Moving to Amsterdam?

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Moving to Amsterdam

With our help you’ll be fully prepared for moving to Amsterdam: our expat guide has important info on visas, residence permits, public transportation and popular residential areas for expats. There is no more reason to worry about the red tape, as moving to Amsterdam has never been so easy!
Amsterdam is the nominal and cultural center of the Netherlands.

At a Glance:

  • Expats living outside the EU may need an entry visa called the MVV.
  • If you plan to bring a pet with you, you should start to organize the paperwork and appropriate vaccinations about 6–9 months in advance.
  • The OV Chipkaart is the Smart Card that is used in Amsterdam to pay for public transportation.
  • The central area of the city tends to be the most popular with expats.


Although The Hague is the political capital of the Netherlands, and thus the seat of the Dutch government, Amsterdam is the country’s nominal and cultural center. With a little over 1.6 million inhabitants living in its Metropolitan Area, it is the biggest city in the Netherlands as well as the one counting the highest number of foreign visitors each year. In fact, Amsterdam is the eighth most popular city destination in Europe. Many of them are expats like you, who move to Amsterdam for a longer stay. In fact, the city has one of the biggest expat communities in the country.

Most expats enjoy their new life in Amsterdam, thanks to the picturesque charms of its crooked streets, tree-lined canals, and famous museums. The balmy summer months offer plenty of opportunities to explore the public parks, take boat rides on the canals, or go on bicycle tours with your international friends. Of course, you have to deal with some organizational matters first.

Visa Requirements

For EU/EEA nationals, a move to Amsterdam is hassle free. They only need their passport or national ID to enter the country. People from outside the EU, however, often require an entry visa (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf — MVV). Entry requirements vary depending on your country of origin. If in doubt, consult the  Netherlands and You, or get in touch with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service. If you are a foreign national with a Schengen visa for the Netherlands then you will be able to travel to other countries in the Schengen area for up to three months.

Non-EU residents who come to Amsterdam to find a job also require a work visa. This is usually organized by your employer. The company will have to prove to the UWV Werkbedrijf that you are the only candidate qualified and willing to fill this position. You can arrange for your work permit after your arrival in Amsterdam as well. However, please be aware that this may take up to three months.

Living as an Expat in Amsterdam

Non-EU/EEA nationals need to apply for a residence permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf – MVV)if they move to Amsterdam for a period of longer than 3 months. You can apply for this permit with the alien police (Vreemdelingenpolitie). Residence permits are usually valid for one year.

Moreover, you have to register with your municipality after moving to Amsterdam. This is also the case if you are an EU/EEA citizen. Highly skilled foreign workers can usually register at IN Amsterdam in the WTC building located in the Zuid district.

Everyone else needs to register with the administration office in the district where they live. You have to present your passport, the rental agreement or sales contract of your accommodation as well as birth and marriage certificates. Contact your municipality beforehand and inquire about the necessary documents.

Want to Bring Your Pet?

If you want to bring your beloved pet along when moving to Amsterdam, you need to abide by new EU regulations. For instance, your dog or cat needs a pet passport and a microchip to identify it beforehand. You also have to provide proof of a rabies vaccination at least 21 days prior to the departure date in order to move to Amsterdam with your pet.

If your pet is younger than 12 weeks, a vaccination is not necessary. Smaller pets, like rabbits, hamsters, mice, or birds also need a certificate of origin and health when moving to Amsterdam.  You just need to prove that your pets are free from any diseases. Ideally, you should allow around 6–9 months before leaving to arrange your pet paperwork.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Salil Padmanabh

"At the InterNations events here in Amsterdam, I've come to know so many friendly expats. Both Indians and expatriates from other countries. "

Isabella Martinez

"For my little daughter I've been looking for a good language teacher who also speaks Spanish. I've finally found him on InterNations."

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