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Start a Business in the Netherlands as a Foreigner

Start a Business in the Netherlands as a Foreigner

The Netherlands is one of the most welcoming European countries. With a taxation system that favors those who decide to relocate here and become residents and the competitive and efficient business environment, setting up a company here can be a good option for both persons who have small ideas they want to work around, but also for those who have plans for large operations, not to mention for foreign enterprises seeking to expand their operations.

Starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner has many advantages for the entrepreneur as an individuals and investor and the procedure is quite simple. We invite you to discover it below, explained by our Dutch company formation agents who can also help you with its registration.

 Quick Facts  
Applicable legislation Dutch Company Law

Visa required for foreign entrepreneurs

For foreign entrepreneurs coming from non-EU and non-EEA countries

 Types of entities a foreigner can use to open a company

All types of business forms can be used:

– sole proprietorships,

– partnerships,

– limited liability companies

Residency requirement No, it is not necessary to become a resident to start a business as a foreigner in the Netherlands.
Investment restrictions

No, there are no investment restrictions.

Visit required for incorporation (YES/NO)

No, local agent services can be used.

Special programs for entrepreneurs (YES/NO)

– the self-employment permit,

– the StartUp Visa

Documents required to open a Dutch company

– valid passport,

– trading name reservation form,

– incorporation papers,

– bank account opening form

Local partner required (YES/NO)

No, there is no need to have a local partner to start a business as a foreigner in the Netherlands.

The most employed business structures by foreigners The private limited liability company (BV)
Possibility to transfer business operations from another country to the Netherlands (YES/NO)

Yes, as long as the foreign business is registered as a non-corporate entity.

 Corporate tax rate

15% on income of up to 245,000 EUR.

Exceeding amounts are taxed at a rate of 25%.

Possibility to bring foreign employees (YES/NO)

Yes, for non-EU/EEA citizens residence permits must be obtained

Why start a business in the Netherlands

– simple incorporation,

– access to all investment sectors,

– possibility to access various government grants

 Incorporation support (YES/NO) Yes, we offer company formation services in the Netherlands.

Steps for starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner

First of all, you should know that if you decide to open a company in the Netherlands as a foreigner is that you will have the same rights as any other local investors. However, you need to respect one additional step if you want to live here.

Here are the steps to complete when setting up a business in the Netherlands as a foreign entrepreneur:

  1. applying for a resident permit (the Netherlands has several advantageous residency schemes for persons not exempted from this requirement);
  2. choosing a legal entity under which you will operate the company (the Company Law is permissive with foreign investors);
  3. reserving the trading name based on a previous verification with the Trade Register;
  4. preparing the incorporation documents (drafting and notarization) of the company;
  5. filing the documents with the Trade Register (tax and VAT registration also enter this phase);
  6. registering as an employer and obtaining the business license(s) in accordance with the sector of activity.

Other important aspects to consider when setting up a company is to have a legal address in the Dutch city you decide on and setting up a bank account (this step is the one you need to pay most of the time to).

If you decide to open a company in the Netherlands, you can rely on out specialists in business registration for support during the entire procedure.

Residency options for foreign entrepreneurs in the Netherlands

While EU and EEA citizens can travel and settle in the Netherlands without being requested to apply for a residence permit, in the case of non-EU and non-EEA ones, work and residence permits can be obtained.

However, if you want to start a company in the Netherlands as a foreigner you have the following advantageous options:

  • – the self-employed entrepreneur permit;
  • – the startup visa.

While the self-employment entrepreneur visa can be obtained based on a score system, the second one is a one-year validity residence visa dedicated to entrepreneurs seeking to start companies in the Netherlands, more specifically startups.

No matter the option you decide for, our Dutch company formation representatives can advise you on how to obtain residency here and benefit from the advantages offered by the government.

Choosing a legal entity when setting up a Dutch company as a foreigner

An important aspect when starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner is to choose an appropriate business form. By far, preferred by local and foreign investors who operate here the private limited liability company, also known as the Dutch BV is a great option no matter the size and activity you want to undertake. Moreover, you can also use it if you want to create a startup in the Netherlands.

The requirements for registering such a legal entity are quite flexible enabling you to be the sole owner and director and is also subject to a favorable taxation system, not to mention if you decide to become an employee and obtain the tax deductions offered by the government.

If you want to open a company in the Netherlands as a foreigner this is the moment to do that, and our officers can help you.

Inform yourself on what it means to do business in the Netherlands

Starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner is not difficult, however, understanding the business climate here, market dynamics and specifics, as well as the labor market will contribute to your success.

No matter if you decide to relocate your business to the Netherlands after Brexit, for example, or from another country, obtaining information on the local market is very important. From this point of view, you can study similar business models, conduct market research, and obtain consultation from our specialists. They can explain specific particularities or offer tips on how to adapt easier to the demands of the Dutch clients.

Having a realistic and balanced business plan will also help you set up goals and even obtain financing if you need it. Moreover, it can offer access to government grants, should you need any.

The Netherlands is very offering and there are plenty of opportunities you can explore, so if you need guidance on how to run a successful company as a foreigner, you can definitely rely on our agents.

The Dutch startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs

Starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner can also happen under the Startup Visa Scheme enabled by the government.

Startups are some of the most popular types of companies at the moment in this country and can be set up by any type of entrepreneur. It is also one of the best businesses to start in the Netherlands, as the business infrastructure for these entities is quite developed and many hubs provide support for young businesspersons running their first enterprises.

Why is the startup the most suitable Dutch business to create as foreigner? First of all, it addressed non-EU, non-EEA, and Swiss citizens who want to move here. Second of all, the entrepreneur has one year to get the business started with the help of a business angel or incubator, and thus obtain the necessary guidance in having a successful business in one of the technologically advanced countries in Europe.

The procedure of coming to the Netherlands and opening a startup as a foreigner implies finding a facilitator who will apply for a temporary residence permit on your behalf. There are also a few exceptions to this rule. Australian, New Zealand, South Korean, Japanese, US, and Canadian citizens can apply directly for the startup visa once they arrive in the Netherlands.

With respect to the facilitator, or business mentor, certain conditions apply. Among these:

  1. the person or company must have a good financial reputation and not be bankrupt;
  2. the person or company must not be a majority shareholder in the company;
  3. the mentor must also have experience in supporting startups;
  4. the facilitator must not be a close relative of the visa applicant.

There are more than 30 recognized facilitators investors can work with if they decide to move here and start businesses as foreigners.

If you are not sure about the best business to start in the Netherlands, our local specialists can guide you.

Documents to prepare when starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner

Starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner implies drafting various documents in accordance with the chosen legal entity. However, in most cases, the private limited liability company is preferred as it is the simplest way of opening an enterprise here.

In order to create it, a foreign entrepreneur must have the Articles of Association drafted and notarized and filed alongside his personal documents (passport) and various forms with the Trade Register. However, all the paperwork can be prepared with the help of our company registration officers in the Netherlands, so the procedure is simplified even more.

Thanks to the quick incorporation process, the BV is one of the best businesses to start in the Netherlands as a foreigner.

Is it possible to register a Dutch company as a foreigner remotely?

Yes, if you plan on starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner, you can also register it remotely. The procedure is the same as when opening it from here, as most of the documents can be filed online with the Trade Register. However, you should know that before accepting your application, the Register will check whether your activities here are or will be consistent enough.

Even if there are various requirements to comply with, there are special services you can request, so that you don’t have to visit the country multiple times. Such services are offered by our local consultants who can help with:

  1. drafting the necessary papers, in accordance with the type of structure selected;
  2. reserving the company name;
  3. filing the paperwork;
  4. registering the company’s legal address;
  5. starting the bank account opening procedure.

With respect to the corporate bank account, depending on the bank you decide to work with, you might need to visit the country to complete the formalities. In essence, the entire process can be completed remotely in a large percentage.

Depending on the activity your Dutch business will complete, obtaining various licenses may also be required. These are subject to industry-specific requirements, as they depend on the sector the business will activate in.

Our Dutch company formation officers are at your disposal with business registration services that are mainly directed to foreign entrepreneurs interested in having operations here. You can also rely on us for other services, such as company redomiciliation to the Netherlands.

Transferring a foreign business to the Netherlands

Foreigners relocating to the Netherlands and running their own small businesses in their home countries can redomiciliate the respective enterprises as long as they are setup as non-corporate entities. Self-employed persons, for example, can move their activities here by filing an application with the Companies Register. However, in the case of legal entities, these must be de-registered in the foreign citizen’s home country and incorporated in the Netherlands.

No matter the path you choose, our agents are at your service with tailored advice. We can help you set up a business in Rotterdam or Amsterdam, two of the most important business hubs of this country.

The best business to start in the Netherlands as a foreigner

Opening a company in any country implies a thorough knowledge of the local market combined with the personal skills and qualifications of the businessperson. This also applies when trying to grasp what opening the best business to start in the Netherlands implies.

You can choose one of the developed traditional economic sectors or an innovative one, however, the most important aspect to consider is your qualification for the chosen domain.

IT, trading, agriculture, and healthcare are just a few of the developed industries in the Netherlands, however, you can also try to start a small business as barber shop or hairdresser’s salon if you have experience in this field.

You can also study the market in the city you want to move to and then decide for the most appropriate activity to undertake based on the community’s needs.

The concept of the best business to start in the Netherlands is broad and can be adapted based on several important factors, however, the most important one is help you achieve your objectives and serving your clients in the best way possible.

Registering a company or setting up a sole trader as a foreigner

The Netherlands welcomes foreign investors no matter the way these decide to run their operations. While some will choose the private limited liability company because they are familiar with this structure, othera decide on being self-employed or sole traders.

When choosing the legal form, here are the main aspect to consider:

  • – taxation is one of the most important aspects, as there are significant differences between the levies paid by a company and the ones paid by a sole trader;
  • – the activities to be undertaken by a sole trader are somewhat limited to one’s abilities;
  • – employment which is permitted only when starting a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner under the form of a corporate structure.

You can obtain more information on becoming a sole trader as a foreigner in the Netherlands from our advisors.

Why open a company in the Netherlands?

The fact that the Netherlands is a member state of the European Union is sufficient because it enables them to obtain EU residency, the country’s infrastructure, advanced economy and the taxation system are important aspects that should be considered.

In terms of taxation, here are the highlights that could interest you the most:

  • – the corporate tax rate in the Netherlands is applied at two rates – 20% and 25%;
  • – when hiring foreign employees, companies can obtain a 30% tax deduction;
  • – the personal income tax rates range between 36.6% and 51.75%, however, tax deductions are in place and are very advantageous.

If you want to start a business in the Netherlands as a foreigner, do not hesitate to contact our representatives for support and advice.