≡ Menu

Netherlands Visa

Travel Visas to Netherlands The Netherlands is part of the Schengen zone, which comprises 25 countries located mainly in Western Europe. Typically, tourists to the Netherlands are given a visa that is good for the entire Schengen zone. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Think again. This visa is only good for 90 days out of a [...]

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

Travel Visas to Netherlands

The Netherlands is part of the Schengen zone, which comprises 25 countries located mainly in Western Europe. Typically, tourists to the Netherlands are given a visa that is good for the entire Schengen zone. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Think again. This visa is only good for 90 days out of a 180 day period. So this means that you are only alloted less than three months to travel between 25 countries.

For more on the Schengen visa, or to ask a general question, go to Schengen Visa Questions.

FAQ about a visa to the Netherlands

What is the fine for overstaying a visa in Holland?

There is not typically a fine associated with overstaying your Schengen visa if exiting from the Netherlands, but they do tend to apply a ban from re-entering the entire Schengen zone for around three years.

I overstayed my Netherlands student visa, where is the best place to exit the Schengen zone from?

I am an American citizen that has studied in Leiden, The netherlands for the last two years I renewed my permit twice but on the second time around september 2010 when my permit expired I fell in love with an Italian girl before i ever got my new residence permit I left for Italy thinking that I could go to Italy for three monthes and then return to apply for a new residence permit in the Fall.

As I stopped taking classes at my school they had to deregister me with the dutch immiagration office. When I left the Netherlands and entered Italy no one ever stamped my passport, so it looks like I have been in Europe for over two years. I just found out that I have over stayed in the EU zone for many monthes.

My question is what is the best way for me to leave the EU without getting in trouble. Should I leave from Italy to the states and say that my student permit in Holland had just expired and explain that upon entering the country no one stamped my passport? Or try to travel back to Holland through eindhoven airport where they never check passports and then leave from Amsterdam where I would tell the customs officer that my residence permit had just expired, but I left it with my school or something.

I would like to apply for a new residience permit to go back to school in the Netherlands for the fall semester, so If I could leave the EU without getting in trouble and stay in the states for three monthes before my return to Holland that would be the best…. Frankly I am very nervous and I know ignorance of the law is no excuse. I would like to see holland one more time before leaving as I still have a lot of my stuff there at a friends(xbox etc) house, but if I can leave without getting in trouble I can always collect it when I go back in the Fall. Thank you very much for your help!

First, the entire 25 countries of the Schengen zone function as one big “country” in terms of immigration. So there are no border checks between the Netherlands and Italy, or between any other of the member states for that matter. You are stamped into the region in the country you enter and your passport should technically not be examined again until your port of exit from the region.

What this means for you is that you should be looking for the country that is most lax in terms of prosecuting overstayers, as any blip when going through exit immigration could very well mean a three year ban from the entire region. I highly recommend that you DO NOT try to exit through the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, or any Scandinavian country. Italy and France currently seem to be the best exit points after overstaying your visa, while Spain and many of the eastern states seem to be second tier choices.

Keep in mind that it is the last country in the Schengen zone that your flight touches down will be where you go through exit immigration. So if you buy a ticket from, say, Italy to New York, make sure that there are no transfers in any other Schengen country (many flights paths from Italy stop in Geneva or Germany, do not buy a ticket on one of these flights). So make sure the flight path that you choose at least gets you all the way out of the Schengen zone. If flying direct from Italy to the USA is too expensive, try taking a ferry or flight to Albania first and then working your way back from there via London.

As to punishments, only Switzerland and Greece seem to be giving out fines, the rest of the countries just enter your name into the Schengen immigration computer system (the SIS), which pretty much means that you could be banned from re-entry to any country in the Schengen zone for the next three years. Getting out of this computer system is a bureaucratic nightmare, so not being entered into it is key. From the reports that I receive, slipping out through Italy or France seems to be your best options. If you are stopped at all by immigration, are told to fill out any forms, or if you go through any sort of inspection that is out of the ordinary, be cautious when you return, as you could find yourself denied entry.

Keep in mind that this is the most up to date information that I have, and all of this, and everything else that has to do with immigration for that matter, is subject to change at any time.

When can I return to the Netherlands after being denied entry for a visa overstay?

I was detained at Schiphol for overstaying a visitor’s visa by a single day. I opted to return to the states on my own dime and was, officially, “denied entry.” I was told that I could come back after a 90 day wait by an airport official but now, after contacting the MP office at Schiphol, I’m being told that “in all likelihood I may not be allowed back into Holland.” Who should I trust?

Typically, any traveler who has any sort of problem due to a Schengen visa overstay is all too often subject to a three year ban to the entire region. There is no such thing for a ban that is only for the Netherlands or any other single country, even though some authorities are known for telling people otherwise. The entire region functions as a single country in terms of immigration. I am currently consulting one traveler who is actually involved in a law suit against the Netherlands because he was told that his ban was only for that country and then he found himself denied when trying to enter Belgium. (Note: He does not seem to be getting anywhere with the law suit, so I would not advise this route, I just wanted to use this as an example of a Schengen country’s immigration not fully recognizing the impact of their bans).

The nature of a ban to the Schengen zone is very wishy washy and its enforcement is often left up to the various whims of the individual state you try re-entering. In point, any county in the region CAN deny you entry after an overstay, but some are currently more prone to do so than others. The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries are often very stringent when it comes to immigration, while Italy, France, and the more easterly states are known for being more lax.

Finding out the precise parameters for a ban to the Schengen zone is often tricky work. Often the consulates and immigration authorities will lead you astray, but, unfortunately, there is nowhere else to turn. It is my recommendation to check with a few different Schengen consulates to see if they have you in their computer database as being banned prior to trying to return. Even if they say that you are good to go, make sure you enter through a lax country, as it is better to be cautious than sent back home at your own expense.

Do you have a Schengen visa question?

If so, then take a look at our Schengen visa community forum. It’s a community just for people who have questions or concerns related to Europe’s Schengen immigration zone.


The only way I can continue my travels and publishing this blog is by generous contributions from readers. If you can, please subscribe for just $5 per month:


If you like what you just read, please sign up for our newsletter!
* indicates required
Filed under: Netherlands, Visas

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support VBJ’s writing on this blog:

VBJ is currently in: New York City

2 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • mekky November 22, 2010, 7:04 pm

    Hey,i got a red stamp in athens airport over 4 years ago. it was a red stamp with an amout of 1100 euro writting in it but they never asked me to pay anything.Now i have a new passport with a new number as the old passport system has been changed and i want to be going to holland with my gf who happened to be dutch.i phoned the embassy and they want to have a look at my passport (i never said anything about the stamp)If i say that i lost it and i present the new passport,wud they still know that i overstayed my visa althought its a new passport with a new number???should i just come clean and tell them the whole truth,I have an official invitation from her father to visit.If all that doesnt work,how long am i banned from entering the schengen state for?

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com November 22, 2010, 7:06 pm

      I see no advantage in mentioning the overstay. Just apply for a visa like normal, answer all questions honestly, and, if you have to, explain the overstay. If you still have the legal paper explaining your last overstay, bring that with you. The Schengen computer systems were not what they are now four years ago. But I have received reports from people who have overstayed their visa to be denied reentry upon returning. There is no way of telling what could happen until you apply for the visa.

      Link Reply