How I moved from the US to The Netherlands: A Dutch American Friendship Treaty How To
Okay, I get asked a TON! Obviously I’m a photographer. I don’t have a fancy sponser, I don’t fall into the highly educated range. So how did I get my ass all the way from Portland, Oregon to Rotterdam, The Netherlands? I did everything without a lawyer and it was actually really painless. I hope that by writing this all out I can help other American’s that are looking to move out of the country and into the the Netherlands with a DAFT (Dutch American Friendship Treaty) visa. The DAFT visa is a self employed work permit and it provides residency for your family as well. It’s so so hard to get residency in the EU as a non EU national and this process was so amazing. (As long as you have capitol)
-Hold an American passport
-Have €4500 to put into a bank account not to be touched
-A rough idea for a business
Papers you need to get started that you need to bring from the US:
-An apostilled birth certificate (and for each family member if applicable)
-An apostilled marriage certificate (if applicable)
-Extra passport photos (you’ll need them I promise)
Get to The Netherlands! Buy that one way plane ticket you’ve always dreamed of doing and sell all your shit and say goodbye to everyone! Woo! Party!
Find a place to live! When you first show up be prepared to airbnb for awhile! (Also be aware that very rarely will anyone rent you a home when you are still out of country and don’t have your visa yet. Don’t be discouraged! Just hit the ground running and be prepared to put down a bigger deposit. (Check Funda and Paraius everyday and call the makelaar (real estate agent) and don’t email. That house will be gone by the time they check their email)
Fill out your application and send it in! Not the whole application just the first few pages. the other pages you need your accountant to fill out!
Make an appointment with the IND online! Some people think if you call to make an appointment and mention the dutch American friendship treaty that it will get you a closer date but I tried online first and i only had to wait a few days for the Rotterdam IND office. It could be different for Amsterdam. Make sure it’s before your 90 days are up for your visitor visa. (Just a note you need to make separate appointments for each family member as well if they are moving with you. THIS form for spouses with a €171 fee and THIS form for kids and a €57 fee)
Bring yo passport, and €1348 cash because they only accept EU maestro cards and there isn’t an ATM there. At this appointment you get the holy grail sticker in your passport. You can live in the Netherlands and work for the next 6 months while awaiting a decision and you are free to start working! Your application won’t be finished yet but don’t worry. it’s not ment to be and they know it!
Register at your city’s Gemeente! (Municipality) Make an appointment online! Bring your passport, your rental contract, and your apostilled birth/marriage certificates! At this appointment they will give you your BSN. Think of this as your social security number. You need it for EVERYTHING! At this point you can do so so much more! Go get a phone plan, open a bank account, and get your mandatory health insurance*
Registering at the KVK (chamber of commerce)! Bring your rental contract if you are going to work out of your home. Or a contract for a co-working space, just where ever you plan on registering your business. (be aware some rental homes won’t allow you to register your business there, check your contract!) and fill out the registration form and bring it with the €50 registration fee and an extra €15 for the extract. You’ll need the extract for some banks and you’ll need to submit it to IND. I personally forgot to ask and bought a digital copy of my extract online. No biggie. After this appointment YOU HAVE YOUR VERY OWN DUTCH COMPANY! Hell yeah! Go sit on a canal with a beer!
Get a business bank account! I have both my business and personal account with BUNQ you can literally set up your bank accounts in 5 minutes from where ever you are. Just have your passport and BSN and and your address. They video chat you to verify your identity and then you are good to go!
Deposit €4500 into your business account and export your statement for IND!
Get an accountant! They need to sign off on papers from your initial Dutch American friendship treaty visa application. They also need to make an official “opening balance sheet” for you. My girl Esther only charged me €90 for it but I’ve heard that fancy places that really market towards DAFT applicants try to charge €400+ so don’t go to the first person on google. Any accountant will do!
Send everything in! Get a big ass envelope and mail in a copy of your extract, bank statement, the rest of your application and your balance sheet! Phew! You’re done!
IND’s decision time starts the day they receive all of your paperwork you sent it. They have 3 months from that day. You should get a call around a month out saying your residency card is ready. If you forgot to send in something and didn’t realize it. Don’t worry, they will call you first so you can rectify it and they won’t just flat deny you. If your decision period has past, fill out this form and follow the instructions. They will have to pay you per day after the decision period is up and they REALLY don’t want to do that.
You’ll get a letter in the mail eventually saying your residency card is ready to be picked up. And you’re done!
*Make sure you get health insurance right away. You’ll be charged from the first day as a resident so maybe don’t wait 3 months and have to back pay. But, It is mandatory and you can compare them HERE. I ended up with OHRA and they have been awesome!
It’s important to not that you don’t need a business plan but should have one just as good practices and should have a general idea of what type of business you want to get into! Relish in the idea of having your very own Dutch business! Leave me a comment if you have any questions or have found this helpful. And if your ever in Rotterdam, lets grab a beer! And if you ever need a photographer, I’m here!