The Netherlands joined the United States of America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in October 1989. For the longest time, citizens of the Netherlands had to visit the U.S. Embassy for acquiring the correct travel documentation, but 20 years after becoming a member of the VWP, this stopped. Since 2009, when the U.S. launched the Electronics System of Travel Authorization (ESTA), Dutch travelers could apply online for staying in the U.S. although specific requirements have to be fulfilled.
Firstly, the ESTA grants admittance to the United States of America for up to 90 days. Then secondly, the ESTA can only be used for the purpose of business, tourism (including medical purposes) and for attending non-credit study programs. If your reason for traveling to the U.S. differs from these purposes, or if it is longer than 90 days, then a tourist visa will be required. It can be obtained from the nearest U.S. Embassy.
Immigration statistics for the Netherlands (2017):
- The total amount of visitors from the Netherlands: 853 332
- Approved ESTA applications: 777 886
- Students and exchange visitors: 13 572
- Temporary workers and family-related applications: 28 280
- Diplomats and other official representatives: 11 088
- Other types of visitor categories: 3 106
Information about traveling to the U.S. from the Netherlands
The main airport in the Netherlands for international flights is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). The airport lies 9 kilometers southwest of Amsterdam. Netherland’s other airports, Rotterdam (RTM) and Eindhoven (EIN), offer mainly European destinations.
Airlines KLM, Amsterdam Airline, Delta Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, TUI, United Airlines and more operate out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
The airport is easily accessed by car, train, and bus. The train (Dutch Railways) is frequent, with direct trains from Amsterdam every 10 to 15 minutes. Buses (Amsterdam Airport Express Bus 397 and GVB bus 69) offer cheaper transportation options, with a single journey ticket from Amsterdam starting from just €3.60 - see bus schedules here and here.
Not living in Amsterdam, not a problem; Flixbus operates reliable services between Amsterdam and towns and cities across all of mainland Europe - more info here.
Flying from Amsterdam to New York is an estimated travel time of 7 hours 48 minutes. If flying to the west coast of the U.S to San Francisco this travel time is estimated at 11 hours 25 minutes.
Depending on where in the U.S. you intend to travel the following airlines can help you get there.
- KLM and their partner airline offer a vast range of flight options to the U.S. KLM fly to popular destinations Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St Paul, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Washington - more info here.
- Their partner, Delta Airlines, fly to other destinations Boston, Detroit, Portland, Seattle/Tacoma and Tampa - more info here.
- United Airlines fly to Chicago, Houston, Newark, San Francisco and Washington - more info here.
- American Airlines offer flights to Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth - more info here.
- Norwegian Airlines fly to New York, while TUI Netherlands flies to Miami and Orlando - more info here.
Keep in mind when booking that some airlines offer more regular services, while other airlines offer more seasonal routes.
When should citizens of the Netherlands apply for ESTA?
It is now required to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before boarding a U.S.-bound airplane. However, it is advisable to apply weeks in advance to make sure that the travel authorization (ESTA) is approved in good time. Those that end up with denied applications must apply for a tourist visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy which can be time-consuming. If you have already decided to visit the United States, then apply today. You can read more about the ESTA application here.
Quick facts for Dutch citizens
Dutch citizens can apply for ESTA online
The ESTA is valid for 2 years for visitors from the Netherlands
Dutch citizens can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days with an approved ESTA
The Netherlands’s overstay rate is only: 0.47%