When you receive a job offer from an employer in the Netherlands, you can start a relocation process and come to the country. It’s generally recommended to obtain a job offer before arriving in the Netherlands, especially if you’re not an EU citizen.
IT companies in the Netherlands have attractive working conditions. Many of them offer generous relocation packages and visa sponsorship to foreign tech workers. Here’s an example of a typical job offer in a Dutch company that relocates employees from abroad:
- Unlimited employment contract
- 2 months’ trial period
- 40 working hours per week
- 25 days of vacation per year
- 30% ruling
- Visa sponsorship for the whole family
- One-way tickets for the whole family
- Reimbursement of costs associated with the transportation of personal belongings to the Netherlands
- Payment for temporary housing for the first month
- Assistance in finding a long-term apartment
- Assistance in opening a bank account in the Netherlands
- Assistance in filing the first tax return
Such a relocation package is estimated at €10,000. If you decide to quit in the first 18 months, you’re normally obliged to refund half of the cost of your relocation package, or a quarter if you quit within 18 to 24 months. In other words, quitting in the first 2 years is expensive. However, if you’re fired at the initiative of your employer, you may be relocated back to your home country for free.
Although your job offer may be different, don’t hesitate to negotiate and ask your employer for any additional help.
The process of job relocation to the Netherlands consists of several steps.
1. Apply for a visa and residence permit
If you come from outside the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the US, you will need to obtain a long-stay visa (“machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf”, MVV) before you travel to the Netherlands. And to work in the country for more than 3 months, you also must obtain a residence permit.
You can apply for an MVV visa in person at a Dutch embassy or consulate closest to you, or your employer can apply on your behalf in the Netherlands’ Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). However, you can’t apply for a residence permit yourself — your employer should apply on your behalf at the IND.
Your spouse, partner, and children under 18 can also apply for residence permits with you.
IT specialists usually obtain one of the three kinds of residence permits:
- Intra Corporate Transferees: you have worked for at least 3 months at a company established outside the European Union and you’re transferred to a branch in the Netherlands.
- Highly Skilled Migrant (Kennismigrant): you’re going to work in a high-level position with a minimum monthly salary of €3,381 (if you’re younger than 30) or €4,612 before tax (if you’re 30 or older). Your employer must be on IND’s list of recognized sponsors.
- EU Blue Card: you’re a high-skilled worker with a diploma and a minimum monthly salary of €5,403 before tax. With this residence permit, it’s easier to work in a different EU member state.
An application for a residence permit costs €290 for the main applicant, €68 for Turkish citizens, €174 for the spouse or partner, and €58 for a child.
You will need the following documents for visas and residence permits:
- MVV application form
- Passport valid for at least another 6 months
- Residence permit — if you live outside the country of your citizenship
- Photo (35 × 45 mm)
- Copy of the letter stating that your application has been approved with your registration number (V number)
- Police certificates
- Marriage certificate, if you’re relocating with a spouse
- For unmarried partners: authenticated single status declaration, Declaration of relationship, documentary evidence of your relationship (letters, e-mails, photographs, plane tickets, etc.)
- Birth certificates for all family members
- Education credentials (diplomas or certificates) — to apply for an EU Blue Card
- Translations of documents into Dutch, English, French or German made by certified translators, with apostilles
- Copies of all documents
If the IND’s decision is positive, you must bring your passport to the embassy or consulate where you submitted the application. Your MVV visa will be placed in your passport within 10 working days.
You must travel to the Netherlands with the MVV in your passport. The IND will let you or your employer know when your residence permit is ready. You can start working in the Netherlands while you’re awaiting your residence permit.
The period of validity of your residence permit is the same as the length of your employment contract, with a maximum of 5 years.
If you change an employer, make sure that the HR department of the new company notifies the migration service within 3 months. Otherwise, you can lose your residence permit.
After 5 years of legal and continuous stay in the Netherlands, both the EU Blue Card holders and the highly skilled migrants may qualify for a permanent residence permit. However, the EU Blue Card holder can accumulate periods of residence in different EU member states to fulfill the requirement. The absence of the territory of the EU is not considered an interruption if this period is shorter than 12 consecutive months and does not exceed 18 months in total.
2. Find temporary accommodation
After you obtain a visa, if you need any, you can come to the Netherlands. The first thing you should do is find a place to live. It’s recommended to rent accommodation before you travel to the Netherlands.
As it may be hard to find a permanent apartment at once due to the high rental demand and the need to gather all the necessary documents, allow at least 3 weeks to hunt for a permanent home.
Your sponsor company might provide you with temporary accommodation for up to 1.5 months. Specify conditions in advance to learn what applies specifically to you. If your employer doesn’t provide you with temporary accommodation, you can find it on Airbnb or similar websites before you arrive in the Netherlands.
3. Register with your local municipality
Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you must register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality (“gemeente”) where you are going to live. You must contact the municipal authorities within 5 days of your arrival to schedule an appointment. Alternatively, you may be eligible to complete the process with IN Amsterdam.
You will need the following:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate, if you’re married
- Tenancy agreement or purchase contract for your new home. If you don’t have a permanent address in the Netherlands, you can use an Address registration permission form signed by the main occupant and a copy of their passport/ID (some of the newcomers register at the address of the company where they work)
When you register, you will get a citizen service number (“burgerservicenummer”, BSN). You need this number to work in the Netherlands, open a bank account, visit a hospital, and to apply for state benefits and allowances. Your BSN number will be mailed to your home address following the appointment.
Note that if you change your address within the Netherlands, you must notify the municipality within 5 working days to one month in advance. Schedule an appointment, visit the department of civil affairs (“afdeling burgerzaken”) and bring your passport and a tenancy agreement or purchase contract for your new home. If you have a DigiD code, you can register online. Read more about DigiD in Section 7.
4. Obtain a residence permit
The Netherlands’ Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will issue your residence permit (“verblĳfstitel”) within 2 weeks following your arrival in the country. You’ll receive a letter indicating when you can collect your permit. You have to make an appointment online to visit an IND office.
Once you obtain your residence permit, it becomes your main identity document in the country.
5. Take a TB test, if applicable
Unless you come from one of the exempt countries, you must undergo a tuberculosis test (TB test) within 3 months after having received your residence permit.
To take this test, make an appointment with the Area Health Authority (GGD) closest to you. Registration is about 2 weeks in advance. You need to bring the TB test referral form with you to the appointment. The test costs €40–50. The authority’s representatives will send the results to the IND themselves, and if they find any issues, they will contact you.
6. Buy a SIM card
To live and work in the Netherlands, you may also need a local SIM card. You can buy it at Schiphol airport, supermarkets, kiosks, service stations, from one of the retail stores of mobile phone service providers (KPN, T-Mobile/Tele2, Vodafone). The card itself is free and doesn’t require registration, but you may need to make a top-up of €20–25.
If you don’t have a bank account in the Netherlands, mobile providers may refuse to sign a contract with you, but they will probably sell you a prepaid SIM card. T-Mobile allows switching to a contract with the preservation of the phone number.
Monthly unlimited packages of the main mobile providers cost €25–40 per month.
7. Open a bank account in the Netherlands
To get your salary in the Netherlands and pay for your rental home, you need to have a bank account in the country. Many other payments also require a local bank account. The Netherlands is a mostly cash-free society, and most bills are paid online.
Many hotels, restaurants and bars accept credit cards, though most supermarkets only accept cash or debit cards. Note that not all retail establishments in the Netherlands accept Visa and Mastercard cards. The Netherlands has its own online payment system called iDeal that links securely to your internet banking portal to make direct payments without charge.
Here are popular banks in the Netherlands:
- ABN AMRO (abnamro.nl)
- ASN Bank (asnbank.nl)
- ING (ing.nl)
- Rabobank (rabobank.nl)
- SNS-bank (snsbank.nl)
- Triodos (triodos.com)
- Van Lanschot (vanlanschot.nl)
Apart from traditional banks, there are also online banks such as Bunq, Knab, N26, or Rewire. They allow customers to open an account without visiting a physical branch.
To open an account at a physical bank, make an appointment with your local branch and came to the appointed time with the following documents:
- Proof of ID (passport or identity card)
- Residence permit
- Official proof of address (a tenancy agreement or recent utility bills)
- BSN number
- Employment contract with your employer in the Netherlands or recent payslips received in the Netherlands
You’ll receive your credit card by regular mail within 1–2 weeks after you open an account.
Your account can be shared so that your spouse can use it to deposit or withdraw money. You can also buy liability insurance at the same time you open a bank account. This insurance will help you if you damage someone’s property.
As mobile banking is popular in the Netherlands, most banks will also send you a special card reader or number generator to log in and make online transactions.
Expect a monthly charge for running your account and servicing your debit card — this will range from €1.30 to €7 per month depending on the bank and its services.
Many organizations and businesses in the Netherlands also require you to use a digital signature called DigiD to access their online services. Your personal DigiD consists of a username and password of your choice. You can apply online on the DigiD website. For this, you will need a BSN number and an address in the Netherlands. After applying for a new DigiD login, an activation code will be sent to your home address within 5 days.
8. Obtain health insurance
Anyone living in the Netherlands must have health insurance and you need to apply for it within 4 months following your arrival in the Netherlands. There is no sense in delaying since you will be charged for the entire period from the moment of your registration in the country.
Note that you need to obtain a BSN before you can apply.
Basic health insurance (basisverzekering) covers basic medical care, hospital treatment, maternity care, medical products, and some more. Some medical services — for example, dental care — are not included in the insurance, and the patient pays for them himself (however, dental care for children is free). Children under 18 are covered by health insurance of one of their parents.
Health insurance costs around €90–150 per month on average depending on the insurance company. The lower the cost of insurance, the less compensation you will receive if you have health problems.
Zilveren Kruis (zilverenkruis.nl) is one of the companies that offer health insurance in the Netherlands.
9. Find a permanent place to live
It’s recommended to start looking for an apartment after moving to the Netherlands since there are fraudsters in the rental market. For example, while surfing on the Internet, you can find a nice spacious apartment in Amsterdam’s central location at a suspiciously low price (€700–750). The landlord then will ask you to transfer an advance payment in confirmation of your “serious intentions”, after which he will disappear with your money. Therefore, choose carefully, never make any payments before signing the contract, and compare prices.
Rental prices for apartments in Amsterdam can vary significantly ranging from €1,000 to €10,000 depending on the location, type of housing, year of construction, availability of furniture, energy class, and other things. The average price for an apartment outside central locations is €1,500 – 2,000 per month. Since the Netherlands is an exceptionally well-connected country, you can live within 50 km of Amsterdam even if you work there. This will allow you to save or to rent a bigger house.
Long-term rentals in the Netherlands can be found on the following property websites:
However, rental demand in the Netherlands is so high that letting agents don’t always bother to answer emails and phone calls from the prospective tenants who come from listings websites. Therefore, it’s important to find active local brokers and contact them directly. Give at least 2–3 weeks to hunt for a long-term apartment. Sometimes, it can take more time depending on your activity and expectations.
Note that it can be hard to find fully furnished apartments to rent for the long term in the Netherlands: a large share of housing is offered not only without furniture but also with a bare concrete floor. A landlord can charge extra costs for fittings and furniture.
When renting an apartment or house for the long term in the Netherlands, you may be required to provide the following:
- Passports of all prospective tenants
- Salary slips for the last 3 months
- Copy of your employment contract
- BSN number
It’s generally accepted that your income should be at least 3 times the rent. This means that if you want to rent an apartment for €2,000, you need to earn at least €6,000 a month.
While renting a property in the Netherlands, you will need to pay a rental deposit in the amount of 1–2 months’ rent and rent for the first month. So prepare to pay 3 months’ rent at once. Agencies representing the landlord are not permitted to charge costs to the tenant.
Payments are usually made by bank transfer so, ideally, you need to have an account opened in advance. Those who don’t have a bank account or a BSN number can ask their employer to make payments on their behalf.
Also, be ready to pay around €150–300 per month for utilities and the Internet. The rental price is usually exclusive of these services. The rental contract must clearly show the base rent (“kale huur” or “netto huur”) — costs of your accommodation only. If there are any costs associated with utilities and services (“servicekosten”) they need to be listed separately.
Internet. The minimum package (Internet 50 Mbit/s and TV) costs around €45–50, up to €75–80 for 1,000 MB/s. Internet operators provide more or less the same services at approximately the same prices. Mobile Internet is cheaper starting at €25 per month. Check rates of your mobile operator as there may be discounts on calls + Internet + TV packages. Note that it can take anywhere from 3 days to 1.5 months to connect an apartment to the Internet in the Netherlands depending on your provider and location.
Electricity costs around 25 cents per kilowatt. The total price depends on your spending and provider averaging at around €60 per month. Many people use solar panels, which can generate up to 100 kWh per month in winter and around 400 kWh in summer.
Water costs around €15 per month. Tap water is of good quality, and the majority of people drink it instead of buying water in bottles.
Heating. There is no central heating, and different houses may have different heating systems. If your house has a gas boiler, then you have to pay for gas. Hot water and heating can be supplied separately. Heating costs can reach €120. Locals usually keep the temperature at home at around +20 °C.
Garbage removal costs are usually included in municipal taxes and average at about €40–50 per month.
10. Apply for the 30% ruling grant
You need to apply for the 30% ruling to pay less taxes in the Netherlands.
Both you and your employer need to apply for the 30% ruling. You can do this by completing the application form or calling the tax information line (+31 555 385 385) for an information pack.
You will need to provide the Dutch tax office with copies of:
- Passport or another valid photo ID
- Employment contract or job offer letter
- BSN number
- Dutch residence permit
- Details of your address in the Netherlands
- Proof of residence in another country before being hired
- Company details including company tax number
- Written agreement stating that you and your employer have consented to the application for the 30% ruling
It takes up to 16 weeks to receive the 30% ruling grant. The tax authorities will first send a confirmation of receipt, which can take 2 weeks.
Once granted, the 30% ruling will be applicable from the first day of employment if you filed the application within 4 months after you started working in the Netherlands. Otherwise, it will be the first day of the month following the month when you applied.
With the 30% ruling, your monthly net salary will rise by €600–800 on average.