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What is the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT)?

I moved from the US to The Netherlands with this visa within 3 months

By Nicole KunefkePublished about a year ago 4 min read
What is the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT)?
Photo by micheile || visual stories on Unsplash

In the summer of 2019 I was searching for a way to drastically change my life by immigrating to The Netherlands so I could permanently live with my partner, and amidst my research, I stumbled across mention of the DAFT visa. When I read about how little the requirements were compared to other visas, I was a bit skeptical, but hopeful.

So what is DAFT?

The Dutch American Friendship Treaty, or DAFT, is an official agreement between the US and The Netherlands that allows US citizens to move to Holland to work as a self-employed individual. This visa lets you establish your business in the Dutch economy and work between the two countries. You can sell products or services in a broad range of careers and you can either operate at a physical location or online.

I know, it almost sounds too simple, like a dream for those craving a major life change. You might be wondering what’s the catch here? Well, the DAFT visa process itself is easy, but the primary requirement might be difficult for you to build over time: with the DAFT visa you’re required to have a capital investment in your business of 4,500 Euros (roughly 5,000 USD, depending on the value at the time) within a business bank account. It must remain untouched the entire time you’re living in The Netherlands under the DAFT visa. If the investment falls below the required amount at any point, your visa may be revoked by the IND (the Immigration and Naturalisation Service).

Note: DAFT is a residence permit visa that lets US citizens work in The Netherlands as Entrepreneurs or Freelancers. It’s not to be confused with a work permit for employees.

Once you build up enough money to cover the capital investment and application fees, you’re practically ready for the next step. If you’re looking to immigrate from the US to The Netherlands, I’d recommend checking if the DAFT visa is an option for you. I’ve created my own guide for DAFT that’s shaped by my own immigration experience, but before we dive into it, let’s go over some basic details and other DAFT requirements.


How long is the DAFT visa valid for?

The DAFT visa is valid for two years, and then you can submit an application for the DAFT visa renewal. It gives you an extension for another five years if approved.

You can also apply for a permanent residence permit or a Dutch citizenship after living in The Netherlands for five years. There are requirements you must meet for each of these options and it’s possible you’ll lose your US citizenship upon obtaining your Dutch citizenship. But, having a permanent residence permit almost gives you all the perks of a Dutch citizen. The main differences are you can’t vote in Dutch politics or work in Dutch government positions. If you don’t wish to give up your US citizenship, the permanent residence permit works just as well.

Find out more about how to obtain a Dutch citizenship at IND Dutch Citizenship and the permanent residence permit at IND Permanent Residence.

What are the requirements for obtaining the DAFT visa?

In order for you to be eligible for the DAFT visa, you must understand and meet these requirements:

  • You have a valid US passport or travel document.
  • You haven’t given incorrect or falsified information to the Dutch government or withheld important information from them.
  • You haven’t stayed in The Netherlands illegally at any point.
  • You haven’t committed crimes that would involve being a threat to national security or the public order.
  • You have a means of supporting yourself financially to stay off of Dutch welfare programs. I’ll note that allowances from the Dutch government, such as healthcare or housing allowances, don’t count towards this.
  • You’ll establish a business that will work between the US and The Netherlands.

What do I need for the DAFT visa?

For a US citizen to obtain the DAFT visa, the things you’ll (some of these are eventually) need besides filling out the application are as follows:

  • A United States passport and the updated travel stamps within it.
  • A capital investment of 4,500 Euros to place into your business within a Dutch business bank account. You’ll need to calculate the conversion between Euros and USD to get an accurate idea of the amount in USD since the value fluctuates.
  • Additional money for several fees:
  1. The IND application fee that stays up to date on the IND’s website under Working in The Netherlands > Self Employed Person. It changes often but as a rough estimate it’s generally over 1,000 Euros.
  2. The business registration fee with the KVK (50 Euros).
  3. Payment for the trade register document (15 Euros). Again, the fees with the KVK can also change at any time. It’s better to check with them before your appointment.
  • A BSN (a citizen service number you receive upon being entered into the Personal Records Database, basically the equivalent of a US citizen’s SSN).
  • Business registration with the KVK (the Dutch Chamber of Commerce).
  • A rough/simple business plan for your business.
  • An opening balance sheet of your capital investment prepared and signed by a licensed financial advisor/professional.
  • An apostilled copy of your birth certificate that isn’t older than 5 years to show to the Municipality you’ll be living in.

This all sounds great, but how do I apply for the DAFT visa, and what comes next?

I’m glad you asked! Now that we’ve gone over the basics, we can continue on to the DAFT How-to’s I’ve created that break down every step of the DAFT visa process. They include my own personal experiences since every journey is different. You can find the DAFT steps on my Vocal page as I post them.

In the meantime, the IND’s website has more general information on the DAFT immigration process: ind.nl/self-employed-person


Thank you for reading. If you found any of this information interesting or helpful, please give it a like and share!


About the Creator

Nicole Kunefke

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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