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Getting Closer to the Dutch Freelancer’s Visa

If you’re past the age of studenthood but not yet an established professional, then moving to (northern) Europe can be tricky. Most immigrants are obliged to find an employer willing (and able) to sponsor them for a residence permit, and unfortunately such employers seem to be, in this day and age, few and far between. However, don’t lose hope! You may qualify as a freelancer without even realizing it.
Sometimes they eat inside, sometimes they eat outside. Be prepared for this.

City Hall Again

Next, go back to City Hall with the signed paper from the IND. Now they’ll send you a BSN. With the BSN you’re finally in business (figuratively, and, hopefully, after a few more steps, literally).

Open Two Bank Accounts

For a freelancer’s permit, you need two bank accounts: a personal one and a business one. Well, technically I guess you only need the business one, but I’m assuming you’ll need/want a personal one, too. Anyway, now that you’re equipped with a BSN the world of banking is your oyster. The important thing to remember is that you need to keep €4,500 in the business account at all times. This is one of the prerequisites of the validity of your permit.

Make an Accountant’s Day

To complete your IND application you will need to prove that you have this €4,500 in your business account by getting your balance verified by a professional. It’s a quick and easy appointment with an accountant, and he/she will know what to do.

Appointment at the Chamber of Commerce (KvK)

Look up the KvK nearest you using their website. Maybe call first to find out if you need an appointment or not (when I called, they said you can just come in whenever). Here’s what you need:

  • Your BSN
  • To have begun your application for your Eenmanszaak (literally “onemanbusiness,” or more properly “sole proprietorship”). You can do this online, and finish it when you get there
  • The rest of your documents. I don’t think they actually looked at anything else of mine, but you might as well bring everything, just in case: your City Hall registration, proof of health insurance, proof of the €4,500, business plan, etc.

The point of this appointment is to register your business with the government and the tax authorities. The woman I met with went through the information I’d submitted online with me again. Once you’re registered you’ll start getting things in the post from the tax office, which, although intensely boring, will be of use later on.

Complete Your IND Application

Now you should have the documents that you were missing at your IND meeting. Send the IND your:

  • BSN
  • KvK registration
  • Proof of €4,500 in a Dutch business account, verified by an accountant

Wait It Out

Your application is now finally complete. The IND told me repeatedly that they “try” to have your permit processed within a period of three months. They also insist that they impose a final deadline on themselves of six months from the date of application. I’ll mention here, out of spite, that they ended up in my case extending their own deadline by two weeks, in a very fresh take on the entire deadline concept. I expect (touch wood) that it won’t happen to you. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to call them and check up on their progress (+31 20 8893045). All the representatives speak English, and although they’re not too well informed, they can at least confirm the status of your application and that you’re not missing any documents. Still not satisfied? Hang up and call again. Over six months I spoke to probably more than 50 representatives. Some were much friendlier than others, and a few top specimens actually took action to further my case along (like getting in touch with the officer responsible for my case).

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