Residence permit for foreign startups – StartLife

Are you the founder of a food & agtech startup based outside the European Union? Then StartLife might be able to help you obtain a Dutch residence permit for foreign startups. This way, you can build and grow your startup in The Netherlands. Find out on this page what it takes to obtain such permit, and how StartLife can be involved.

What is a ‘residence permit for foreign startups’ or ‘startup visa’?

Find out all details of a residence permit for foreign startups (also referred to as ‘Startup Visa’) on the website of The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (NEA). Also, find out what the benefits are of developing your startup in The Netherlands.

What are the general criteria for obtaining a residence permit for foreign startups?

The general criteria, as listed by the NEA, are:

  1. work together with a trusted and experienced mentor (facilitator)based in the Netherlands;
  2. offer a product or service that is innovative;
  3. the startup entrepreneur has a step-by-step plan to develop their idea into a business;
  4. the startup entrepreneur and the facilitator are registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel);
  5. the startup entrepreneur must have adequate financial resources to reside and live in the Netherlands for one year.

For a detailed overview of the criteria please consult the IND website.

Can I enlist StartLife as my facilitator?

In selected cases it is possible to list StartLife as your facilitator. For that to happen, you must enter into a ‘collaboration agreement’ with StartLife, which we do only after review and selection of your proposition within the StartLife team. Additional criteria to those listed by the NEA apply. You:

  1. want to be based on the renowned Wageningen Campus or in the Food Valley within six months;
  2. have both an innovative and scalable proposition within food & agtech;
  3. are working on your startup full-time, or you will do so within one year;
  4. bring unique market-, commercial- and/or technology experience and knowledge to the StartLife community;
  5. can benefit from the StartLife support programs.

Please note: we hold the right to deny a collaboration, even if the criteria are passed.

What are the benefits of collaborating with StartLife?

Besides the possibility to obtain a residence permit, the benefits of joining StartLife are:

  • StartLife can help find office & working space on Wageningen Campus. Here, you’ll by close to Wageningen University & Research, the leading university in food, agriculture and life sciences;
  • StartLife has a strong Mentoring Program, consisting of serial entrepreneurs and industry experts. Expertise ranges from marketing and sales, to biotechnology and smart agriculture;
  • Through StartLife you can enter a unique network of specialized investors and partners partners. These partners include METRO Group, Döhler, Rabobank, Nutreco and Unilever.

How can I request a collaboration agreement and join the StartLife community?

For your request, please make sure to:

  1. Check to you match these criteria;
  • Starter (<5 yr)
  • Scalable business model
  • Techno startup / innovative
  • Active in Food, Agro or the Biobased Economy
  1. Fill out the contact form on our website and mention your interest in a Startup Visa;
  2. Send a pitch deck (in PDF) to, referring to your intake.

If your proposition fits to the StartLife startup funnel, we’ll contact you to plan an intake call within two weeks. Within one week after the intake call, we’ll let you know of the outcome.