Dutch American Friendship Treaty - Important updates for 2023

Mar 18, 2023

The Dutch American Friendship Treaty (or “DAFT”) visa is an excellent way for Americans to get a residence and working permit in the Netherlands, as this DAFT article will explain in 5 easy steps. This continues to be the case in 2023. The Dutch American Friendship Treaty visa is of course also subject to rule-changes and in de-facto handling by the Dutch authorities. In this article we will explain some of the major changes we have encountered as of 2023.

Restriction on provisional DAFT visa for family members in 2023

DAFT applicants are able to make full use of both the right to work and live in the Netherlands, after obtaining their endorsement sticker at the IND appointment. This usually takes place within the first few weeks in-country. This means the applicant doesn’t have to wait until the final verdict on the DAFT application, which can take many more weeks. Family members of the main applicant used to receive a regular work permit as part of their IND endorsement sticker. As of 2023, family members now only receive a right to work self-employed as part of their IND sticker, not to work in regular employment. Family members will have to wait until the final verdict on their DAFT application before being allowed to work in the Netherlands. After receiving their DAFT visa, family members are entitled to work in the Netherlands in whichever capacity they choose: either in regular employment or self-employed. This is actually a broader visa than the main applicant who is only allowed to work self employed.

IND registration fee for DAFT is lowered significantly in 2023

The IND fee for processing your DAFT application has been reduced significantly in 2023. The IND fee used to be a hefty € 1,446 but now stands at € 350 for the main applicant. This is a big chunk of cash that you can now spend elsewhere. In 2023 the partner fee comes in at € 210 and the children’s IND fee at € 70. In another article we explain the full family situation of DAFT applications.

Dutch banks are preferred for your € 4,500 DAFT deposit in 2023

As we all know, the IND requires you to deposit € 4,500 on your Dutch company’s bank account as part of your DAFT application. You then need to provide a bank statement as proof to that effect to the IND. Dutch companies in general are not required to have a Dutch bank account, and under DAFT there is also no official requirement that your company’s bank account should be a Dutch bank account. But as of 2023 we have experienced IND requesting that the deposit be made on a Dutch bank account held by the Dutch company, nonetheless. It is possible to apply for DAFT with a foreign bank account (for example Wise.com or Revolut) but there is a chance your application is then either delayed or denied completely. Getting a Dutch bank account before you have your Dutch BSN number is notoriously difficult. We therefore advise to first use an easier-to-get foreign bank account to use in the first days of your business. Then, once you have obtained your BSN number at your municipality, apply for a Dutch bank account. We have had good experiences with Dutch bank ING (no affiliation). Then deposit the € 4,500 on that bank account and use that bank statement for your DAFT application.

New 30% ruling criteria in 2023

Many DAFT applicants try to go for the 30% ruling while they are at it. In another article we explain how to get both the DAFT and the 30% ruling. If you are undecided about whether to go for 30% ruling or not, this article will explain the major differences between ZZP and BV+30% ruling under DAFT. For a more general explanation about the 30% ruling, check the 30% ruling FAQs.

DAFT applicants going for the 30% ruling may expect two major changes in 2023 :

(a) 30% applicants will have their applicable salary capped at € 223,000 from January 1st, 2024 and onwards. This means from that date onwards, any salary received above € 223,000 per year will be taxed regularly without application of the 30% ruling.

(b) In 2023, the minimum required salary for the 30% ruling is € 41,953 per year or € 31,891 per year if you are under 30 years old and have a Master’s Degree.

Grace period after expiration of other visa doesn’t apply to DAFT switch

This one isn’t specifically tied to 2023 but we’re going to mention it anyway, on account of how many mistakes are made here. If you are currently working in the Netherlands under another visa (for example HSM or Blue Card), you are able to switch to the DAFT visa and work self-employed in your own company. So far so good. What many folks don’t realize is that the 3-month grace period after your HSM or Blue Card visa is meant to find another employment under that same visa. It is not meant to find self-employment under the DAFT visa. Hence, if you wish to make the switch to the DAFT visa, you must make your application before the end of your current visa sponsored employment, and disregard the 3-month grace period at the end of it. If you go wrong here you will not get expelled, but your counter towards your 5-years residency period will be reset to zero. This is a costly mistake, and it’s easily avoidable if you plan correctly.

We hope this helps you on your way!