The DAFT, officially known as the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, is a treaty signed in 1956 between the United States and the Netherlands. The aim of the treaty is to promote trade and commercial relations between the two countries.

As a result of the Friendship Treaty between America and the Netherlands (DAFT), it is considerably easier for American entrepreneurs to obtain a residence permit. Entrepreneurs (self-employed, free lancers) from other countries than the US must demonstrate by means of the complicated points system that their stay serves an essential Dutch economic interest. In practice, the DAFT means for US entrepreneurs that they don’t need to comply with the grueling point system which other nationalities do have to deal with before getting admitted as self employed entrepreneurs. In contrast, to this category of entrepreneurs, only a handful of conditions apply to American entrepreneurs for obtaining a residence permit.

The main conditions are:

  • Registration in the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce
  • Investment of significant capital amounting to € 4,500 in our own company.
  • Opening balance sheet and, if not present, a statement or forecast prepared by an accredited accountant or financial adviser.

An added bonus is that the family members of the American entrepreneur enjoy unrestricted access to the labor market. Meaning, no prior permission or conditions are required for working on employment basis. 

Upon approval the entrepreneur and her/his family members will initially get residence permits for two years. After two years, if there is business activity and the invested of €4500 is still present in the business, then the permits will be extended for five years. The DAFT permit can be extended for as long as these requirements are met. 


Despite the relatively few admission requirements for American entrepreneurs under the DAFT, in practice it has proved difficult for many to meet all the preconditions for approval within a short period of time (such as registration in the Personal Records Database/BRP). Professional guidance is not a superfluous luxury for a fast and efficient processing of the application.

In addition to our own expertise, we make our network available to external experts. Through the years we have seen that our DAFT clients often struggle with the fiscal implications (both here in the Netherlands as on the US side) of settling here as an entrepreneur. Especially whether or not to utilize the 30% tax ruling. Admitted tax is not our area of expertise, however, we can refer our clients to specialists in the field of tax law and help our clients to address these matters timely and to make the right immigration choices.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Call us, 020 223 2466, or send us an email, info@arslanlitadvocaten.nl. We are happy to help!

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