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 USA 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.
In order to get a residence permit to operate a business under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, the applicant must have the following:
- Registration of the business with the Chamber of Commerce;
- A business plan demonstrating commercial activities in the Netherlands;
- A financial report, prepared by a qualified accountant or tax advisor;
- A valid passport valid for at least one year from the application date;
- Health Insurance;
- Substantial personal capital invested in the business. Borrowed funds are not considered.
The amount of capital required is determined on a case-by-case basis. The minimum amounts are determined by the legal form of the business:
- For an 'eenmanzaak' (a sole entrepreneur), the minimum amount of capital is €4,500.
- For incorporated businesses, the 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 one year. On the back of the permit it will state that self-employment activities are only permitted in connection with the business plan. If the applicant wants to perform paid work for an employer, then a new 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The residence permit will also be endorsed to say that the permit can be withdrawn if the applicant applies for public welfare benefits.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 year.