Are you an entrepreneur? Do you dream of taking your business to Europe? Then Holland is the ideal destination for you! In particular, the Dutch capital Amsterdam is a great place to live and work.
The city enjoys one of the highest standards of living found anywhere in the world with a quality of life that is second to none. The city is easy to navigate and has a modern, extensive and affordable public transport system, or you can always resort to pedal power – Amsterdam is renowned for its environmentally friendly bicycle culture and has a vast network of cycle lanes. There are many cycle racks and even bicycle parking stations! The city is also rightfully famous for its canals, coffee shops, and legendary nightlife. Add to this the wide array of museums and cultural sites, and you can see why there is never a reason to be bored here!
Under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT, for short), in comparison with other non-EU citizens, US citizens receive preferential treatment when applying to relocate to the Netherlands. Indeed, if you intend to be self-employed, you can apply for residency with as little as 4,500 euros (around $5,000). ABiLiTieS Virtual Offices, a specialist in virtual address and expat services, confirms that this is all it will take you to incorporate a company and start your business. Further good news is that there are very few bureaucratic hurdles to overcome – there are no requirements concerning business experience, the sphere of the business or any age restrictions. Furthermore, your residence permit will also allow you to sponsor your spouse and children. If you already own a business or intend to acquire a part of Dutch business, the same rules apply.
The residence permits themselves are valid for two years, with the only requirement being that during your stay, the minimum investment amount is maintained in the company’s bank account. The only further restriction is that you or your spouse will not be able to be employed in the Netherlands by any other business than your own. However, this restriction may be waived if you have the right to be classified as a highly-skilled migrant and as such, be eligible to be employed by a Dutch company.
Of course, in order to renew your company after the initial two-year period, it must still be active and not simply be a pretext to apply for residency. Any acceptance of government aid might also affect the renewal of your residence permit.
Running a business also means keeping accounts and filing value-added tax and corporate income tax declarations, and possibly other taxes. Although the Dutch tax authorities are supportive and cooperative, the non-fulfillment of tax regulations can easily result in fines. If you do not speak Dutch, it is a good idea to have your bookkeeping and tax matters dealt with by a local accountant.
Approximately 300 US citizens annually apply for residence under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, of which almost 100% are successful. Despite the high success rate, a visa application, though not complicated, requires thorough preparation. Therefore, it is wise to prepare a to-do-list that contains all the necessary steps, such as certification of documents, registration of a Dutch company or self-employment, certification of an initial balance sheet, etc.
If you have read all the above and want to become part of the business community in Amsterdam under a DAFT residence permit, we are waiting to welcome you. Don’t be put off by the treaty’s quirky acronym: the DAFT treaty is serious business!