just obtain the apostille and submit my documents again within 6 months. I was able to go ahead and register anyway. It seems like nothing will happen if I don’t submit the proper documents? (Let’s hope I’m right…) You’re not registered yet until you have your IND meeting, so bring the form they give you to IND to sign. You need the Gemeente registration in order to get a BSN (burgerservicenummer) – which is like the omni powerful social security number in the Netherlands.
  4. Begin your application with the IND. Call and make an appointment with the IND. Mention the Dutch American Friendship Treaty. I was able to get an appointment for the same week. (Some of the other blogs suggested that wait times can be very long – it seems like they improved the process because the next available appointment date was within a couple days). Your appointment date needs to be before your visa-free 90 days run out!
    • At your appointment, bring your completed application form, passport, and fee (EUR 1293 at the time of my application. Ouch – but you got to pay it or leave!). Bring cash because they don’t accept non-Dutch cards there.
    • Your application will not be complete yet at this stage, but that is okay. You have time to submit all the documents.
    • IND puts a sticker in your passport, granting you the right to stay in the Netherlands for another 6 months as you wait for a decision.
    • You are allowed to work in the Netherlands as a self-employed individual at this point – the sticker & the IND lady said so!
    • NOTE: I realized afterwards that it actually makes more sense to do the IND appointment before the Gemeente appointment, this way you do not have to submit the registration form stamped by the IND back to the Gemeente. You can either bring this back physically or the IND can mail it back for you. This way you can get your BSN directly, instead of waiting for it to be mailed to your address!
  5. Get your KvK Registration & official extract. Go online and make an appointment with the KvK, which is the business registry of the Netherlands. Think of a name of your new business. Fill out the application form online (you need to translate your “business activity” to Dutch). At your appointment, bring your:
    • ID (passport)
    • Application form for a Sole Proprietorship. There’s also a digital version of the form when you get an appointment.
    • Proof of address (either you need a lease for your “office” address or just your proof of registration for your home address)
    • 50 euros application fee (cash or PIN – bring cash to be safe as many places don’t accept foreign cards)
    • Another 15 euros to get an official extract (remember to ask for this!) – this is what you need to submit to the IND
    • Congratulations, you now have your own company in the Netherlands!
  6. Apply for a Business Bank Account. I got an account with Rabobank.
    • Many blogs suggested going with ABN-AMRO as they are the only major bank to offer English banking services. However, to my frustration, every time I called ABN-AMRO to make an appointment (like 5 times) – I would always be waiting for a long time and in the end my call would get cut off. I was supposed to speak with an “US Persons” desk (because of the Patriot Act) but I never was successfully connected to them. Their staff also seems to not know what’s going on – they said I cannot get a business account until I’m an actual resident, which I’m pretty sure is not true.
    • Because I was unable to make an appointment with ABN-AMRO (who require appointments in order to create accounts) – I ended up just giving up and walking into Rabobank in Dam Square. There, they were able to set me up within half an hour. So far I highly recommend Rabobank!
  7. Deposit EUR 4500 into your business bank account & get bank statement.
    • After I received my business debit card from your bank, I was able to deposit the EUR 4500 “necessary investment” to my business via one of the cash machines at the Rabobank branch.
    • Obtain a bank statement of your balance. I printed off a copy of my Rabobank statement from the online banking portal showing my account balance. I also called Rabobank business division to ask for a stamped document “proof” of the validity of my account (they said they’re not allowed to write my balance on paper, but sent me an official looking letter “proving” that I do indeed hold an account). These two documents should suffice for the IND.
  8. Get your “balance sheet” done by a certified bookkeeper in the Netherlands. Most agencies in Amsterdam are very expensive – like 450 euros to prepare one piece of paper that takes them probably 10 minutes to fill out (if all your assets just consist of the 4500 euro investment you made to the business). However I was able to find one that charged only 95 euros per hour + tax who was based in a different city (total came out to 115 euros). We just did everything virtually via Skype. I can recommend him whole heartedly! His name is Wim Van Gessel.
  9. Write your business plan. [NOTE: This is NOT a requirement under DAFT, but good to have] It just needs to be one page, though I wrote two. You should describe what kind of business you are running, your fee structure, how you plan on obtaining clients, your qualifications, and the business opportunity. Best if you can say something about how your business cross promotes the US-Netherlands economy. Here’s mine.
  10. Submit and wait! Best to do this in person so they give you a receipt, though you can also mail it in. You don’t need to make an appointment – you can just go to the IND front desk.
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The Verdict

The IND will mail you a notice once you have been approved. The IND also sets an internal deadline for reviewing the application. If you don’t get a letter stating the deadline call them and ask what it is. Mine was September 7 – a little less than 3 months after I submitted my initial application. If you don’t get a decision, you can actually mail in a notice to hold the IND in default. When the IND is in default you can start getting paid for every day they miss the deadline by. Mailing in this notice also sets a fire under their chairs and gets them to make a decision more quickly! So if you don’t get a decision by the deadline, make sure you mail in the form (scroll down to the “IND does not decide in time” section).

I received a letter of my resident permit approval within a week after I mailed in the default form.

I had a bit of scare as the letter said to pick up the document within two months. At the time I was in NYC for work and didn’t plan to return to the Netherlands until 4 months later . Thankfully, the IND clarified that I just have to call again when I’m back and they will send the permit back to the right office.

With this permit, I can be out of the country up to 6 months in a year. When I’m out of the country I have to continue to be registered in the Netherlands and pay health insurance. The initial permit is for two years, after which I can renew it for 5 years. So now I am a proud resident of the Netherlands thanks to the Dutch American Friendship Treaty!

After Your Permit Arrives

But it’s not over! With a resident permit comes greater responsibility. There are certain things you can do and there are certain things you HAVE TO do once your resident permit comes through.

Health Insurance

In your application process, health insurance is not mandatory. For your own sake you should probably have some form of health insurance. I got travel insurance via InsureMyTrip.com… It’s very economical!

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Once you have your resident permit, though, you’re expected to have Dutch health insurance. You don’t have to get it immediately, but just know that once you get insurance, you’ll be charged from the day you become a resident. So might as well get it earlier rather than later! I went with the company OHRA.

Phone Plan

Until I became a resident, I had a Lebara prepaid SIM-card. Which wasn’t bad, but it was a bit of a pain in the butt to refill monthly and could get expensive if I accidentally use a lot of data.

After I became a resident, I was able to apply for a contract phone plan. Most phone companies in the Netherlands lock you into a one-year or two-year contract in order to have lower rates.

However, I found this company Ben.nl that allowed me to have month-by-month contracts, and it was still pretty cheap! I currently pay €14 a month for 100 min/sms & 2500mb of data on 3G (can upgrade to 4G for €1.50). There’s a one-time SIM card fee of €14.95. If you wanted less data, like 1500mb for example, it’d only be €10.50 total. A pretty good deal I have to say. I just applied online and within 2 business days I received my SIM card, ready to use.

If you decide to go with Ben.nl, please use my referral link so that you earn €8.25, and I also earn €8.25! 😉

Quarterly Taxes & Annual Income Tax

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for filing your own quarterly business tax declaration and your annual income tax declaration. DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS. If you want to appeal to the tax office, they’re not allowed to speak English to you. So, avoid making mistakes at all costs possible. The specifics of how actually to file your taxes is a whole nother beast, so I’ll save this topic for another post.


And there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions about the DAFT process, join the discussion below, and BEST OF LUCK!

112 Comment

  1. Tendelle,

    This post is SO helpful — thank you! I’m a writer moving to Amsterdam in January and am leaning towards applying for a freelance visa via the DAFT. I’ve been reading lots of different blog posts about the DAFT, but most are a few years old and are somewhat outdated, which made me nervous to rely on them because of how often things change — so this is just what I’ve been looking for. It’s also really great to hear that the IND told you that you could go ahead and start working as a self-employed individual before getting the “official” acceptance for the visa. Glad to hear you had such great success — hoping I will as well!

    Cheers,
    Ellen

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful! Yes I also found that most posts were a couple years old, which is why I decided to write one too =) If you have any questions while you go through the process, let me know and I’d be happy to help!

      On Sun, Nov 27, 2016 at 2:06 PM, Travel à la Tendelle wrote:

      >

      1. Thank you — that’s so nice, and I definitely will! The 1293 euros will definitely be hard to part with, but it seems to still be worth it. So you didn’t have a huge problem with using a non-“apostilled” birth certificate? I’m sitting here trying to research how to get a birth certificate apostilled… it seems so confusing! Agh!

        1. Yeah, its just a price you have to pay to live the Dutch life.. plus its nice to have the flexibility as a freelancer!
          Tbh, im not sure… i think its better if you have it ready, im not sure if it will be a problem for me in the future 😛

          1. Ellen Barnes says:

            Haha, I suppose I should just go ahead and do it while I’m still here — thanks for the advice. Any chance I could have your email address? I’d love to be able to hit you up if I have any further questions about the process (and that way I’m not spamming your blog post with a million comments!). Regardless, thanks again for your help!

          2. Yes! I have your email address from this comment, I will email you! 🙂

            On Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Travel à la Tendelle wrote:

            >

  2. Great article. Do you have any tips for step 2, apartment hunting? Did you use an estate agent?

    Cheers.

    1. Step 1 actually would be apartment hunting as you need an apartment in order to register at the city hall!
      Apartment hunting is hard in Amsterdam and most people find their place via Facebook groups. Yeah doesnt sound like something that happens in 2017, but it is …
      I’m not familiar with real estate agents in the city, but may be worth exploring if you want to find a place with less effort!

      1. Thanks for the advice! I just had a look and found a few FB groups.

        Cheers!

  3. Thank you so much for writing this post! I’ve been pouring over information on the self-employment visa in preparation for a move next year, but actually reading your account is a lot different from reading through a bunch of regulations and requirements.

    I have one question, if you don’t mind me asking. The whole independent long-term income requirement – do you need to have money equal to that yearly amount in your bank account during this process, or do you just need to show that you anticipate bringing in that much in freelance income?

    Certainly not planning on making the jump without savings, but curious as to what they’re specifically looking for with this. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Yes, I find that talking to people and reading blogs for step by step guides was a lot more helpful to reading the law 😛 Happy to help and pass the knowledge forward!
      I’m actually not sure what you mean by the independent long term income requirement. Are you asking about the 4,500 euros in your bank account requirement? You need to deposit that amount into your dutch business bank account as “capital” for your business. And you need to maintain that amount or higher for as long as you hold the self employment permit. So basically you deposit money and let it sit, and never let it dip below that. Is this what you’re asking about? If I have the question totally wrong, let me know!

      1. I’m so sorry that I was a bit unclear and thank you so much for the response. 🙂 What I am curious about is the sufficient long-term income requirement referenced here: https://ind.nl/en/Pages/income.aspx. Would I need the self employed amount they mention put into a bank account during this process, and is there a certain time period it needs to cover (I’ve seen 12 months thrown around as a figure). Thanks in advance once again. 🙂

      2. Hi Tiffany,
        When I applied 6 months ago, this was definitely not a requirement. However, the IND is always changing its rules.
        I just read from this page: https://ind.nl/en/work/Pages/Self-employed-person.aspx
        “You are going to earn a sufficient and independent long-term income from your activities as an independent entrepreneur. This should be evident from the business plan.”
        When I read the application form (https://ind.nl/en/Forms/7524.pdf), it makes no mention of the “sufficient and independent long-term income”. My intuition tells me that this only applies to people who are not applying under DAFT and have more stringent requirements. The business plan actually isn’t even a requirement under DAFT. But based on the text above, if you want to be safe, it seems like you can just include some estimated income that fulfill their income requirements in your business plan.
        The best way to get a definitive answer on this though is to call up the IND!

      3. Thank you so much. 🙂 I did end up reaching out the IND and they just look at past income and expected freelance income to determine that. It does seem like that doesn’t really apply to the self-employed situation, but in a year I’ll try and update whether anything went odd. Thank you again for all the help! 😀

  4. Hi Tendellem, great post. Thank you for taking your time to write it.

    I have a couple of questions.

    1. Do you know if the investment is higher than 4,500eu when you have 2 partners? Do you need to get 2 biz account? In the US we have LLC and we are two owners, two brothers.

    2. What happens if you do decide to use this money? I’m assuming it will harder to renew your resident permit after the initial 2 years.

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Kent,
      For your first question, I believe the article I wrote does not apply to your situation. The steps above are specifically for self-employed people, by definition you are not working with anyone, so it wouldn’t be a business with multiple owners. If you are each applying separately then yes you would need two accounts. I’m not sure what the requirements in your specific situation.
      On your second question, you’re not supposed to let your bank account dip below 4,500 on any day. If that happens, that can be grounds to refuse your permit renewal after two years. As part of the renewal process your accountant is supposed to certify that you have maintained this balance throughout the whole period.
      Sorry I can’t be more helpful in this! If you call the IND, they can probably give you the best answer.

  5. Hello Tendelle,

    Thank you for offering a wealth of information to prospective expats. I am currently in the process of writing my business plan and I wanted to know if there are any sections I am missing if it is based on your business plan. For example, the competitive advantage section usually requires a SWOT…

    The business plan you posted for this page, is this exactly what was accepted and approved under the DAFT?

    1. Hi! Yes, what I posted is exactly what I submitted to the IND.
      It’s important to know that the business plan isn’t actually a requirement to apply for the residence permit under DAFT. It’s “nice to have”. Many business plans I’ve seen written by Americans are very simple, just one page outlining what their business is, the market opportunity, how it helps Dutch & American commerce, etc.
      If you’re not applying with the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, then your business plan needs to be a lot more detailed!

  6. Hi Tendelle! Great article, thank you so much!

    I have a question for you as well – How do you stay registered while travelling to other countries 6 months out of the year? Do you have to pay for an apartment in the Netherlands for that time even if you are not staying in it?

    Thanks so much, once again!

    1. Hey! The answer is to have nice friends who let you register at their house 😉
      You could also rent an apartment and sublet it, and keep your registration active.

      1. Haha, makes total sense! 🙂 Thanks again for the amazing article! I’d love to buy you a coffee if you’ll be around in April (we have similar backgrounds – I also went to a top school and did the prestigious job thing before I left to go travelling)! Feel free to email me!

        1. happy to help! ill be back in the dam next week. let me know when you are in town, it would be great to connect 🙂 my email is tendelle@gmail.com

  7. Thanks for letting me. I will call them.
    One more question. Did you get an extension or 3 months were enough?

    Thanks,
    Kent

  8. Hi All! Thank you so much for your time in writing this tendelle! As for the apostilled birth certificate if you haven’t learned this already just get a birth certificate directly from your state of birth and it will automatically be apostilled. I’m sure every state is different but this is how it works in California. If I get my birth certificate from the county registrar then it won’t be apostilled, but if I order one directly from the capital it is apostilled. A birth certificate from California apostilled looks like this at the bottom: http://apostilledoc.org/images/Do-it-Yourself-Guide/California/05.png Good luck!

    1. Robert,

      Interesting! I will add that in the state of Georgia, I had to 1) obtain an official copy of my birth certificate and then 2) either mail it or take it in person to the official “Apostille” office in Atlanta to be “stamped” (https://www.gsccca.org/notary-and-apostilles/apostilles/general-apostille-information). So make sure you check your state — wish I were from Cali!

    2. Hey Robert! Thanks a lot for the info – I did not know this. Do you mean to order it directly from CDPH? Following the process here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Pages/CertifiedCopiesofBirthDeathRecords.aspx

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        Yes, that’s what I did and it come with an acceptable apostille. However, I’ve also read if you order from the county you can get this as well in California but I”m not sure. The safest would be to get it directly from the state so you’re guaranteed the signature.

  9. This blog is great, thank you for it. Quick question, do you happen to know if through DAFT, as a freelancer, it’s possible to work as a freelancer in other Schengen / EU countries. For example, if a short term contract for work comes in Paris, could I accept that job under the requirements set forth with my ability to work self employed under DAFT? Thanks.

    1. Yes, you can! However generally i think people try to have at least one Dutch client to maximize your chances of getting approved for permit renewal.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply Tendelle. One other quick question. In the form 7524, with the Appendix – Declaration on income of self-employed person, is that a requirement to be filled out when handed into the IND or does it not need to be filled out if one is applying through DAFT. Is that what you are referring to as a balance sheet? And if I’m only starting my business now and don’t have much prior proof of income through, for example a similar self-employed business based in the states, will that be an issue? Thank you!

        1. That section is not required under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty. As you can see on page 3 of the application, that appendix form is listed under the requirements of a “Self Employed Person” on the left hand column, but not under the section on the right hand column “Self-employed, based upon the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty (453) or the Dutch-Japanese Trade Agreement (510). You have USA or Japanese nationality.”

  10. I just tried to open a business account with ABN AMRO and they told me the same thing, i.e., I cannot open one without a residence permit. Of course, it didn’t matter to them that I can’t get a residence permit without first getting a business account.

    1. sometimes u gotta call a couple times and reach someone who will let you 😛 but i ended up giving up on ABN, go for ING or Rabobank

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        I’m definitely going with Rabo and I already have a German bank account I can just transfer the money from, yeyah.

  11. Hi Tendelle,

    Obviously great blog and yes very timely. I don’t think that “Thank You” quite covers it, but a YUGE thanks from those of us looking for help and a way out.

    My situation is very complicated and layered. Im married, 4 kids & one if those are in a same sex relationship.

    I’ve got the Self Employed thing down pat, but was wondering what your thoughts might be on our family unit owning-buying a store? We’d combine our skillsets & offer consulting, catering & teaching products.

    From your post:
    “It’s important to note that under the permit, you’re actually a freelancer. That means you work for yourself and you take on clients. You can’t be hired as an employee. Most companies are OK with that (actually many even prefer that due to tax and health insurance implications).”

    Im just very curious on your interpretation of Self Employed??

    Huge thanks and please know your efforts are going to help thousands!

    Marty Hanks

    1. Hi Marty,
      Sorry about the slow response – I somehow missed your comment. With the DAFT, you can totally set up your own business. Buying a business and running that falls within the jurisdiction!
      I don’t have experience with bringing family members into the country with the permit, but after some research it seems like as long as one of you has a resident permit, then you can bring family. However it appears that children need to be under the age of 18. The rules and application for family are outlined here by the IND: https://ind.nl/EN/Documents/3085.pdf
      Also found this third party site that confirms that you’d be able to bring family.
      https://www.everaert.nl/en/desks/america/269-starting-a-business-in-the-netherlands-dutch-american-friendship-treaty-daft-amerika-desk
      I suggest you call the IND and explain your situation – they’d be able to tell you what the rules are!

      1. Thank You so much!

        We will do all that and my wife also found an xpat lawyer there if things get to complicated. Says he’s the only American practacing law there working with DAFT applications.

        We will have to get “Creative” for sure given there are 7 of us, but all of your help & guidence is amazing. Greatly appreciated….now if only we went dancing! 😉

        1. Where there’s a will there’s a way! 😉
          I was also recommended this lawyer who specializes in American immigration, by a fellow American friend who has a company here. Don’t know if it’s the same guy? Might be worth getting in touch if not, to have some options!
          Jeremy Bierbach

      2. Ok we will save his name too.
        Here is the group “claiming” to be only xpat law firm there. So i guess his angle is “been there & done that” and im also American.
        http://expatlaw.nl/about_expatlaw.htm

        For folks with complicated applications both options might be helpful. 😉 Im guessing both will have a database of contacts to help folks too.

        If we get squared away & this works for us ill be sure to give you some of our special honey products as a Thank You!

        Cheers

  12. bobconlustro says: Reply

    It states on the IND website: “Send the application form together with the required documents to the IND by post.” Should I make an appointment anyway and hand in the application in person?

    1. If you’re already in the Netherlands and can wait 1-2 weeks for the appointment (because usually they don’t have immediate availability), then I’d highly recommend handing in the application physically. This way you a chance to ask questions, get a receipt immediately for your submission, also most importantly get a sticker on your passport that allows you to extend your legal stay by another 6 months! They’ll also fingerprint you and take your photo.

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        Okay awesome, so you were able to get finger printed and your photo taken when you brought your application in for the first time? Do they take your picture for you too or do you need to bring in a passport photo?

        1. yes! they take your picture

  13. bobconlustro says: Reply

    For number 8 is that the: “Appendix Declaration on income of self-employed person” section of the application? Is it required to fill in the section as an American? It doesn’t look like it in the list of requirements for the Dutch American Friendship Treaty. I only see this: “in case of a sole trader: a bank statement from the enterprise showing the invested amount and the opening balance”.

    1. Nope, it is not required! So thankful for DAFT 😛

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        Whoa, why did you do it then may I ask? I know so thankful that I’ve found an easier way to live in Europe! It’s not so easy for us yanks.

      2. I didn’t fill in the declaration on income of self employed person! Does it seem like I did? Should probably fix my writing somewhere if so, so that I don’t confuse other people… :p

    2. Ah, number 8 is indeed “in case of a sole trader: a bank statement from the enterprise showing the invested amount and the opening balance”
      You need to obtain a statement from your bank showing the 4500 EUR and also get your balance sheet made, certified by a dutch accountant or bookkeeper

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        Under the Dutch-American-Japanese Friendship Treaty it only states: “in case of a sole trader: a bank statement from the enterprise showing the invested amount and the opening balance” and without the Friendship Treaty/for muggles it states: “a completed and signed ‘Declaration of income of self-employed person appendix’ with the appendices demanded therein” and only in that appendix does it require a finical professional, but that isn’t required under the Friendship Treaty. Did you verify that it was indeed required for you?

        1. yeah i did, i know its not clear from the application but i triple checked! 🙂

  14. bobconlustro says: Reply

    Okay thanks, I’ll make sure I get it done.

  15. When do you need to prove that you have Dutch health insurance during the process?

    1. you dont need to. you only need it after u become a resident

  16. Just wanted to post an update about business accounts. I physically went into both ABN AMRO and Rabobank at Dam and both of them rejected me. So, out of desperation I made a business account with a new NL bank called “bunq”. Just had to sign up online and the whole process took like 10 minutes.

    I was worried that IND wouldn’t accept this new fangled bank account, and sure enough the IND lady said that my copy of the business bank account (which is just a screenshot from my phone) was not likely acceptable. Nevertheless, she took my application anyway.

    A few days later, I received a letter from IND saying that my residence permit has been approved.

    TL;DR: if you have trouble creating a business account, you can get one from a new NL bank called “bunq” very easily and it only costs 1 euro per month.

    1. What?! That’s wild! And congrats! So did you have to get an accountant to check your balance? And you received a decision within DAYS?!

      1. Yeah, I used your accountant Mr. van Gessel lol.

        I was quite surprised to get approved in a few days. I was kinda freaking out about my status because I only have another month left on my temporary permit.

      2. BTW, do you have your Dutch driver’s license yet? I went into the Gemeente office today and they told me a lot of conflicting information vs. what I found online. Would appreciate some guidance on this if you’ve done it already.

        1. Hey Paul, unfortunately, I don’t even know how to drive .. lol

          On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 1:59 PM, Travel à la Tendelle wrote:

          >

    2. Wow bunq looks awesome! These types of banks are definitely the future of banking. Thanks for the tip.

    3. Does the app allow you to download a pdf or something you can print to show your bank statement? I mean a screenshot worked for you but I’m just curious.

      1. If it exists, I haven’t seen it, however, I don’t spend much time with the app.

    4. Paul, you got approved within days?

      How long was the whole process from start to getting your permit?

      Have any recommendations for finding a place to rent?

      Thanks

  17. bobconlustro says: Reply

    Since you only need to live in Holland for 6 months out of the year did the the IND say another about living in a different EU country for the other 6 months and what that entails?

    1. If you want to live in another EU country (that’s not Uk, etc) there’s nothing stopping you, since there is no border control anyway! I believe you’re not supposed to deregister from your Dutch address, though, and you need to continue having dutch health insurance. Call the IND though if in doubt.

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        My thoughts exactly and I have no problem keeping an apartment in Amsterdam.

        1. no problem then 😉

  18. Tendelle –

    Just a quick question. I’m going to apply for DAFT within the next few weeks. In regards to this step – ‘Get your “balance sheet” done by a certified bookkeeper in the Netherlands’ – is this a requirement to be handed in with my IND application? And if so, what does this balance sheet consist of, if my only assets will be initial required 4500 EUR investment into my business bank acct? Is there a certain document I need to write up or a particular document I need to ask for from an accountant? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello! Yes, this is a requirement by the IND. I’ve triple checked with the IND about this last year. Your accountant will make the balance sheet for you as long as you send them your business bank statement showing that you have 4500EUR in the bank.

      1. Okay, thanks for this Tendelle, much appreciated and your blog is an excellent resource! I’ll check out the guy your recommend as well!!

  19. In your original application did you fill out section: Appendix Declaration on income of self-employed person? Is this just for knowing if you can support yourself? Does this apply to the Dutch business you’re creating or another business you may already have?

    1. nope, this is not needed under DAFT

      1. Super sweet, thank you!

  20. For the KvK’s sole proprietorship application I see that there is a Dutch and English version, do I need to fill out both and have it translated into Dutch or just the business activity section? You stated that you can fill this out online, is that correct? Or do I need to print it out?

    1. Yes you can fill it online. You just need to fill out one version. for your business activity box it should be in dutch, but it can be super simple. if u need help the kvk employees are happy to help

  21. Do you have the link where I can fill it out online? I couldn’t find it on the website anywhere.

    1. it is in dutch but u can reference the english language form, the questions are the same https://www.kvk.nl/inschrijven-en-wijzigen/inschrijven-onderneming-eenmanszaak/

      1. bobconlustro says: Reply

        Awesome, is that what you did? Or did you print?

        1. yup i did it online

  22. bobconlustro says: Reply

    Hey tendelle just to clarify something, did you hand in your birth certificate but the certificate did not have an apostille or you didn’t hand in any birth certificate? And have you resubmitted yet?

  23. Super helpful article. Moving July 1st so this is great. I am a Canadian born American citizen and passport holder – do you know if that will affect my eligibility for qualifying under the DAFT? I worry since they ask for not only passport but birth certificate! Not sure if you’ve known anyone with similar circumstances to mine.

    1. That is fine as long as you have an american passport 🙂

      1. Thank you! Do you happen to have a link to the first form required to be filled out and brought to the IND? I can’t seem to find it. You’re awesome.

        1. https://ind.nl/en/Forms/7524.pdf

          On Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 4:40 AM, Travel à la Tendelle wrote:

          >

  24. Thanks for all the detailed information. My question for you is did you submit the business plan to both the IND and the KvK or just to the IND? Did they follow-up with any questions?

    1. Hi Sarah, only to the IND. They did not follow up with questions.

  25. Dear Tendelle,

    Thanks for the information! I am wondering – with DAFT, do you have to file taxes in both the US and Netherlands? And if so, how did you go about doing it? (i.e. with a tax consultant)

    Best,

    M

    1. Hello! Yes, indeed you have to file taxes in both the US and the Netherlands. I haven’t filed my taxes yet but it is probably best to go with a tax consultant for your NL filing to avoid making mistakes (the whole process is in Dutch). Still trying to figure out the US taxes, but unless you make more than 90k or so, you shouldn’t have to pay anything

  26. Hi Tendelle,

    Great post! I have question about working under a DAFT visa. I’ve received my resident permit via DAFT, but my business is not consistent with income. You mentioned something about working for other companies so long as they’re not more than 70% of your income. I was thinking of getting a part-time job to help our income situation, especially because we’ll be moving out at the end of summer and I need better income to find a place. Please let me know if it is okay to work for another company with the condition you stated. Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Sherri,
      Yes, of course it is ok to take on another client part time! As long as you are a contractor that that company it is fine.

  27. Hi!
    Do you have any follow up about tax implications? I’m considering applying for a DAFT visa and just wanted to get an idea of what I’m getting myself into.
    Also, how much does Dutch health insurance cost per month/year?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Mei,
      Are you asking about dutch taxes or american taxes? There is a treaty between the two countries preventing double taxes. However I haven’t filed my taxes yet so I can’t give a definitive answer on the process. Health insurance costs about 82 euros a month I think for the very basic coverage without dental. I use OHRA, they have an easy interface for you to estimate your health insurance cost. If your income is below a certain level you can also apply to zortoeslag which is a subsidy for health insurance from the dutch gov

  28. H Tendelle,
    This is a very helpful article. Just out of curiousity do you have to apply whilst in the country? Are you able to apply in the US? I’m not planning to go until next year but wasn’t sure if I could do some of this while still in the US. Thanks!

    1. Hey Celeste, you can’t do much actually, you could mail in your application to the IND to initiate the process or call before you arrive to make an appointment at the IND, but you have to be there physically at the Gemeente to register, and then also for the KvK…

  29. For people trying to open a Dutch Bank Account, check out Bunq.com. It is an online Dutch bank and you can open a personal and business bank account on your phone in 5 minutes without a Dutch identity number. You can just use your US SSN to verify your identity. So much easier than ABN or ING.

    1. Bunq is really good yeah, I ended up getting a personal bank account with them too. Highly recommended!

  30. BOBCONLUSTRO says: Reply

    A business plan should be considered mandatory not optional. It takes about 7 or 8 business days to get your BSN in the mail from the Gemeente.

    1. Thanks for the additional info! Yes, I highly recommend sending a business plan as well, it can only help you.

  31. Hi Tendelle!
    Quick Question: In #4 you say “At your appointment, bring your completed application form…” can you link me to the application form you’re referencing? (Or did I miss it?)
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lolly,
      Here’s the form! https://ind.nl/en/Forms/7524.pdf

  32. Hi Tendelle!

    I currently work for a large multinational corporation in Seattle, WA and I’ve made the decision to quit my job and relocate to the Netherlands in September 2017. Although I have a bachelors degree and 3 years of professional work experience, I am having a hard time trying to get offers for job interviews in the Netherlands. I’ve applied for over 100 positions and I’ve also signed up with recruitment agencies in NL, but I am finding that a lot of employers don’t want to go through the process of visa sponsorship.

    I have a strong desire to live in the Netherlands, since I’ve visited serval times and love the country and culture. I am trying to figure out the easiest way to legally live and work there. I was thinking about opening up an online business selling merchandise on Amazon. Do you know if I would qualify for residency in the Netherlands having an online business or do I need to have a physical store front?

    How did you find a landlord that was willing to rent to you without having a residency or a work permit?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jamila,
      You could do that but you might have trouble getting approved, because you wouldn’t specifically have Dutch clients. On your application it is best to present a business plan that promotes US-Dutch commerce, and best for you to show that you plan to have dutch clients.
      As for housing, I didn’t run into problems not having residency or work permit. As I’ve looked for share houses where I’m not the primary tenant, it hasn’t been a problem.

  33. This may seem a strange question to most…I’ve not seen it asked before.
    I’m a US citizen and a widow and not rich…here goes.. I”m 66 years of age.
    For years I’ve been interested in DAFT, and now find I don’t need to consider anyone but myself.
    Have you seen anyone my age use DAFT?
    Don’t laugh, I have social security and some savings and I do understand the need to keep the required amount in a business account.
    There are many of us in my age group who aren’t ready to lie down and accept life as it is, we’re ready for an adventure and also to work.
    As I mentioned I know it may seem strange to many of you who are quite a bit younger.
    Any comments?

    1. Hi Brooke,
      I think you should definitely go for it!!! If you have a strong business plan and experience, I don’t see why they wouldn’t approve you. And as far as I see, there’s no age limit in the rules (although you might want to call IND to be sure). Good luck!!

  34. Hi again!
    Thanks for your help. I am just about to submit the remaining documents to the IND. Would you be able to send me the link regarding filing taxes as a freelancer here? The KVK mentioned it can be done electronically with a login and password they provide? I was also told the fine for not filing it 5,000 euros! Yikes!

    1. Hey Britt, This is where you file taxes
      https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/home/home
      specifically this portal:
      https://mijn.belastingdienst.nl/AuthenticatieVoorziening/toonServiceBerichten.do
      But before that you need to request a DigiD to be mailed to your home. Good luck!

  35. Hi. This is amazing. Two questions: 1) During the six-month extension (IND sticker in the passport) period, are you technically-allowed to visit other EU countries? (See my note* below). It seems like during that period you could travel (carefully, i.e. don’t get into fights with police) inside the Schengen Zone but only exit and enter the ‘Zone in the NL. 2) At what point were you able to travel within the EU but also directly to and from e.g. Ukraine, Turkey, etc? When you got the Residence Permit? Seems that would be the case. Thanks!

    *I’ve lived in Europe a number of years recently and there ARE occasional passport checks, for example there was a huge, high-profile conference in Copenhagen in 2009, and I assume some Schengen-exception allowed border officials to check people entering the country if they had reasonable suspicion if they’re coming to do some illegal activity. Also once when returning to Germany on a coach-ferry trip from Denmark everyone on the bus was checked because they were apparently looking more generally for e.g. Russians who crossed the border illegally in Norway and headed south — or they might have been looking for someone specific but in any case the DID check our passports. All the German border police – at least a few years ago – had a bad habit of racial profiling people coming in on trains from Prague towards Dresden.

    1. I have no idea unfortunately. You might want to call the IND to find out directly? I did exit during this time through Copenhagen, they asked to see my documents (as I was over the 3 month time limit) – I showed them my sticker and explained what it was, and they let me leave (even though they couldn’t read it, it’s in dutch).

  36. Hiya, first off thank you so much for taking the time to answer all the different comments/questions left for you. That is rare to find! Many of the questions/answers helped to answer some of my questions before I asked 🙂 cheers to that lol. One question I have is, can I apply for the DAFT from any part of the Netherlands. I ask because I think I would like to live somewhere where it’s a little cheaper per month for rentals etc. Or am I only allowed register a flat in/around Amsterdam? One other question is finding flats that allow pets. I have a cat and dog … do you have a recommendation pertaining to that. I’ve been googling apartment finders but it’s not the best to sort through. Thank you in advance, Cheers, Lisa Marie

    1. Hey Lisa Marie, yes you can apply from any part of the Netherlands! It is the “Dutch-American” friendship treaty after all 🙂 Good plan to live outside the city and find a cheaper place. I don’t really have experience with pets in the Netherlands, I think it’s something that just needs to be negotiated with the owner. Good luck!

  37. I got my residents permit, and I’d like to share a couple things that I experienced. First off I did not write or submit a business plan, I only used the very short summary of my business that I submitted to the KvK. The IND did ask to make a copy of the KvK document I submitted because they said they wanted to see at least something. I also did the step by step as originally laid out by you Tendelle, I didn’t use the revision and I’m not so sure you can because the IND specifically wanted my Gementee registration form when I went to my IND appointment so I’m glad I did the Gementee first. The Gementee didn’t even ask me for my birth certificate which I didn’t have. It took about 7 or 8 working days for me to get my BSN in the mail but after that everything went smoothly until I reached out to Wim Van Gessel which never responded back to an email I sent to him so unlike you Tendelle I can’t recommend him. I found another accounting firm in Amsterdam and they were able to see me very quickly. However they tried to charge me almost double which was 220 euros plus VAT from what they originally stated which was only 120 euros. I talked them into charging me the original amount thought so it was fine at the end. Just call around the city you’re in and ask how much they charge, and then maybe have them send you a quote by email or when you go in have them write it down somewhere, you should’ve have a problem finding a firm that will do it for around 120 euros.

    At the IND appointment I was only told that the Gementee needed to be sent the signed and stamped form the IND and that I needed to bring in my bank statement when I got it and that was it, they didn’t tell me they needed my balance sheet or anything else, but I gave it to them anyway. Then after about one and a half months waiting I called in and asked for my application status and they told me it was still being reviewed and gave me my deadline date which was still about a month off. After a couple more weeks I received the approval letter in the mail before the deadline. So all is good and I got my 2 year permit!

    I don’t see why anyone that reads this would go through any other bank than bunq, Thanks Paul! it is an amazing app and incredibly easy to get an account with them. All you need is your BSN number and Dutch address. You can download a pdf of your bank statement which is what I used to submit to the IND right after you make your deposit. Super easy.

    Thank you again Tendelle! You’ve really done a cool thing here and helped a lot of people 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for all the great info! If you don’t mind me asking, what is your business?

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