This is not my first time living abroad. I lived one semester in Santiago, Chile in 2001 during undergrad and lived one year in Monterrey, Mexico in 2006 for grad school. It has been long enough, though, to forget the temporary frustrations of getting yourself set up and in both of those prior situations, my student status facilitated my ability to live there. This time around, though, coming as a family to stay for one year, without a job/company/school facilitating this – there are many more hoops. Two things to help are: 1. There is a DAFT Treaty between the US & Netherlands (and also Netherlands/Japan) that is decades old, which was created to encourage business between NL and those countries. In very basic/today terms it allows freelancers/entrepreneurs to gain residency as self employed vs having a company/employer sponsor them. 2. We hired an immigration attorney to help us sort through everything.
Even so, with COVID changes to office hours and the inefficient communications between various Dutch organizations that have a role to play in this process, the paperwork and steps can be confusing and non-linear so it was hard to get started. I can’t help thinking how frustrating it is for us – two highly educated people and how hard it must be for others who come with far more barriers to entry than us. And it isn’t just the Netherlands I’m talking about here but many countries, including US.
At any rate, we mailed our application! Everyone cross their fingers that we get some confirmation in the mail soon so that we can take the next steps to making our year here official. Also…stay tuned as we determine the business plan for our Dutch business that we will start to keep in line with the DAFT Treaty.