If you have access to a doctoral programme and have been selected to work on a scientific research project, you and your family can apply to live and work in the Netherlands.
Under the Directive 2005/71/EC, if you hold an educational qualification that gives you access to a doctoral programme, and you’ve been selected to work on a scientific research project in the Netherlands, a recognised research institution can submit a fast-track application on your behalf.
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, you (or a 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 scientific researchers
In addition to the general requirements for MVV/residence permit (such as holding a valid passport), you must have entered into an agreement with a research institute recognised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). (Find the IND’s list of recognised sponsors.)
This agreement should confirm that:
- you have the appropriate qualifications for access to a university doctoral degree programme;
- the research project you will be working on has been approved by the research institute;
- the legal relationship between you and the institute and your terms of employment have been set.
How to apply for a scientific research residence permit
The research institute will apply on your behalf.
Check with the research institute about which documents you will need to submit but you will at least need your passport/travel ID. Any foreign documents will need to be legalised or authenticated by the appropriate authority in the originating country, and be in Dutch, English, French or German. For information on how to do this, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
The fee (currently EUR 307) is a non-refundable fee for processing your application. You cannot get a refund if your application is refused. See this link for more information on the latest fees, as costs will be reviewed mid-year.
There may be other fees, for example for legalising documents in your home country.
Research institutes recognised by the IND qualify for a fast-track procedure, whereby the IND aims to come to a decision on the application two weeks of receipt.
Once you have your residence permit
You are allowed to work as a scientific researcher in the Netherlands and the research institute does not need a work permit in your name. If you carry out any other type of work then the employer must have a work permit in your name.
Any family members are free to work without a work permit (but do need to get a residence permit, see Dutch provisional residence permits (MVV) and temporary residence permits).
How long does the permit last?
The permit lasts for the same time as the research project, up to a maximum of five years, but is extendable if you continue to fulfil the conditions of the permit. Find out how you can extend your permit.
If your circumstances change
If you change research institutions during this time, the institute must inform the IND. If you leave the research project but wish to stay in the Netherlands for another purpose (as an ordinary employee, or a self-employed person for example), you have to apply for a new residence permit.
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.