How to Open a Business Bank Account in The Netherlands
What you need to know with opening a bank account for your business as an immigrant in The Netherlands
When establishing a business in The Netherlands, it's vital to know how to open a business bank account. Even more so while immigrating with the DAFT visa or any other visas that involve establishing a business. Since I immigrated to The Netherlands from the US under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty visa, it's the example I'll be referring to in this article. If you're immigrating from a different country then other factors may apply to you.
Every experience is going to be significantly different with this process. This is also the step that takes the longest, at least in my experience, so be sure to allow yourself a minimum of a couple of weeks to complete this step.
There are several banks within The Netherlands to choose from, though there are two banks that are among the biggest: Rabobank and ING. Both banks have similar starter deals for your business account that you can take. The basics are the first 6 months have free services and then you pay around 10 Euros per month. Note that they can adjust these fees as they see fit.
You can find more information about each bank's starter deals on their websites:
Note: While I've read that ING's site and apps are easier for non-Dutch speakers, I still went with Rabobank after reading about both bank options. Their site is easy to navigate once you learn where everything is, and their mobile app can be set to English if needed.
If you're not thrilled about either bank choice and found a different one you like, I still recommend going with one of these choices to begin with. At least until you get your residence card and then you can switch to your preferred choice. The larger banks will be faster if time is of the essence for you. However! You can always call the bank you're interested in, thoroughly describe your situation, and see if it's possible for them to give you an estimate about how long it'll take to open your business account.
There is another large Dutch bank chain called ABN AMRO that also mention they can open business bank accounts for those moving to The Netherlands. They mention a similar free for the first six months start up, though I can't find this information in detail. You're welcome to learn more about opening a business bank account with them or find their contact information here: ABN AMRO bank account info.
What you need to open a business bank account in The Netherlands:
Regardless of your choice, you're going to need the following to help in their verification of you and your business:
- 1) Your passport (with the stamp of residence endorsement)
- 2) Your American SSN or your country's equivalent of this
- 3) The KVK Trade Register for your business (guide for obtaining this is in the link)
- 4) Your patience and wits
- 5) A great amount of perseverance when it comes to following up with the bank
This is as far as my general guidance can go when it comes to opening your Dutch business bank account. With any choice you make, definitely explain your situation in detail and how you're moving to The Netherlands via DAFT or your chosen visa. You can even show them your official letter from the IND if you wish.
Once you have obtained your DAFT/other chosen visa, your bank will likely want to make a copy of your residence card. Rabobank was content with a copy of my passport's endorsement stamp until I could show them my residence permit.
If you're reading this with following the DAFT visa, After your Dutch business bank account is established, you're ready to move your capital investment of 4,500 Euros into it. If you haven't transferred your money from your US bank account yet, here is a reference back to the transferring money section in my DAFT visa application submission guide.
Important reminder for the DAFT visa: Remember that your capital investment cannot fall below the 4,500 Euros at any point or the IND can revoke your DAFT visa!
I've assumed it takes so long to open a Dutch business bank account in recent times because banks in The Netherlands have to be more vigilant about money laundering. Not only did it take a while for me to accomplish this, but I had to jump through a lot of hoops with the bank to get my business account established. This is just a speculation of mine, though.
The best way for me to explain what I mean is by sharing my personal experience with opening a business bank account in The Netherlands in great detail, which you can follow down below. It was certainly the most challenging part of my DAFT immigration. If you're not interested, then you can jump to the last of my DAFT immigration How-to posts about finding a financial advisor in The Netherlands to sign off on your business account (you can find this article on my Vocal page).
My personal experience with opening a business bank account in The Netherlands Part 1:
The Deadline Clock was breathing down the back of my neck at this stage. I was confident I could open a business account and throw my capital investment in it before time ran out. I had a choice between ING or Rabobank as the easiest banks for my purpose, and after researching both, I chose to go with Rabobank.
On the same day I got home from the KVK meeting, I called Rabobank's customer service since I couldn't open an account with them online directly and it mentioned I could open one with them over the phone. Customer representative #1 told me I had to go inside one of their still-open branches within my city, no appointment needed, so they could enter in all my legal documents for confirming my identity and open my account there. That made sense, so my partner and I visited the open Rabobank office the very next day.
We talked to someone I'll refer to as Helpful Employee. At first they told me they couldn't open a business account for me at that branch, only personal accounts. The Deadline Clock waved at me in the distance. I explained to Helpful Employee the instructions I was given by the over-the-phone customer representative #1. Helpful Employee consulted their fellow colleagues and returned to us with the choice that I could open a personal account with them, something I needed anyway, and use that as a gateway to open a business account with them online. I happily agreed and we began the process.
- An Embarrassing Mistake -
Helpful Employee had asked me a question I hadn't heard during my entire time in the Netherlands: what's your SSN?
Now, when I was told about confirming my identity, I thought they meant my passport, since that's all that's ever been asked of me for identification during my time in the Netherlands. I thought I could remember my SSN, but naturally I couldn't remember it off the top of my head. I embarrassingly had to admit this to Helpful Employee and raced back home to grab it.
After that it was a smoother process and Helpful Employee explained that the tools and debit card I needed to activate my online banking would arrive in the mail over the next week in 3 pieces. Recall when I said the Dutch do that to secure important information, like with the DigiD info, and it takes a while to get everything you need? Yeah… same situation here.
- An Unnecessary Side Quest -
Side quest time! Twenty minutes after we left the Rabobank office, when I was already back home, I received a phone call that my frazzled brain forgot my passport at Helpful Employee's desk. It was a repeat of the IND stamp all over again where I had to rush to get there right before they closed. No security present to tackle me this time, though, and I slipped in before they locked their door.
If you ever feel like you are going through one of the most important phases of your life and you continually make minor, inconvenient mistakes that can potentially have drastic consequences but somehow don't, just think of me and know you're not alone in this.
Knowing about the 3 separate pieces coming in the mail, I was certain it wouldn't take me long to get my business account once I received them, though meeting the October 22nd deadline was impossible. I updated My Caseworker on my progress and they gave me "until the end of the month", which in reality was only a week extension. That's enough time, I thought. Ha.
It was at this point I discovered I missed something in the initial letter the IND sent to me about the documents they required.
- The Opening Balance Sheet Discovery -
Right below where it stated the requirements for the KVK Trade Register document, capital investment amount and bank account statement, it also listed an opening balance sheet checked/approved by a licensed professional with a BECON number (basically some type of financial advisor or accountant). This was something I overlooked during my initial read of the letter. My confidence shattered and panic settled in to stay for a while. How would I finish up my bank account PLUS find a licensed professional for this task within just a few days? The Deadline Clock sneered at me.
Before I could get my opening balance sheet task completed, I needed the capital investment in the bank account so I could get the bank statement. Finally, when all of my tools arrived in the mail, I activated my personal account, moved my money into it, and proceeded to follow the instructions online for opening the business account. Except the website told me I wasn't able to do that action and advised I call Rabobank's customer service. Again.
I'll admit, this is the very moment that broke me. It was the last straw that triggered a breakdown from built-up stress and panic.
Opening A Business Bank Account in The Netherlands Part 2:
Calling Rabobank's customer service number once more, I gave a mile-long explanation about my situation to the poor soul on the other end of the line. We reached a point in the conversation where customer representative #2 informed me I wasn't in their system. Say what? That was impossible! I had to be insistent about how I had just visited Helpful Employee at the local branch. This is when they had to question me thoroughly about myself so they could access my file. It's also when they found the problem!
Apparently my application for the business account wasn't pushed through in their system and they had to open it themselves. Persistence eventually yields rewards, folks.
Greatly relieved, I inquired if it could be done before the 31st, which was just 10 days away from that point in time. The representative was doubtful of it being done in that timeframe (hence why I stress about allowing lots of time in my guide above), but they assured me they would try. They had informed me their business branch would call me to do an interview soon. It made me a bit nervous, but it was a procedure they had to perform before they could open the account.
- Good News and.... No News? -
It was unexpected that this was the most difficult/detailed step of my journey, but understandable from the bank's perspective. I reached out to My Caseworker once more with this update, pleading for another extension. This entire situation made me feel awful for needing more time and I was worried I had taxed My Caseworker's patience.
Rabobank was amazing with helping me through this whole process. The next day I got the call from their interviewer with questions that were incredibly thorough. Soon after they sent an email requiring the last pieces of information from me and my signature on the contract. The 2nd round of tools needed to activate the account began to trickle in through the mail. All was back on track.
By the time I activated the account and moved the capital investment into my fresh business account, my follow up contact attempts with My Caseworker still received no response. The Deadline Clock was almost out of time when my immigration journey was so near its end! Panic ensued!
Hey there! I appreciate you taking the time to read my article. If you found any of this information/my experience interesting or helpful, please give it a like and share!
Check out my other DAFT How-to's linked in this article and on my Vocal page for more information about immigrating from the US to The Netherlands via the DAFT visa!
About the Creator
Aspiring Fantasy & Horror Writer. Chaotic Night Owl. Freelancer.
The genres I write in are Poetry, Mental Health, and Immigration via my experience immigrating from the US to The Netherlands.
Find me on FB & Twitter: KismetDragoness
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