Consular Services, Western Hemisphere

All you need to know about Schengen visas

All you need to know about Schengen visas - What is a Schengen visa? - Who needs a Schengen visa? - Entry into the Netherlands without a visa - Airport transit visas - I want to stay longer than 90 days.

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a visa for the Schengen Area: 26 countries with no border controls between them. Those countries are:



the Czech Republic















the Netherlands










The Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement came into force on 26 March 1995. The Schengen countries require visitors to obtain a common visa, which permits entry to the Schengen Area. The Schengen countries have reached agreements with each other on entry requirements and a common visa application form.

A Schengen visa’s validity may be limited to only one country (for instance the Netherlands) or a specified number of countries (for instance Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). In such cases, the visa holder may visit only the countries for which the Schengen visa is valid.

If you have a Schengen visa, you will also be permitted to travel in the other 25 countries belonging to the Schengen area. A Schengen visa is valid for 90 days within a 180-day 'free period'. The free period begins on the date on which you first enter the Netherlands or the Schengen area. To calculate if you have days left in your free period see the EU website calculator.

Who needs a Schengen visa?

If you want to stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days, you may require a visa, depending on your nationality. To find out whether you require visa, please fill out our Visa Inquiry Tool.

If I don’t need a Schengen visa, can I visit the Netherlands for a short stay any time I want?

As a rule, yes.

If you do not need a visa, you may enter the Netherlands as long as you meet the following conditions:


you have a passport that has been issued within the last ten years


you have a passport with a validity covering your intended stay + 3 additional months


you have proof of sufficient funds (€ 34 per day);


you are able to demonstrate the purpose of their stay to border officials and have a return or ongoing ticket


pose no threat to public order, national security or international relations

Furthermore, it is advisable to make provisions for emergencies, such as sudden illness and hospitalization, prior to your trip and to travel with travel insurance. Health care is not free of charge in the Netherlands. You will be required to pay your medical bill before leaving the hospital or doctors office if admittance or any medical help is needed. It is therefore strongly recommended to carry clear proof of your international medical coverage.

If you intend to work in the Netherlands during your stay of less than 90 days, a work permit might be required by law. Make sure to have your employer or host in the Netherlands verify this requirement with the local authorities in the Netherlands.

Airport transit visas

Nationals of certain countries also need an airport transit visa to change aircraft at an airport in a Schengen country. See the list of countries whose nationals need an airport transit visa.

If you believe an airport transit visa is required see further instructions below.

I have more than one nationality. Do I need a visa?

If you have more than one nationality, whether you need a visa will depend on which passport you intend to travel on. If it is a passport of a country whose nationals need a visa, you will also need a visa, even if you have another nationality for which no visa is required. The country in which you are residing is irrelevant to whether you need a visa, although you must be residing legally in the country in which you submit your application.

I want to stay longer than 90 days (MVV procedure)

If you want to visit the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period longer than 90 days, you must apply for an authorization for temporary stay (an MVV). An MVV is a D visa, on which you can travel to the Netherlands and subsequently apply for a residence permit. An MVV is needed by the nationals of all countries except the EU member states and a few other countries. See the list of countries whose nationals do not need an MVV for a stay of longer than 90 days.

If you do not need an MVV and wish to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days, you must still report to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) to register and/or apply for a residence permit on arrival in the Netherlands.

For more detailed information about the MVV procedure, plus the entry conditions for all nationalities for stays both longer and shorter than 90 days, see further instructions on MVV below.