Applying for a Schengen visa
The procedure for applying for a visa at a Dutch embassy or consulate-general.
On this page:
- Where can I apply for a Schengen visa?
- How do I apply for a Schengen visa?
- Will I get a stamp in my passport?
- What conditions must I meet?
- How long does it take to get a visa?
- Is there a fee for a visa?
- For how long is a visa valid?
- Who decides whether my visa application is approved?
- What can I do if my visa application is refused?
- What documents do I have to take with me when I travel on a Schengen visa?
- Where can I get more information about visas?
Where can I apply for a Schengen visa?
You can apply for a Schengen visa at the Dutch mission (embassy or consulate) in the country where you reside or are entitled to reside. In some countries, you may apply for a visa at a mission of one of the other Schengen countries or through an outside agency. In some countries, you may also hire a commercial party to take care of the application procedure for you. You can find the addresses and websites of the Dutch missions on this page.
You must apply for the visa at a mission of the Schengen country of your journey’s main destination or the Schengen country where you intend to stay the longest. If you will be staying an equal length of time in more than one Schengen country and cannot designate one of these countries as the country of your main destination, you must apply for your visa at the mission of the first Schengen country you intend to enter. In countries where the Dutch mission works with an outside provider, you can also submit your application directly to the mission.
How do I apply for a Schengen visa?
In principle, the earliest you can be issued with a visa is 3 months before the date you will first need to use it. So, even if you make an appointment well in advance, if you are planning to travel, for example, on 1 August, you will not be issued with the visa before 1 May
To apply for a Schengen visa, you must complete a visa application form, sign it in two places (at question 37 and at the end of the form), and affix one passport photograph to it. The passport photograph must be of good quality and measure 35x45 mm. Click on the link at the top right of the page to download the MVV application form as a PDF file. You must submit your visa application in person at the Schengen country’s mission. When doing so, you must be able to produce a passport that is no more than ten years old and will be valid for at least 90 days after your visa expires.
Will I get a stamp in my passport?
Yes, the mission at which you apply for the visa will stamp your passport on the first empty page available. The stamp will provide the following information:
- Visa type, e.g. A (Airport), C (Circulation) or D (National visa)
- Date of application (day/month/year)
- Code of the member state handling the application (the code for the Netherlands is ‘NL’).
As a rule, the visa sticker usually covers the stamp when it is affixed to the passport.
What conditions must I meet?
The number and types of documents to be enclosed will partly depend on the Schengen country to which you are applying and the nature of the visa application. We recommend that you find out in advance what documents you need (either by going online or by phoning the mission where you intend to submit your application). The mission will provide information in the local language.
The mission assessing your application will establish whether your presence poses a danger to public order, national security or international relations, and whether you have already been refused entry to the Schengen Area. It will take account of the purpose of your visit when assessing these risks and the risk that you may remain in the country illegally.
The most common reasons for visiting the Schengen Area are:
- visiting family/friends
Depending on the purpose of your visit, you may be asked to produce certain documentary evidence, such as:
- documents showing your ability to pay your travel and accommodation expenses;
- hotel reservations, an invitation from private individuals or business connections, a legalised letter of invitation, or a guarantor’s declaration;
- documents showing that you intend to return to your country of origin (such as an employer’s declaration or the deeds to your home);
- a medical travel insurance policy that will cover any costs of repatriation on medical grounds, urgent medical care, or emergency hospital treatment. The insurance policy must be valid for the entire Schengen Area and the entire duration of your stay, and it must provide minimum cover of €30,000. If you cannot make an advance arrangement with your insurance provider that the costs will be repaid if the visa is refused, you will not have to produce this insurance policy until you collect your visa.
How long does it take to get a visa?
Although it usually takes anything up to fifteen days to process a visa application, this process may take up to 30 days if further investigation is necessary. In exceptional cases, an investigation will take up to two months. If you are travelling to the Schengen Area for the first time, you should certainly apply for your visa in good time to make sure that you can travel on the dates you planned.
Is there a fee for a visa?
When you submit a visa application, you must pay a fee to cover the administrative costs. If your application is refused, the fee will not be refunded. The Schengen countries have harmonised their visa fees. As a rule, you must pay the fee in the local currency. In exceptional cases (for instance if the local currency is not convertible), you must pay in another currency. You may also have to pay other costs incurred in processing your application, such as the cost of sending faxes.
For how long is a visa valid?
Visas are normally issued for the duration you specify, with a maximum of 90 days per 180 days. The visa sticker shows how long you may remain in the Schengen Area, the date on which your visa becomes valid and the date on which your visa expires. After that date, the visa will no longer be valid. Take account of possible delays during your journey, and do not travel on the very last day that the visa is valid. Leave yourself some extra time.
Who decides whether my visa application is approved?
Most missions may take independent decisions on visa applications. But since Schengen visas are valid for 26 countries, some countries require that they be notified of or consulted about visa applications from citizens of certain countries. The consultation process may take up to seven days, so you should take account of this when applying for a visa. Please see the lists of countries to whose citizens this requirement applies (one list for the ‘notification’ requirement and one for the ‘consultation’ requirement).
Even if a mission is not obliged to do so, it may choose to refer a visa application to the authorities in the Netherlands for advice or further investigation. Depending on the purpose of the visit, such an application will be assessed by either the Visa Service of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, or the Aliens and Visas Division (DCM/VV) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What can I do if my visa application is refused?
If the visa-granting authority refuses your application, it will send you a copy of the decision explaining why. You may object to this decision in writing (not email) within four weeks of its issue (details of where to send your objection are enclosed with the decision). You may also authorise a person to object to the decision on your behalf or to represent you in any hearing. This person must have written authorisation (in Dutch, French, German or English) to do so, signed by you.
The visa-granting authority will then decide on your objection. If it decides in your favour, it will authorise the mission to issue you with a visa. If it decides against you, it will send you a copy of its decision, explaining why your objection has been denied. The objection procedure usually takes some months.
What documents do I have to take with me when I travel on a Schengen visa?
When you travel to the Schengen Area with a Schengen visa, make sure you take copies of all the documents and other items of evidence that you had to produce in order to obtain the visa. A Schengen visa does not give you the automatic right to enter the Schengen Area: you may still be asked to provide information or produce documents relating to your financial resources and the duration and purpose of your visit.
Where can I get more information about visas?
Depending on your questions, you can contact the following authorities:
1. The Dutch mission in the country where you intend to apply for a
The mission’s website provides a great deal of basic information: it tells you when the Visa Section is open, how you can make an appointment for your visa application, what documents you have to take with you, and how you should pay for the visa.
2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Aliens and Visas Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague deals with visa applications sent by missions for decisions on stays of up to 90 days for the purposes of:
- conferences and seminars
- sporting and cultural events
- political activity
You can contact the Aliens and Visas Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if your visa application falls into one of the above categories and you have questions that could not be answered by the mission where you applied.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2500 EB Den Haag
Tel.: (070) 348 5622 or + 31 70 348 5622
Opening hours: You can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visa information from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:30 and from 13:30 to 16:30.
3. The Visa Service of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom
You cannot submit a visa application to the Visa Service based at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, though you can contact the Service to renew a visa if you are in the Netherlands.
The Visa Service deals with visa applications sent by missions for decisions on stays of up to 90 days for the purposes of:
- visiting family or friends
- artistic activity
- study or training
- medical treatment (except for persons from the former Soviet republics).
You can contact the Visa Service if your visa application falls into one of the above categories and you have questions that could not be answered by the mission where you applied.
You can contact the Visa Service’s information line by phoning the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Staff there should also be able to answer all your questions about Authorisations for Temporary Stay (MVVs) and other questions about admission to the Netherlands.
Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)
7600 AA Almelo
Tel.: 0900 123 4561 (€0.10 per minute).
Outside the Netherlands, phone: +31 (0)20 889 3045
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00