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What do I need before leaving?

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Are you a non-EU citizen wishing to study in the Netherlands? You can find information below on the conditions to fulfil and procedures to follow, as well as the rights you can enjoy during your stay.

If you wish to stay in the Netherlands to study at a university or at a university of applied sciences, you will need a provisional residence permit (mvv) and/or a residence permit. The provisional residence permit is a special visa for stays of more than three months in the Netherlands.

Not everyone needs a provisional residence permit to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands. Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States and the Vatican are exempt from the provisional residence permit requirement. There are also other specific circumstances under which a provisional residence permit is not required

Conditions to migrate to the Netherlands to study for more than three months at a university or at a university of applied sciences

In some cases it is possible to stay in the Netherlands to attend secondary and vocational education.

More on the admission to attend secondary and vocational education


Where and how to apply

Only a recognised educational institution can submit an application on behalf of a student. The educational institution is your recognised sponsor.

To apply for the provisional residence permit (mvv) and/or the residence permit, you are advised to contact the educational institution in question. It is the educational institution that submits your application. At the educational establishment they will inform you as to the procedures to be followed.

For some courses, the educational institution will place certain conditions on your knowledge before admitting you to the course, such as knowledge of the Dutch language. You may also be asked to follow a transfer programme first. Prior to your higher education-level studies, you are allowed to stay in the Netherlands for a preparatory year. A maximum of one year will be added to your residence permit for study purposes.

More information on where and how to apply
Documents required To apply for the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV) or the residence permit your sponsor needs certain documents. Please check with your sponsor as to which documents (additionally) are needed.

You will, in any event, need a copy of your travel document (for example a passport) containing the identification/ personal details, including copies of pages containing travel stamps.

Duration of validity of permits

A residence permit for study purposes is issued for the duration of your study programme plus three months for the administrative completion of the programme, and, if applicable, the preparatory year.

The maximum period of the validity of the residence permit is five years. Before the end date of your residence permit, you may apply for an extension of your stay for the duration of your study programme.

If you change your course during your stay in the Netherlands, the number of years that you have already studied in the Netherlands will be deducted from the maximum duration of your new study programme.

To continue your studies in the Netherlands you are expected to maintain sufficient progress toward a degree. You should earn at least 50% of the credits required per academic year. The educational institution checks this at the end of each academic year. If you do not meet this standard, the residence permit may be withdrawn.

If you have successfully finished your study programme, your permit ends. You will then need to leave the Netherlands, or if you wish to stay, apply to stay for another purpose. As a graduate you may, for example, apply for an orientation year for graduates. This permit allows you to seek employment for one year after your graduation date, for example as a highly educated migrant. You then apply for a residence permit to seek and perform work in employment or otherwise.

Orientation year for graduates

Further requirements

Upon arrival, you must:

  • collect the residence document in person from an Immigration and Naturalisation Service desk;
  • register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality where you will be living;
  • make an appointment within three months after the permit has been granted with the Municipal Health Service (GGD) to undergo a tuberculosis test if required.
More information on arrival in the Netherlands


If the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has rejected your application, this will be specified in an official letter (= Decision) from the IND. If you do not agree with the decision, you can register an objection to it, or authorise someone in the Netherlands to do so on your behalf. The official letter explains how to start the procedure for this.

In some cases, the IND is not able to reach a decision in time. The IND may be in default. You can then send a written notice of default to the IND.

If after having registered an objection, the IND has stated your objections to be unfounded, it is possible for you to appeal against this decision to the Dutch court.

More on appeals
Further information More on the admission as a student at a university or at a university of applied sciences


Extension of stay

If you wish to extend your stay, you must apply for this. The application for an extension of your residence permit can be submitted in writing. The IND will assess whether you meet the requirements for prolonging your stay.

More on extension of stay

Change of status

If, during your legal stay in the Netherlands, something changes in your personal situation or your purpose of stay, this could affect your current residence permit. It may be that, as a result of the change, you no longer meet the conditions under which you were granted permission to stay in the Netherlands.

When you no longer meet these conditions, the IND may consider revoking your residence permit and you will have to leave the Netherlands. If you, however, wish to stay in the Netherlands you will then have to apply for a change of purpose of your stay. Please note that when you apply for a change of purpose, this will also be assessed as an application for an extension.

More on a change of status
Employment If you hold a residence permit as a student, you are allowed to work in the Netherlands only if your employer has a work permit (twv). Your employer has to apply for this work permit at UWV (information only available in Dutch).

In addition, you are only allowed to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week. Instead of these 10 hours a week, you may also do seasonal labour during the months of June, July and August. In both cases the employer must have a twv.

If an internship is a compulsory part of your study programme, your employer will not need to have a twv. Instead, you, your employer and your educational institution will need to set up and sign an internship agreement.

Permanent residence

If you have lawfully lived in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of five years and you have a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Study, however, is a temporary purpose of stay.

More on permanent residence

Family reunification

As the holder of a residence permit as a student, it is possible to bring your spouse, (registered) partner or minor child(ren) to the Netherlands. Certain conditions will have to be met in order to be allowed to bring your family members.

More on family reunification