Dutch Immigration Part IV
The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty requires applicants to invest €4500 in their business. You will have to demonstrate to the IND that you posses this amount in cash or assets. Plopping a bag full of €4500 worth of coins on the agent's desk is not the best option. Instead, you can open an account (rekening) with a Dutch bank.
|ABN-AMRO Den Haag offices. Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons|
This turned out to be a bit more of a hassle than expected. I contacted ABN-AMRO, which is one of the largest banks and also provides some information in English. What many of their staff do not know is that, as an American, there are special requirements for opening an account for you due to the policies of the US government. Before opening a personal or business account, you must contact the "US Persons" department. I made a
couple appointments with the wrong departments before someone figured out who I needed to talk to. Ultimately, I wanted to open a business account*, but as it was explained to me, the US Persons agent was the only one who could input my information into their system, and once that was done the business department could use that file to create a business account for me.
The bank representative I spoke to took my contact information and passed it on to the right person, who then contacted me to set up an appointment for later that same week. She asked me to bring my passport, BSN, and address. I met her at the ABN-AMRO offices in the Hague and we sat down in a secluded office while she created my account. Unfortunately, as a US citizen the bank requires a US address from you. She said that the account is technically registered at my US address, with the local Dutch address used for mailing. The US government requires this under the Patriot Act. This will create extra hassle to anyone who does not maintain an address back in America.
She provided me a print-out of my information and was very helpful in answering questions and explaining what was included. The account she set up was private rather than business. I went ahead with this because I realized having a private account was not a bad idea. The downside is banks charge monthly fees, so having the account costs a couple Euros per month. The appointment took about an hour.
The next step was to set up the business account. I called to make an appointment, but I was told I should open the account online. However, I could not find any way to do this, so I e-mailed the US persons agent and asked how to create the business account. She confirmed that I needed make an appointment and said to call the business department at 088-2262626. This time, when they tried to tell me to do it over the internet, I explained to them that I was not a Dutch citizen and I had been told to apply in person. However, the woman did not speak good English, and she said something about a computer problem and hung up on me. So I called again and got someone with better English, and after going through my explanation again I finally had an appointment, the details of which were e-mailed to me a short time later.
I was told to meet their representative at the local ABN-AMRO branch. When I walked in I wasn't sure exactly where to go since there were not tellers as I was used to, but rather a couple electronic kiosks where most of the customers were conducting their business, with a podium which I walked up to and got the attention of one of the people at the desks in the back. After some good natured teasing from the local agent who obviously enjoyed chatting with the customers, I was sent to a back office where I met the business agent. He helped me choose the right account by asking what features I wanted (ie credit card, savings, etc.) and how much money I needed to manage. In addition to the information I provided for the personal account, he also needed my KVK registration.
After this, I waited to receive my bank cards in the mail. The PINs were sent separately. This was a little different from how ING, another large bank, handled it; with them I was mailed a notice to visit their local office with my passport to pick up the card and PIN.
Once I had the card I could log on online. ABN-AMRO gives you a little machine that you have to stick your card in to, and then it gives you a number to type. ING just uses a username and password. Using the internet I could now transfer the required amount to my business account.** You can also print out a statement to show the IND.
From the first phone call I made to this point took me about a month, but if you know to speak directly to the US persons department you will save yourself a couple weeks.
*Technically, the IND shouldn't care whether the account is business or personal, just as long as you have the correct amount. You could possibly just open a personal account for now, and then get a business account once you have your residence permit.
**I should clarify that I had already arranged to exchange my USD for EUR with someone else, so the EUR could just be transferred from their account. If you are transferring directly from a US Bank, you will need to arrange how to do that with your bank before you leave, or have someone at home wire the money to you. Also, check the exchange rate to make sure you have set aside enough funds.
Next: IND Application
SUMMARY OF PAPERWORK FOR THIS STEPPassport
BSN and Address from the Municipality Registration
WHAT YOU RECEIVEBank statement for IND
HELPFUL LINKSABN-AMRO: Private Accounts Overview
American Citizens Abroad: Banking Issues faced by Americans