Tourist visa for the Netherlands – everything you need to know

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If you’re planning a holiday in the Netherlands, you’re probably wondering what sort of tourist visa for the Netherlands is best? Do you even need a visa? What is the Schengen visa for the Netherlands? In this article, I’ll explain your visa options, the tourist visa requirements for the Netherlands, and how you can apply for a visa.

Visa for the Netherlands and Europe during COVID -19 pandemic

The visa situation for the Netherlands and Europe, in general, is ever-changing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is a general guide, and we take no responsibility for any issues you may have with getting a visa to the Netherlands during this time. It is your responsibility to regularly check both your home country and the Netherlands travel requirements before applying for a visa and before you board your flight, as these may change.

Please see this information from the IND or the Netherlands Worldwide website for the latest up-to-date information.

In general, the Netherlands is currently issuing visas for the Netherlands only. However, if you are from a country that is not enforcing its travel ban or is considered a high-risk country, then you may, at the time of writing, apply for a visa through the Netherlands. If situations change and your home country become high risk, or the Netherlands closes its borders to international traffic, you may be denied entry at the border.

Coronavirus aside…

Do I need a visa for the Netherlands?

When it comes to applying for a tourist visa for the Netherlands, there are two categories of people; those that are required to apply for a visa and those that do not need a visa and are allowed visa-free entry. The first step is to work out which person you are. Below is a list of 62 countries that can travel to the Netherlands visa-free. If your country of citizenship is not on this list, continue to read below.

Citizens of these countries can travel to the Netherlands visa-free

 Albania Israel Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 Andorra Japan Samoa
 Antigua and Barbuda Kiribati San Marino
 Argentina Macau Serbia
 Australia Malaysia Seychelles
 Bahamas Marshall Islands Singapore
 Barbados Mauritius Solomon Islands
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Mexico South Korea
 Brazil Micronesia Taiwan
 Brunei Moldova Timor Leste
 Canada Monaco Tonga
 Chile Montenegro Trinidad and Tobago
 Colombia New Zealand Tuvalu
 Costa Rica Nicaragua Ukraine
 Dominica North Macedonia United Arab Emirates
 El Salvador Palau United Kingdom[a]
 Georgia Panama United States
 Grenada Paraguay Uruguay
 Guatemala Peru Vanuatu
 Honduras Saint Kitts and Nevis  Vatican City
 Hong Kong Saint Lucia Venezuela

The Netherlands and the Schengen area

Read: for the ultimate travel guide for the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is a member of the Schengen area. The Schengen is a group of 26 countries that essentially have open borders. That means that if you have visa-free access to the Netherlands, you can also travel throughout the 26 Schengen countries without a visa. Furthermore, you can enter and stay within the Schengen area for 90 days out of 180. This time frame should more than cover your holiday in the Netherlands.

How does visa-free Schengen travel work?

It is pretty easy if you don’t need a tourist visa for the Netherlands, otherwise known as a Schengen Visa or a Short Stay visa. You fly into the Netherlands, and as you go through customs, your passport will be stamped. Your 90 days in the Schengen area begin the day you arrive. You are free to enter the Netherlands and enjoy your holiday. You go through the arrival process if you’re travelling from the Netherlands to another Schengen country. Your first day in the Schengen, however, will be counted from the day you arrived in the Netherlands,

You can leave the Schengen area from any of the Schengen countries, and you’ll be stamped out of the Schengen area. However, remember that if you overstay your 90 days, you will be penalized.

A bridge over a canal in the Netherlands with pink flowers

What if I do need a visa for the Netherlands?

If your country of citizenship is not listed above, then the chances are that you will need to apply for a Schengen visa for the Netherlands. This is also known as a tourist visa for the Netherlands or a short-stay visa.

Schengen visa for the Netherlands

Types of Schengen Visa

Suppose you want to visit the Netherlands on holiday. In that case, you’ll most likely require a Uniform Schengen Visa – Category C. This short-term visa allows you to stay within the Schengen area for a period of time. When applying for your visa, you can apply for single entry, double-entry or multiple entry visas.

A single entry visa means you can enter the Schengen area for 90 out of 180 days, but as soon as you leave, you cannot go back, even if you have not used your 90 Schengen days. So if you fly into the Netherlands and spend two weeks here before flying to a non-Schengen country, that is it. You can’t come back. If you intend to bounce between countries inside and outside the Schengen area, you may want to consider a double or multiple entry visa.

How does a Schengen visa work

As above, being granted a Schengen Visa gives you access to the 26 Schengen member states. This means you can enter one Schengen country and move freely amongst the others for 90 out of 180 days.

What countries is the Schengen Visa valid

Czech RepublicItalyPortugal

Netherlands Schengen Visa requirements

To get your tourist visa for the Netherlands, you’ll need to provide some documentation and meet the necessary visa requirements. You’ll find all the required information on the Netherlands Schengen visa requirements here.

Netherlands visa cost

The Schengen visa costs €80 for an adult and can be paid at a designated embassy or consulate. The fee is non-refundable if your visa is denied. However, there are exemptions to the fee so double-check your application.

Read: When is the best time to visit the Netherlands?

How to get a tourist visa for the Netherlands

Once you have gathered all your documents, you’ll need to submit them with a completed Schengen Visa application form and your payment for your visa to be processed. You can do this anywhere up to 6 months before you arrive in the Netherlands.

How long does a Schengen visa take to be approved?

On average, your Schengen Visa will take around 15 days to process, although this may vary due to your circumstances. For example, if you’re applying during the COVID-19 pandemic, I would also expect it to take longer.

In conclusion

Suppose you’re planning on travelling to the Netherlands. In that case, you can travel either visa-free or after applying for a tourist visa for the Netherlands, otherwise known as the Schengen Visa. If you need a Schengen visa, be sure to apply at least three weeks to a few months before your travels.

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About Christine

Christine and her partner Ben have spent the last few years traveling through New Zealand and then Europe by campervan. They travel with their dog Alisa, who they adopted in Croatia. You'll find them exploring old cities, hiking through National Parks, and taking unforgettable road trips.

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