DAFT (treaty)

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The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, also known as DAFT or Dutch American Residency Treaty, is an agreement between the United States and the Netherlands concerning friendship, commerce and navigation, together with a protocol and an exchange of notes relating thereto. It was signed at The Hague on March 27, 1956.

One benefit of this treaty has enabled US citizens to start businesses in the Netherlands and its territories. Successful applicants receive a residence permit which allows them to work on a self-employed basis or to represent American companies with business interests in the Netherlands.

The treaty gives American citizens preferential treatment to operate a business in the Netherlands. In contrast to other non-EU nationals who want to work in the Netherlands on a self-employed basis, Americans applying under the treaty do not need to satisfy the points-based test which is applied to non-EU businesses.

To successfully apply for a residence permit to operate a business under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, the applicant must have the following:

  1. Registration of the business with the Chamber of Commerce;
  2. Proof of municipal registration;
  3. A balance sheet, prepared by a qualified accountant or tax advisor;
  4. A valid passport issue by the United States;
  5. Sufficient personal capital invested in the Dutch bank account of the company. Borrowed funds are not considered.

The capital investment amount is €4,500, unless in the case of a so-called Naamloze vennootschap (NV), which is a Dutch Limited Liability Company. In that case the required amount is at least 25% of the minimum capital stock required by law (€45,000), or €11,250.

The residence permit will be issued on a renewable basis for two years. On the back of the permit it will state that only self-employment activities are allowed. If the applicant wants to perform paid work for an employer, then a separate application for a work permit is required. The residence permit will also be endorsed to say that the permit can be withdrawn if the applicant applies for public welfare benefits.

At renewal time, the IND will ask to see proof that the minimum required capital amount has been maintained without fail during the two-year validity of the permit.

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