Netherlands study visa system


Visa requirements for the Netherlands
Dutch immigration law restricts who can enter the Netherlands. Students wishing to study in the Netherlands have to meet certain requirements, which vary depending on nationality and the duration and purpose of the stay. 

Whether you need a visa or not, depends on:

  1. Your nationality – as stated on your passport.
  2. The duration of your stay: shorter or longer than three months.
  3. Your purpose of stay: we assume that you will come to Holland to study or to do a preparatory year. For any other purpose of stay, please check the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for the requirements.

Find out which visa you need
Our visa wizard will show you which immigration procedure applies to you.
Go to the visa wizard
When you enrol in a study programme, your host institution will most likely contact you to start up the application procedure. If not, ask for help by contacting the department dealing with international student mobility. Usually this will be the institution’s international office.

Start preparations early
Although the IND will generally process your application within two weeks, we recommend that you start the process early (about three months before you plan to enter the Netherlands). It may take some time for you to collect all the relevant documents.

If you need an entry visa (MVV) than your host institution needs to apply for the MVV. The visa may be limited to Holland, or to a specified number of countries, for instance Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. If this is true for your visa, you are only allowed to travel to the countries listed on the visa.

After you arrive in Holland your institution needs to apply for a residence permit (VVR). This residence permit is valid for twelve months. If you want to continue your studies after the twelve months' period you need to extend the residence permit. In some cases your host institution will arrange this for you. Check the fees for the visa on the website of the Dutch Immigration Service (IND).

Once you have a VVR visa you are free to travel from Holland to any other Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-days period. If you have changed your plans so you are no longer studying in Holland, you need to change your residence permit accordingly. You need to then apply for a “change in purpose of stay”. Check what rules apply for your situation in the the residence wizard of the IND.

Return visa
If you want to travel back home, for example to visit your family and then return to Holland, but you do not yet have a valid residence permit, you will need a return visa.

You also need to register with the local council, upon receipt of your residence permit.

When applying for a residence permit immediately after arrival in Holland, you do not have to demonstrate that you have medical insurance. However, your residence permit will always be issued on condition that you will take out health insurance as soon as possible.
You must be insured against the cost of medical treatment. We also recommend taking out liability insurance. Note that as soon as you pick up a job or paid internship you are obliged to take out Dutch basis healthcare insurance.

Work permit
You need a work permit if you want to take up a job next to your studies. Your employer will need to apply for this. You can only work for a limited number of hours: either a maximum of ten hours a week, or full-time during the months of June, July and August.

If you do an internship that is a mandatory part of your study programme in Holland no work permit is required, unless you are an exchange student. Also there is no limit to the number of hours per week when working as an intern.