There are four types of visa for the Netherlands:
1. Schengen, short stay or tourist visa for stays up to 90 days.
2. Transit visa for transfers at Dutch airports.
3. Return visa for foreigners in the Netherlands without a valid residence permit who need to urgently travel abroad.
4. MVV authorisation for temporary stay for some nationalities who want to apply for a residence permit.
1. SHORT STAY (OR) TOURIST VISA:
Schengen or short stay visa
If you want to come to the Netherlands for a short time for a reason such as a holiday, business trip or family visit, and your country does not have a non-visa agreement with the Netherlands, then you need to apply for a short stay visa. The Schengen visa, also known as a short stay visa (C-visa), is for a temporary stay of up to 90 days (over a 180 day period) in the Schengen Area including the Netherlands. The 180 day period starts the day you enter the Netherlands or another Schengen country.
What is the Schengen area?
The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that removed border control at mutual borders and introduced a common visa policy.
Single or multiple entry
You can use the short stay visa in two ways: either as one consecutive 90 day stay, or as two or more stays spread over the 180 day period.
If you wish to spread out your visit, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. You can specify when you apply whether you want single or multiple entry. For example, if you travel to the UK during your visit, you should ask for a multiple entry visa as the UK is not part of the Schengen Area.
If you stay for 90 days consecutively, you need to stay outside the Netherlands (and the Schengen area) for another 90 days before applying for a visa again.
If you want to enter and exit the Schengen Area two or more times on a multiple entry visa then you may want to calculate the total number of days you spend within the area to make sure you don’t exceed the 90 day limit.
2. TRANSIT VISA:
The transit visa or airport transit visa (A-visa) is for international airport passengers making a stopover at an airport (such as Schiphol) in the Netherlands or another Schengen country, while travelling to a destination outside the Schengen area.
With a transit visa you are not permitted to leave the airport. If you wish to exit the airport or continue your journey by car, train or bus to another Schengen country then you need to apply for a Schengen visa. See a list of airport transit visa countries.
3. RETURN VISA:
The return visa is for internationals living in the Netherlands who have an urgent reason to travel abroad such as a family wedding, illness or death, and whose residence permit is either lost, stolen or being processed.
The return visa allows you to travel abroad and then legally re-enter the Netherlands, even if your residence permit is lost or invalid. The return visa is a national (Dutch) visa so it is not valid in other Schengen nations
4. MVV AUTHORIZATION FOR TEMPORARY STAY:
If you want to come to the Netherlands for more than 90 days, and you are required to have a Schengen visa, then you need to apply for an MVV and a residence permit (TEV Procedure) before you travel.
The MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) is similar to a visa because it grants entry to the Netherlands, however it is actually a provisional residence permit. The MVV allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident rather than a tourist. The MVV also allows you to stay in the Netherlands while your residence permit application is being processed.