Overview of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a small country situated between Belgium and Germany on the North Sea. One of the most densely populated states in the world, at 17.4 million people, much of its territory lies at or below sea level-the Dutch landscape is one of low-lying fields dotted with windmills and canals, and tulips in the spring. Its capital city, Amsterdam, is renowned for its world-famous art museums, which house the collections of Dutch masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. Its second largest city, Rotterdam, contains the largest port in Europe; its third largest, the Hague, is the seat of numerous international courts, and is known as the legal capital of Europe (and even the world). Also recognized as Holland, its official language is Dutch, but almost 90% of the population speaks English. Famous for its Gouda cheese, beer, and pancakes, the Netherlands remains a top European tourist destination and the seat of many intergovernmental organizations.
The Netherlands was present at the beginning of the Schengen era as one of the 5 original signatories to the Schengen Agreement, in 1985. In 1995, when the treaty was implemented, The Netherlands stood alongside 6 countries to form the original Schengen area.
Please note that the Netherlands’ overseas territories are not considered part of the Schengen area. This means that a Schengen visa will not allow you entry to Dutch overseas territories, which have their own visa regimes.
- Schengen visa eligibility for the Netherlands includes third country nationals from the following states, who are excluded from visa-free to the Netherlands/the Schengen area, and are therefore eligible to apply for a Schengen visa to the Netherlands:
14. BURKINA FASO
19. CAPE VERDE
71. NORTH KOREA
20. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
74. PAPUA NEW GUINEA
25. COTE D’IVOIRE
27. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
79. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
80. SAUDI ARABIA
29. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
82. SIERRA LEONE
32. EQUATORIAL GUINEA
84. SOUTH AFRICA
85. SOUTH SUDAN
86. SRI LANKA
- Third party nationals from the following entities/territories are also required to apply for a Schengen visa: KOSOVO and the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.
- Certain standard forms for Dutch Schengen visas are available in a variety of languages, including Spanish and French. However, if your application contains materials written/translated in a language other than Dutch, German, or English, they will likely need to be accompanied by an official translation into one of those languages.
- Applications for all Schengen visas to the Netherlands will contain the following Basic Required Documents:
- Valid passport
- Passport sized photos
- Application form
- Fingerprints (biometric data)
- Travel medical insurance
- Visa Fee
- Materials related to your trip:
- Reason for visit
- Where you will stay (accommodation)
- How you will fund your trip (finances)
- Proof that you will leave the Netherlands before your visa becomes invalid/expires. This is often in the form of a paid plane ticket (proof of return).
Note: For more information on what to include in your application, including a detailed description of required materials, please see: Basic Required Documents. Please note that you may have to submit additional Dutch Schengen visa supporting documents related to your specific purpose for travelling.
- The standard Dutch Schengen visa fee for an adult is 80 Euros. Certain types of applicants (most students, children under 6) are exempt from all visa fees. To get a Schengen visa for the Netherlands, you will likely have to submit a service payment with your visa application-this is a separate cost from the visa fee. Please note that these fees are non-refundable in the case of visa rejection.
How to Apply: Steps
- Step 1: Determine your Purpose for travelling to the Netherlands, which will determine the Type of visa you should apply for.
- Step 2: Determine how many Entries to the Netherlands/the Schengen area you need.
- Step 3: Gather your Required Documents.
- Step 4: Fill out your application.
- All applications for the Schengen visa from the Netherlands must be filed online. If you are not using a third-party visa service provider, you should apply through the official website of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via their online application portal.
- Step 5: Schedule a Schengen Visa appointment (if applicable).
- Depending on the location of the consulate/visa center you are applying through, you may have to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application. Alternatively, you may be able to drop off your application without prior arrangement, so long as you do so during normal operating hours. Contact your consulate/visa center directly to find out if you need to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application.
- Step 6: Pay the application fee.
- Step 7: Submit your Dutch Schengen visa application (at least 15 days prior to travelling, not before 6 months).
- Different Dutch Consulates/processing centers have different procedures for submitting applications. Depending on where you are applying from, you may have to submit your application in person to the consulate/center you are applying through. When you submit your application, you will likely also be asked to submit biometric data (fingerprints). Children younger than 12 years are likely exempt from having their fingerprints collected. If you have previously submitted fingerprints (within the last 59 months), you likely will not need to resubmit them, and you therefore may not have to appear in person to submit your application (i.e. you may designate someone else to submit it on your behalf).
When to Apply
- Submit your application at least 15 days prior to the day you intend to travel, and no earlier than 6 months before you leave. If you are a seafarer, you may submit your application 9 months before you leave.
Where to Apply
- Applications for Schengen visas to the Netherlands should be submitted at either a Dutch Consulate or a visa application center that has a relationship with the Netherlands.
- In countries where there is no Dutch consular presence, applications may be lodged via the consulate of a Schengen state representing Dutch consular interests.
- You must lodge your application for a Dutch Schengen visa in the country where you legally reside.
- Please note, after submitting your application, you may be asked return at a later date for a personal interview to provide further information/materials related to your trip.
- The Dutch Schengen visa processing time is generally 15 days, although it can take up to 45 days in certain cases.
If your visa was approved:
- Collect your visa and make sure the information it contains is valid and complete.
If your visa was denied:
- If you receive a Schengen visa rejection for the Netherlands, you have a right to an appeal within 4 weeks of receiving your rejection.
- Begin this process by picking up your standard issued-visa refusal form, which describes why your request was denied. Your letter of rejection will explain the detailed steps of the appeal process, including where to send it. Then, submit your appeal.
- If your appeal is approved, you can schedule a new via appointment, to which you should bring your letter indicating that your appeal was successful.
- Please note, you may have to pay an appeal fee, which is likely non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the appeal (positive or negative).
Finally, once you obtain your Schengen Visa for The Netherlands, please note the following:
- Your visa may be revoked if you do not notify the Dutch Consulate/visa application center of any changes to your trip itinerary that occur after you have submitted your application.
- Being approved for a Schengen visa does not guarantee you entry to either the Netherlands or the general Schengen area – you can still be refused entry to both places upon arrival.
- Alternatively, you may have to show additional documents regarding your finances or accommodation in order to enter the Netherlands/the Schengen area.