Some of you may wonder how I am able to stay here – generally it’s not that easy to immigrate to another country. The two most common ways to enter: as a student, or as a knowledge worker, weren’t the best options for me. I’m not going to be a student – I need some type of income. Getting a visa as a knowledge worker would be difficult now for lots of reasons: European Union citizens are given preference for jobs, the economic downturn has led to stricter rules on who can enter and/or stay. Plus, Manon’s unsure where she will find a job, so it would be nice to not be tethered to a location.
That leads me to the Dutch American Friendship Treaty. This treaty allows US entrepreneurs/sole proprietors to stay in the Netherlands for either two or five years as long as they meet certain requirements, such as proof of US citizenship, a minimum of 4,600 euros in a bank account balance at all times, health insurance, and a plausible business plan.
Tomorrow I am going to Zwolle to apply to stay under this treaty. (Zwolle is pronounced swole with an ‘a’ at the end. I know swole is not a word, but I have lived in Texas for the past ten years, so I took a little liberty.) My passport will be marked so that I can stay longer than a regular travel visa allows (three months for Americans) while they consider whether to approve my business. So I’m een beetje (a little) nervous, even though this is supposed to be more of an intake meeting. Wish me luck!
Update (August 2015): I was successful in obtaining a two-year visa to work as a sole-proprietor in October 2013. Another post, DAFT Update discusses the process of obtaining this visa.