Netherlands By Bike


Welcome to the Netherlands

Length of stay explained

(US and Canadian Citizens)

You may stay up to 90 days within a 180 day period. The 90 days may be used all at once or may be spread over 180 days. You must then leave for at least 90 days.

For example: If someone is staying 90 consecutive days in the Netherlands, that person must then stay outside the Schengen area for the following 90 days. Only then can that person again make use of a new period of 90 days.

Be sure immigration officials stamp your passport upon entering the Schengen area and again when you exit. This is the only proof you have if you are ever questioned about your length of stay. Do not overstay, as you may be penalized with a waiting period before you can return again.



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The European Schengen Visa

What is it and how does it apply to me?

In an attempt to create a border-free Europe and allow member countries to travel freely between each other, an agreement was signed in Schengen, Luxembourg in 1985 which created the "Schengen Area". It removed internal border checks between participating Schengen countries and created a single external border check system. This agreement took effect in 1995 and has grown to include almost all EU member countries. It also created a single visa system that applies to foreign visitors and is enforced by all the participating countries. You may enter from one country and leave from another. Tourists are allowed a maximum 90 day (Short Stay) Schengen Visa if they are from an approved country.

Tourists from the US and Canada

If you are a US or Canadian citizen with a valid passport and plan to stay 90 days or less in The Netherlands, you are exempt from needing a "Short Stay" Schengen Visa since you are from an approved visa-free country. No action is required on your part! If you wish to stay in The Netherlands longer than 90 days, then you are no longer a tourist and must apply for a form of residency from the Dutch government, which does require a visa.


New Rules for 2023 (USA and Canada) - Beginning in 2023, you will be required to complete an online application and pay a small fee (€7) before you can travel to the Schengen area. It is not the same as a visa. You can apply for authorization via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). This authorization system is similar to what is already required of European visitors entering the United States. The exact start date of this requirement has not yet been published.

Online authorization form

beginning 2023

Airline Issues

Be careful when booking tickets and staying for 90 days

The airlines are required to act as gate keepers by requiring all passport and visa documentation up front before they will let you fly. Watch out for the visa trap!

Warning:  Don't forget that some months have 31 days (May, July, Aug) so you may actually go over 90 days and not realize it until it is too late. You may not discover this detail until you are contacted by your airline just a few days before your departure requesting that you bring your visa. Also, if taking an over-night flight, don't let them count your departure date as one of your 90 days since you don't actually arrive until a day later in the Netherlands.

Reminder:  After 2021, don't forget to apply online for advance authorization before you fly to the Netherlands. The airlines will be required to check your status beforehand.


Check your Passport expiration date!

Some Schengen countries assume US and Canadian travelers will stay the full 90 days (3 months) allowed regardless if you plan to or not. This means a visitor may not be admitted unless their passport is valid for at least six months from their arrival date regardless of the duration of the stay. You can be denied airline boarding or detained upon your arrival.


The US Department of State goes so far as to recommend that you have 6 months beyond your departure date for travel to The Netherlands while the Government of Canada recommends that your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area. Avoid surprises and renew if in doubt!


Your passport must not expire

within 6 months of your arrival

The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty

The DAFT Residence Permit

Dutch News DAFTThe Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT) gives preferential treatment to American citizens to live and work in the Netherlands by allowing them to set up a new business or open up a branch of an existing US business. The basic requirements are that you must be self-employed, deposit and maintain €4500 in a Dutch bank and have your own medical insurance. Be prepared to hire one of the many Dutch law firms that specialize in this.


If you happen to have some personal wealth and are willing to invest €1,250,000 in the Dutch economy, you should also look into the "Golden Visa" for foreign investors.

History:  The Republic of the Netherlands became the second nation, after France, to officially recognize the independence of the United States of America when The Hague accepted the credentials of Minister John Adams on April 19, 1782 and has been a long-time ally and friend of the United States ever since. In 1956, The Netherlands Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty was drafted in order to "further strengthen bonds of peace and friendship" between the United States and the Netherlands.