Dutch residence permits for exchange programmes
Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders can apply for one-year working holiday schemes; other nationalities can live in the Netherlands for one year under private exchange programmes.
The Working Holiday Programme (WHP) for Canadians and Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) for Australians and New Zealanders are bilateral exchange programmes, which allow young people to stay in each other's countries for a year. Everyone else has to take part in privately run schemes. Read on to find out about the requirements for both types. As of 1 June 2014 South-Korean nationals may also take part in the WHP.
If you're taking part in a WHP/WHS exchange, you will only need a residence permit, although certain conditions apply.
If you're taking part in a private scheme, depending on your nationality, you may need a provisional residence permit (MVV) to enter the Netherlands and/or a residence permit to stay in the country for more than three months. As of 1 June 2013, the exchange organisation (your sponsor) can apply for both permits in one application, through the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV).
To find out if you need an MVV for entering the Netherlands, or if you only need to submit an application for a Dutch residence permit, read Dutch provisional residence permits (MVV) and temporary residence permits.
Conditions for exchange programme residence permits
There are different conditions for the official WHP/WHS and private exchange programmes.
WHP and WHS in the Netherlands
You can apply to take part in one of these programmes, if you:
- are a Canadian, Australian or New Zealand national with a valid passport/ID;
- are aged between 18-31;
- have a return ticket (or the money to buy one);
- have not had a residence permit for exchange purposes before.
You must not be asked to pay a security deposit or sign a contract with a penalty fee to an agency or exchange organisation, nor sign a contract to perform any task for which specialised skills are required.
Private exchange programmes in the Netherlands
If you want come to the Netherlands on a private scheme, you must:
- be aged between 15 and 30;
- have a valid passport/ID;
- not have stayed in the Netherlands on a residence permit before;
- be taking part in an IND-approved exchange programme;
- be staying with a host family (that's at least two people) for whom you've never worked before;
- agree to take a tuberculosis test when you arrive, if required.
You must not be asked to pay a security deposit or sign a contract with a penalty fee, nor perform any task for which specialised skills are required.
In case conditions have changed, check the latest updates with the IND.
The exchange organisation (who must be recognised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service or IND) is your sponsor. The sponsor can apply on your behalf, and lodge objections and appeals (if your application is rejected). The sponsor has to sign a declaration that you fulfil all the required conditions, and they have certain legal obligations:
- They must ensure that participants are carefully selected and recruited and that the programme itself is run correctly;
- They have a duty to inform the IND of any changes during your stay (either in your situation or their own);
- The must keep certain administrative records;
- If you are found to be staying illegally in the Netherlands after the end of the programme, they have to pay for you to be sent home.
How to apply
If you're taking part in WHP/WHS, you can apply for your residence permit in the Netherlands at the IND office where you're going to live (you can contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad, or visit your nearest IND desk). You can download the form here. You can also apply through the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) via the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.
If you're taking part in a privately run scheme, then the exchange organisation (your recognised sponsor) can submit an application for an MVV and/or residence permit on your behalf through the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) before you come to the Netherlands.
If you're a WHP/WHS participant, you'll need:
- Copies of pages from your passport/ID;
- Copies of your return ticket (or evidence that you have the funds to buy one).
If you're going through a private organisation, check with them about which specific documents you'll need to submit but you will definitely need to provide copies of your passport/travel ID. You'll need to make sure any foreign documents are legalised/authenticated and in English, Dutch, German or French – if not, they must be translated. For more information on this, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
There's a non-refundable fee of EUR 53 to process the application. Fees will be revised mid-year, so check the latest fees here.
There may be additional fees for legalising documents and costs incurred by the embassy to process your application.
Two weeks when the organisation is recognised by the IND.
Once you have your permit
If you're with a WHP/WHS you can take on work to cover your living costs without the need for your employer to hold a work permit in your name.
If you're part of an exchange programme run by a private organisation, you cannot work. The only exception to this may be when voluntary work is part of the exchange programme.
How long does the permit last?
The permit is valid for one year only and cannot be extended. If you want to stay in the Netherlands after the permit has expired, then you have to apply for a new residence permit with a new purpose of stay.
Read the complete guide to Dutch visas and permits to find out if you're eligible to apply for a new residence permit with a different purpose of stay.
The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.
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Updated from 2013.
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