Most non-EU citizens who would like to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment (i.e. as an entrepreneur or freelancer) have to obtain enough points in the strict point system in order to prove that their business serves a vital economic interest of the Netherlands. But for some non-EU citizens, other, less strict rules apply.

Citizens of Turkey

Based on the “standstill” principle of the Association Treaty between Turkey and the EU, Turkish entrepreneurs are exempt from the point system. They do have to demonstrate in other ways that their business serves a vital economic interest of the Netherlands.

Long-Term Residents


Artists (and musicians) do not have to serve an economic interest of the Netherlands in order to be eligible for a residence permit for self-employment; however, they do have to serve a cultural interest of the Netherlands. This cultural interest, which is evaluated by the Ministry for Education, Culture and Science, is generally assumed to exist if an important cultural institution in the Netherlands requires the presence of the artist for a future exhibition or performance. Franssen Advocaten can give you further advice on how an artist can be judged to serve a cultural interest.

Americans and Japanese

Based on Article II of the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, signed in 1956, citizens of the United States are eligible for a residence permit for self-employment without their business having to serve a vital Dutch interest and without the entrepreneur having to earn a minimum income. They do have to invest a “substantial amount of capital” from their own assets in their business (at least €4,500.00) and they have to actively develop and direct their business. The spouse and children of the American entrepreneur, regardless of nationality, are also eligible for residence permits as dependents.

According to the Netherlands-Japan Trade Treaty, signed in 1912, Japanese in the Netherlands must “be treated in all respects the same as nationals or citizens of the most favored nation”. They are therefore eligible for a residence permit for self-employment on the same favorable conditions as Americans, and even more favorable conditions (based on equal treatment to citizens of Switzerland).

Franssen Advocaten is specialized in the Friendship Treaty and the Trade Treaty and has already guided many Americans, Japanese, and their spouses through the often complicated application procedures.

Franssen Advocaten is also a partner of IN (International Newcomers) Amsterdam (formerly the Expat Center Amsterdam), where persons starting a new business in Amsterdam are eligible for an express procedure for registering their address in the population register and obtaining a BSN (Dutch social security number and tax ID).

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