Foreign students can apply for a Dutch student permit for the duration of their course – plus an additional one year ‘orientation visa’ upon graduation to look for work.
Foreign students who have been accepted into higher education study programmes in the Netherlands are eligible for Dutch residency for the duration of their course. They are also eligible to apply for an additional one year residency before their course to prepare, plus are allowed to stay one year after graduation to look for work.
If you want to move to the Netherlands to study for more than three months, once you have been provisionally accepted into a course, the educational establishment will apply for a Dutch student residence permit on your behalf.
Dutch student visa
Depending on your nationality, you may need a provisional residence permit (MVV) to enter the Netherlands, in addition to a Dutch residence permit to stay in the country for more than three months. Since 2013, the educational establishment (your recognised sponsor) can apply for both permits in one application, through the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV). You can find out if you need an MVV for entering the Netherlands in Expatica’s guide to Dutch provisional residence permits (MVV) and temporary residence permits.
Different rules apply for citizens from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland – plus their family members. If this applies to you, read Expatica’s guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals moving to the Netherlands.
Conditions for Dutch student residence permit
In addition to the general requirements for applying for the MVV and temporary residence permit, you must fulfil certain other conditions. The educational institution will apply on your behalf, so they may also have their own specific requirements.
Students must also prove they have sufficient, long-term financial means to support their stay in the Netherlands: see the latest government financial requirements for students.
Secondary and vocational education
You must have (provisional) proof of registration in a full-time course at a recognised secondary or vocational educational institution in the Netherlands, and be able to prove that the Netherlands is the most appropriate place to take your course (for example, if the course is not available in your home country).
In addition, you must meet at least two of the following criteria:
- have family connections in the Netherlands;
- be able to speak, understand, read and write in Dutch (the school or college may ask you to pass a test or take a course);
- be a national from Suriname, Indonesia or South Africa and live there at the time of application;
You will also have to prove that by taking the course you will be make a ‘positive contribution’ to your home country and its labour market – the school or college will have their own way of testing this.
Higher education and university
You must have already been provisionally accepted as a student into a full-time higher education course or programme at a recognised Dutch university, university college or university of applied sciences. You can see the IND’s list of recognised sponsors (select ‘Educational Institutions’).
You can also apply for a student residence permit if you are enrolled in an educational programme in preparation for higher education or university. You are allowed to come to the Netherlands for a year before your higher education course starts in preparation for the course or entry exam – this year is added onto the duration of your residence permit.
Additionally, check with your educational institution if they have their own requirements for accepting foreign students into a course. For example, you may need to demonstrate a knowledge of the Dutch language or take part in a transfer programme.
How to apply for a Dutch student permit
The education institution must apply on your behalf so you need to contact them for details of the procedure. However, below are some general requirements to help you prepare for the application.
The educational institution will need legalised (authenticated) copies of your passport or travel ID and certain documents, all of which need to be in Dutch, English, French or German. For information on legalising and translating documents, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
It currently costs a non-refundable fee of EUR 311 to process an application for an MVV and residence permit for the purpose of studying in the Netherlands. The fees are reviewed twice yearly, and are subject to change mid-year. For the latest fees, click here.
You may also have to pay to legalise (authenticate) any documents in your home country or have them translated.
If the educational intuition is a recognised sponsor, the IND strives to make its decision within two weeks of your application.
Working as a student in the Netherlands
With this permit, you are only allowed to work limited hours, either:
- up to a maximum of 10 hours a week; or
- seasonal labour during June, July and August.
In both cases, your employer must have a work permit (TWV) for you, unless you are a Japanese citizen.
If you have to work as an intern as part of your course, your employer won’t need to get a work permit for you but will need to sign an internship agreement with you and your university or college.
How long does the study residence permit last?
For secondary and vocational courses
Your residence permit will be valid for the duration of your course up to a maximum of five years, plus an additional three months. Before your permit expires, you can apply for an extension for the rest of your programme of study (read what to do when your residence permit expires or you want to leave the Netherlands).
After your course has finally ended, your permit will expire. You will have to leave the Netherlands unless you wish to apply to stay for another purpose.
For higher education and university
Your residence permit will be valid for the duration of your course up to a maximum of five years, plus an additional three months, and the preparatory year if you need this.
If you change your course part way through and start a new one, the number of years you’ve already studied will be deducted from the maximum duration of the new course.
The residence permit may be withdrawn if you do not maintain sufficient progress – at least 50 percent of the required credits each academic year – in working towards your degree.
Before your permit expires, you can apply for an extension of your stay for the rest of your programme of study.
After your course has finally ended, your permit will end too. You will have to leave the Netherlands unless you wish to apply to stay for another purpose, for example, if you find a job. You can find a list of different residence permits here.
After your course finishes: Graduates’ orientation year permit
Graduates of higher education or university studies (bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degrees) can apply for an orientation year for graduates’ permit within three years of graduating. This gives you one year to look for employment, during which time you can work without any restrictions or the need for an employer to hold a work permit for you. For more information, read about Dutch residents permits for graduates’ orientation year.
If your circumstances change
If, during the duration of the permit, you change college, university or other educational establishment, you must inform the IND in writing within four weeks after the change has taken place.
If you are no longer studying at any Dutch institution, the basis on which you were granted your residence permit will have changed, so if you wish to continue to stay in the Netherlands, you will need to apply for a new residence permit. Read Expatica’s complete guide to Dutch visas and permits to find out which permit could be suitable for your individual situation.
For the duration of a university course, the educational establishment will monitor your performance and inform the IND if certain standards are not met or you fail a course – this can lead to your permit being rescinded.
The Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND)
For queries or to make an appointment, 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.
7600 AG ALMELO
The IND’s twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm.
The information is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country for your specific situation.