Schengen Visa for the Netherlands

Schengen Visa for the Netherlands

The Netherlands, also commonly called Holland, is located on the northwest coast of Europe, across the North Sea from England, and bordered by Germany to the east and Belgium on the western flank. Netherlands translates as “low countries” which refers to the country’s generally flat topography with around one quarter of Holland’s land area sitting below sea level. From the 14th century, the Netherlands has been actively involved in reclaiming land from the sea and today much of the coastline is protected by dykes.

Home to around 18 million people, the Netherlands is one of the world’s most populous countries for its size and the second most densely populated country in the European Union. Famous for tulips, windmills and canals, Holland is an extremely popular tourist destination attracting almost twenty million tourists annually.

A founder member of the European Union, the Netherlands was also one of the original five countries that signed up to the Schengen Agreement in 1985.

Visiting the Netherlands

Holders of European Union or Schengen Area issued passports are free to enter the Netherlands by merely producing a valid passport. This is regardless of the purpose of the visit be it for study, business or pleasure. The same applies to citizens of countries that have a visa-exemption reciprocal agreement with the EU and Schengen authorities. The list of visa-exempt countries includes such major players as the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and even the United Kingdom despite Britain’s recent withdrawal from the European Union.

Citizens of countries on the visa-exempt list do not require a Schengen Visa to visit any of the Schengen member states at present but will require an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) from mid to late 2024.

Intending visitors to the Netherlands who do not qualify as EU or Schengen nationals or whose country is not on the visa-exempt list are known as “world travellers” and require the appropriate visa to enter the country. The Schengen Visa must be secured before arrival in Holland and world travellers should ensure they possess the appropriate type of visa which best fits the purpose of the visit.

Appropriate Schengen Visa

While the vast majority of world travellers arriving in the Netherlands will require a short-stay Tourist Visa this is not always the case. While a Tourist Visa is sufficient to enter the country it is not always the easiest and fastest to acquire. Besides this, problems may arise with the Dutch authorities if a world traveller is actually in the country for business, study or medical reasons but only holds a Tourist Visa. It is always prudent to research which type of visa best describes the purpose of the visit and apply for the most appropriate type.

Each type of visa has its own rules regarding which supporting documentation is required and among the most commonly sought types of Schengen Visa for the Netherlands are:

Airport Transit

Required by world travellers wishing to use a Dutch airport as part of an ongoing journey, an Airport Transit Visa allows the holder to remain within the confines of the airport for up to 24 hours.


  • Valid visa (where applicable) for the final destination country.
  • Airline tickets for the destination country.


World travellers, and particularly seamen, transiting through the Netherlands by sea require a Transit Visa.


  • Valid visa (where applicable) for the final destination country.
  • Travel documents for the destination country.
  • Covering letter from the shipping company concerned.
  • Copy of employment contract (seamen only).

Tourist Visa

The most commonly sought type of Schengen Visa, a Tourist Visa is the most suitable choice for those wishing to visit Holland for a short vacation.


  • Copies of previous six months bank statements.
  • Proof of adequate funding for the duration of the visit.
  • Travel itinerary outlining daily plans.

Visitor Visa

World travellers with friends or relations residing in Holland can avail of a Visitor Visa.


  • Proof of adequate funding for the duration of the visit.
  • Details of planned travel and trips.
  • Letter of invitation from friend/family member.
  • Proof of relationship with host.

Business Visa

If the main purpose of the visit is business related, a Business Visa should be sought as this is a faster and simpler process than applying for other types of visa.


  • Letter of invitation from Dutch company or business concern.
  • Details of the Dutch company.
  • Letter from employer outlining the purpose of the visit.
  • Copies of company bank statements.
  • Copy of company registration.
  • Proof of adequate funding while in the Netherlands.

Study Visa

Students wishing to attend short courses or training programmes of less than six months duration should possess a Study Visa.


  • Copy of registration from college or educational institution.
  • No objection letter stating student will leave the country on completion of the course.

Medical Visa

Whether its for surgery, therapy or treatment, world travellers undergoing any medically related treatment in Holland should have an approved Medical Visa.


  • Copy of applicant’s medical report.
  • Confirmation of appointment(s) in Holland.
  • Description and confirmation of treatment being carried out.
  • Proof of payment for treatment or agreed payment plan.

Official Visit

Reserved for world travellers who wish to enter the Netherlands as part of an official delegation, an Official Visit Visa is available for this purpose.


These are not the only types of Schengen Visas for Holland that can be applied for and some are highly unusual. However, each one covers a specific requirement and intending visitors should check to see if one of the more unusual types of visa might be a better fit. A few of the situations covered include visas for sporting, cultural or religious reasons as well as visas for spouses of Dutch citizens.

Schengen Visa Application Essentials

Regardless of which type of Schengen Visa is being applied for, there are some basic requirements which must accompany each application. The form itself must be carefully completed and double checked for errors or omissions as these can lead to confusion, delay and possible rejection.

Every application must be accompanied by:

  • Two recent, passport-approved photographs.
  • Current passport which must be less than ten years old and valid for a minimum of three months beyond the last day of stay in the Schengen Area.
  • Copies of any previously held visas.
  • Proof of flights (or other forms of travel) into and out of the Netherlands.
  • Copies of bookings for accommodation while in Holland.
  • Proof of adequate funding to cover expenses during the trip.
  • Covering letter outlining the reasons for the visit and details of any scheduled outings.
  • Proof of sufficient travel health insurance.
  • Proof of adequate funding is mandatory and will probably involve providing copies of recent bank statements.

Currently, Dutch authorities require that world travellers should have a minimum of €34 per day to cover expenses but this sum should be checked prior to lodging an application as it is always subject to change.

Similarly, adequate travel health insurance is necessary and this must have a minimum coverage of €30,000 to cover any medical mishaps or treatment required while visiting the Netherlands.