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The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, also known as DAFT or Dutch American Residency Treaty, is an agreement between the United States and the Netherlands concerning friendship, commerce and navigation, together with a protocol and an exchange of notes relating thereto. It was signed at The Hague on March 27, 1956.

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty is only applicable if you are a citizen of USA.

Any service or trade is basically welcome in The Netherlands under the DAFT, except licensed professionals such as attorneys, doctors and notaries. This treaty allows self-employed Americans the opportunity to move their business or to create a new branch of the business to The Netherlands.

Yes, they will get the same residence permit as you, the self-employed American. However, neither you nor anyone in your family can participate in the Dutch labor market. You and your wife and/or kids can’t go find a job.

If you have lawfully lived in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of 5 years and you have a valid residence, you and your family can apply for a permanent residence permit. After 5 years you and your family will gain a permanent Dutch residence permit and the labor rules will change: you and your family are fully free on the Dutch labor market.

This is possible after 5 years of permanent stay in the Netherlands and when you have pass the integration or citizenship exam, which all immigrants must take in order to gain Dutch nationality.

The residence permit for stay as an entrepreneur will initially be issued by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (the IND) for a maximum period of 2 years. After this 2 years you must renew and you will get a new residence permit valid for 5 years. The residence permit will also be endorsed to say that the residence permit can be withdrawn if the applicant applies for public welfare benefits.

The fees are EUR 1279,00 per applicant. These fees are tax deductible.

You can stay in the Netherlands for 3 months as a tourist without a residence permit.

Officially the application may take for 6 months. However, in general it takes between 2 or 3 months after the filing date.

Once you get your residence permit you are also be able to apply for Dutch basic health insurance, which costs you around EUR 100,00 per month.

The financial requirements for American entrepreneurs, setting up a sole proprietorship, are a minimal capital investment of EUR 4.500 in a Dutch business bank account. A partnership or a limited corporation (Besloten Vennootschap, BV) would require at least 25% of the capital and a minimum of EUR 4.500. In the case of a public corporation (Naamloze Vennootschap, NV), there must be at least 25% of the placed capital, amounting to a minimum of EUR 11.250. These minimum funds may not being borrowed.

In order to apply successfully for a Dutch residence permit under the DAFT, the following conditions should be met:

  • You start a new business, invest in an existing business, or establish a branch office of an American company, or you follow a profession in the Netherlands;
  • Show a certification that the required capital investment has been deposited in a Dutch business bank account;
  • You must maintain the capital investment for at least 4 years;
  • You must register a qualifying company at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce;
  • You have to obtain a Dutch tax number (BSN or Burger Service Nummer);
  • You have to sign up for Dutch health insurance;
  • You have a valid passport;
  • You must register at a local municipality in the Netherlands;
  • You are not a risk to public order or national security;
  • You have sufficient and long-term means of financial support;
  • You have not previously stayed in the Netherlands without a legal status;
  • You have not given false information in or withheld important information from any previous applications.

Yes, this is possible but as a holder of a residence permit for work on a self-employed basis you are allowed to work in the Netherlands (other than on a self-employed basis) if the employer has a work permit (TWV). This means that you are only allowed to work if your employer holds a TWV in your name. It also means that you are only allowed to work on a self-employed basis without a TWV to practice your profession or set up your business as submitted for the residence permit. For other employment, your employer needs to have a TWV for you.

There are no guarantees, but Hofstaete Law Firm will help navigate you through the DAFT immigration laws and procedures. Thanks to its large network in the Netherlands, our law firm can also help you find the right supplier for other services or products you need, such as a bookkeeper, an accountant or tax advisor.