Exemptions to the entry ban for professionals in the cultural and creative sectors

From a social and economic perspective, it is important that the cultural and creative sectors are once again able to invite professionals who are at the top of their field worldwide to come to the Netherlands to collaborate on special projects of an exceptional quality, including shows, performances, exhibitions and creative development activities. That is why entry restrictions are being eased for professionals in these sectors. The purpose is to create an exemption for unique initiatives that substantially add to what is already being done in the Netherlands in the area of arts and culture.

Please note: certain conditions apply if you are travelling to the Netherlands, even if your trip falls under one of the exemption categories listed below. Consult the Checklist for travel to the Netherlands before departure.

Target group

Only those professionals who can demonstrate that their visit will be beneficial to Dutch social, cultural and economic interests will fall under this exemption category. This may include directors, conductors, choreographers and non-substitutable soloists, as well as restorers and conservators, for example.

Conditions

The following framework is to be used as a basis for assessing applications for exemption. The Performing Arts Fund (Fonds Podiumkunsten, FPK) is responsible for assessing applications.

The exemption to the entry ban applies only to professionals who can demonstrate that their visit will be beneficial to Dutch social, cultural and economic interests. In principle, this is the case when:

  • The work falls within the scope of an activity for which a cultural or creative organisation receives a multiyear grant from Dutch central government or from one of the central government culture funds for the period 2017-2020 or 2021-2024;
  • Because of their unique skills or qualities, the professional in question has been invited by the Dutch cultural or creative organisation concerned to engage in work for which they will be compensated;
  • The professional’s physical presence and participation is necessary for the overall execution of the activity in question; and
  • The income generated by this activity contributes substantially to the financial situation of the organisation concerned. This demonstrates the economic added value of the professional’s visit.

Other conditions

  • The FPK must have approved the Dutch cultural organisation’s letter of invitation on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria. The professional in question must be in possession of the statement confirming that they have met the requisite criteria.
  • The professional must have a return ticket (open return tickets are also acceptable).
  • If the traveller requires a visa, the usual conditions for applying for a visa still apply in full.
  • The regular border procedures based on the Schengen Borders Code apply. The Dutch border authorities always retain the right to refuse a traveller entry if there is a valid reason to do so.
  • This framework applies exclusively to those professionals who meet the conditions. Family members of professionals do not fall under the framework.

Procedure

  • A cultural or creative organisation draws up a letter of invitation for the professional in question. This letter indicates that the above-mentioned conditions have been met. It also indicates that a specific form of collaboration has been agreed upon.
  • The organisation must submit this letter of invitation to the FPK, together with a document setting out why the professional’s visit is necessary. Submitting the letter of invitation (in Dutch only) can been done digitally, provided that the signed original remains available for verification.
  • The FPK assesses the application for exemption, if necessary in consultation with another one of the central government culture funds.
  • The FPK then issues a signed statement, using the same format as that of a note verbale.
  • The host organisation sends their letter of invitation and the FPK’s statement to the professional in question. This can be done digitally, provided that the signed original remains available for verification.
  • Upon arrival in the Netherlands, the professional presents the statement from the FPK to the border authorities – the Royal Military and Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee).
  • If the professional in question is required to have a visa, they must submit the statement to the Dutch representation when applying for a visa.
  • In exceptional cases, the exemption may apply to work involving activities of a cultural or creative organisation or business that does not receive a multiyear grant from Dutch central government or a National Culture Fund for the period 2017-2020 or 2021-2024. The exemption is limited to cases in which the need for the work is urgent and immediate in order to preserve the continuity of the primary processes of the organisation concerned. These applications (in Dutch only) applications will be assessed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science and must be submitted to the Performing Arts Fund (FPK).

No self-quarantine requirement

Professionals in the cultural sector who are exempted from the entry ban do not have to self-quarantine on arrival in the Netherlands.