The tourist season is soon going to be upon us! Your friends and family might be blowing up your inboxes asking when is a good time to visit. You could be coming here to take a canal ride around Amsterdam, or go to the tulip gardens. Therefore, we have made a guide on how to get your Schengen or tourist visa for the Netherlands!

If you’re looking for somewhere tourists don’t frequently go, why not try one of the many national parks for a hike under the sun? The Netherlands is a small country, and it is easy to go on day trips to many places while setting up base in one of the central cities. The country is relatively safe to visit, and super easy to get around (check our guide for public transport) if you know how to use google maps (person with poor navigational skills speaking here).

Getting a Schengen or Tourist visa for the Netherlands can be easy or difficult, depending on where you come from, and what you are going to do here. There’s a lot of information available online, so we’re going to give you a one-stop guide for all the visa options available to you if you want to visit the Netherlands! Schengen vs Tourist visa for the Netherlands. 😉

First things first: which passport do you have?

The type of visa not only depends on what you are going to do here but which passport you hold. If you have a passport from any of the countries within the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can stay in the Netherlands without a visa for up to 90 days, in a 180 day period.

However, if you don’t have a passport from these coutries, then you will need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. The Immigration and Naturalisation Services of the Netherlands has a list of countries which come under this rule. Check it before you make your travel plans!

Types of visas: Why are you visiting the Netherlands?

If you’re making travel plans, or if you’re just passing through the airport to get to your next destination, there are different visas that would apply to you. These visas are for short-term stays, and should not be used in the same capacity as a residence permit. You can stay and travel through the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days, or just transit through the country.

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There are four types of visas: Schengen visa or tourist visa, transit visa, return visa, and MVV authorisation for a temporary stay. The Schengen visa is the only one which is purely for tourist purposes.

You can find more information on the others in our article about residence permits, and visas which are not for tourist purposes.

Schengen or tourist visa for the Netherlands

Do you need a Schengen or Tourist visa for the Netherlands? The Schengen visa is the visa you need to apply for if you have a passport from one of the listed countries, and if you’re coming for tourist purposes, visiting family, or a business trip. This visa will allow you to stay in the Schengen Zone, including the Netherlands for up to 90 days. These 90 days can be spread over a period of 180 days and allows you to travel through all the Schengen countries. This is not to be confused with a residence permit and does not allow you to work in the country or any other Schengen country.

It’s always handy to know the local language before you go to a foreign land. Learn a few Dutch words before you come here, and blend in with the locals!

Now comes the fun part: planning your trip itinerary!

Single or multiple entry: What does your itinerary look like?

Depending what your travel plans are, this visa can be used to stay in the Schengen zone for 90 days at a stretch, or you can spread your time over a 180 day period. You can use the Schengen calculator to make sure you don’t exceed the limit.

If you choose to do the former of the two, you can apply for a single entry visa which means that once you depart from any of the countries, you will not be allowed to re-enter. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you choose this option, you have to leave the Netherlands and the Schengen zone and will be able to apply for a visa only after 90 days.

If you choose to apply for a multiple entry visa, you will be able to leave the Schengen zone and re-enter without having to apply for another visa. Remember, the Schengen zone is different to the European Union, so if you’re planning to travel to Bulgaria or the UK, you will need to apply for this type of visa. Did you know that we now have a train that goes from Amsterdam or Rotterdam, all the way to London? Check out our guide on how to make this train journey!

Once you have a tentative plan in place, it’s time to get your documents together and start preparing for your visa application appointment.

What documents do you need for a Schengen Visa?

Get your checklist writing shoes on – this one is going to be long!

Tourist Visa for the Netherlands
Schengen or Tourist Visa for the Netherlands?
  • A valid travel document like a passport which is valid for 6 months from the date you enter the Netherlands.
  • 2 passport photos which meet the Dutch passport photo requirements (you can check this here).
  • Show your travel purpose. You can do this with your hotel reservations or an invitation from a company in the Netherlands. If you’re staying with a friend or family, you will have to submit a form to show proof of sponsorship and/or private accommodation.
  • Proof that you can support yourself or anybody else accompanying you for the trip. You can do this submitting bank statements, traveller’s cheques or cash. You need to show you have enough for at least 34 euros a day. If you’re visiting friends or family, that proof of sponsorship form can also be used to show that they have enough money to support you. The documents they have to submit are: the form, their contract, 3 most recent salary slips, employer’s declaration, and a copy of their passport. But remember that if your financial sponsor in the Netherlands is different from the person will be staying with, you need both of them to sign this form.
  • Travel medical insurance valid during your trip.
  • Proof of return to your country of origin. You can do this by showing an employer’s declaration, proof of enrolment at a school, if you own your own house or a return ticket.

How and when do you apply?

After you have all of these documents together, get an appointment at the Dutch embassy where you’re residing (this can be your country of origin or a country you have a valid residence permit in), and pay the visa application fee.

It is recommended that you apply for the visa at least 3 months before your travel date, and you only reserve (and not finalise your booking) until you have heard back about the decision. The assessment can take anywhere between 15 – 30 days before you hear back. You can contact your Dutch embassy for an update about your application.

The waiting will be the worst part of this whole process.

Where do you go to get your visa?

As soon as your visa application has been approved, you have to get another appointment at the Dutch embassy or consulate you applied at, and drop off your passport to have the visa sticker stamped. This sticker will tell you the validity of your visa, and an indication of whether it is a multiple or single entry visa. Once you have this sticker, you’re good to start preparing for your trip!

Did you have a Schengen or Tourist Visa for the Netherlands?

Have you done everything right, and you have your travel dates set in stone? We even have a guide for everything you need to know before you actually come to the country. Do you have a disability? We have an article for you about the law, public transport, and which attractions are accessible (in Amsterdam).

Don’t forget to use #dutchreview when posting those amazing photographs you take of your travels!

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