Valkenburg ZH, The Netherlands

Post-Brexit Immigration Challenges in the Netherlands

By Wytske Wijnnobel, LIMES International B.V.

Nothing new under the sun: the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. Up to 31 December 2020, there was a transition period, making it possible for UK nationals to continue living and working in the Netherlands. As of 01 January 2021, living and working in and travelling to the Netherlands is not to be taken for granted. Due to Brexit, individuals and companies need to pay serious attention to the immigration requirements.

We will first distinguish between three timeframes to maintain an overview: immigration requirements prior to Brexit, during the transition period, and after Brexit. Under each time frame, we will focus on the following immigration categories: long-term assignments, short-term assignments, frontier workers, and business travellers.

Before Brexit

Before Brexit, UK nationals could travel to the Netherlands based on their UK passport. The length of their stay was not restricted. Additionally, they could work in the Netherlands without a work permit. As a result, UK nationals in one of the four aforementioned categories, were able to travel, live, and work in the Netherlands without facing any immigration restrictions.

During the Transition Period

As a result of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals could still travel to the Netherlands based on their nationality prior to 01 January 2021. They could also start living and working in the Netherlands. However, UK nationals on a long- or short-term assignment and frontier workers who continue after 31 December 2020 should apply for a Withdrawal Agreement residence document prior to 01 July 2021. Frontier workers must apply for a frontier worker’s document to continue their activities in the Netherlands after 31 December 2020. During the transition period, business travellers could still travel to the Netherlands and attend business meetings. They could also work in the Netherlands during the business trip based on their UK passport.

After Brexit

The transition period ended on 31 December 2020. After this date, UK nationals are no longer covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. UK nationals may travel to and stay in the Netherlands, if their stay does not exceed 90 days within 180 days. Please note that the duration of stay in other Schengen countries should be considered when calculating the 90-day period. However, living and working is, in most cases, no longer possible without a residence and work permit.

Generally, the following applies: if the assignment lasts less than 90 days, a work permit is required. If the assignment exceeds 90 days, a residence permit is required as well.

UK nationals on a short-term assignment who stay in the Netherlands for less than 90 days need a work permit. UK nationals who stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days need to apply for a residence and work permit with a specific purpose, such as the highly skilled migrant permit or the intra corporate transferee (ICT) permit.

Depending on the duration and activities, frontier workers may also need to apply for a work permit. Business travellers need to verify the required travel and work documents upfront. If the 90 days within 180 days is not exceeded, the business traveller can travel to the Netherlands and can, for example, participate in commercial transactions or negotiating contracts. However, he is not allowed to do regular work. The business activities permitted without a work permit are more comprehensive for UK nationals than for other third country nationals. It is recommended that, prior to each trip, the business traveller/ employer verifies which travel and work documents are required based on duration of the trip and type of work.


Free movement of UK nationals used to be a fundamental right within the European Union. Brexit has a significant impact on UK nationals when it comes to immigration and relocation. Our immigration team would be happy to assist.

Wytske Wijnnobel

Wytske Wijnnobel

GGI member firm
LIMES International B.V.
Tax, Advisory, Fiduciary and Estate Planning
Valkenburg ZH, The Netherlands
Valkenburg ZH, The Netherlands T: +31 88 0899 000
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LIMES International B.V. is an independent international tax consultancy firm specialising in cross-border issues. They focus exclusively on companies and expats that cross borders, providing them with a broad range of integrated solutions in tax and global mobility, legal, payroll, immigration, social security, HR, and VAT services.

Wytske Wijnnobel is an immigration specialist of LIMES International with more than 10 years of experience in individual and corporate immigration issues.

Published: Employment Law Newsletter, No.10, Spring 2021 l Photo: mrallen -


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