Q: I heard that I just have to put the 4500 euros in a bank account, and then I can take it out or spend it on business expenses, is that true?

A: No. You must maintain your investment at all times. So this is not money you will be spending as part of your procedure or on your business, but you do have to be able to afford to miss it while you keep it in the bank. Your first residence permit will be valid for 2 years, then you have to file a renewal with which you show that you maintained your investment and that your Dutch business is active. After that, you will have to prove that again at renewal time every 5 years. (Of course, we will also advise you on how you can get a permanent and unconditional right to stay in the Netherlands, with no investment requirement, after you have been here for a total of 5 years! You will have to be motivated to learn Dutch so that you can pass an exam.)

Q: Can I apply for jobs with this residence permit?

A: With this residence permit, as a rule, you are not allowed to work in salaried employment. You can only work on a self-employed basis, meaning on the basis of sending invoices to a reasonably diverse number of customers inside or outside the EU or having a retail operation. However, if in the course of living here you find a Dutch company that wants to employ you for a high-skilled job (for which there is usually a minimum salary requirement), that company is free to sponsor you for a change of your residence permit to one for the purpose of employment, and you will still be allowed to work in self-employment on the side.

Q: I don’t have much entrepreneurial experience, will that be a problem?

A: That doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem, if you feel confident that you can find customers for your freelance work– you don’t even necessarily have to find customers in the Netherlands. However, it is very important to learn good administrative practices, including keeping good track of all of your invoices and expenses, and either working on a cash-free basis (payments in the Netherlands are generally made by electronic bank transfer) or very carefully accounting for all cash transactions. As a business owner, you will have business tax obligations, such as filing value added tax (VAT) statements with the Dutch tax authority on a quarterly basis. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines. If you do not speak Dutch and are unsure if you can handle these obligations, we will advise you not to spare the expense of having a Dutch bookkeeper take care of these filings for you.

Q: Can I live in other countries in the EU with this residence permit?

A: No. Immigration of non-EU citizens to the EU still only works on a country-by-country basis. This residence permit will only allow you to live in the Netherlands, including having the right (and the obligation) to have full health insurance coverage in the Netherlands. However, your residence permit does function as a visitor visa for the entire Schengen Area, meaning you can travel freely in other Schengen countries. Also, your Dutch business, as an EU-based company, is free to provide services in other EU member states, meaning that as its owner, you can go to other EU member states to service contracts your business has there, as long as those business-to-business contracts are clearly documented as such.