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Study in the Netherlands: Application Process

Feb 6, 2024
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Interested in studying abroad in the Netherlands? We’re here to help make the process a little simpler. The admission process may be different from what you’re used to, so make sure you consult the university at which you are applying if you have specific questions. In the meantime, take the following steps to get started:

1. Choose a Program

Start by choosing a degree program that is right for you. Select the level of studies you are looking for (bachelor, master, PhD), and your field of study. Keep in mind that you may be required to take a proficiency test or extra language lessons. Start by choosing the degree program that is right for you. Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, there are degrees in a multitude of fields across disciplines. 

Find a program

Want to study in the Netherlands? Find & compare programs

2. Prepare the Paperwork

Among the basic paperwork that is commonly required by all universities is a letter of motivation, recommendation letter, and a portfolio of previous work if applicable. Universities will also require proof of completion of previous studies. To satisfy this requirement, send the university an official transcript from your secondary school if you’re beginning a bachelor’s or your previous university if you’re pursuing a master’s degree or higher. If you are not a native speaker, you may also need to successfully pass an English proficiency test, such as the TOEFL Test.

3. Check Specific Admission Requirements

Depending on the university, specific documentation could be required. Always consult the university website for specific admission requirements and contact the appropriate university office if you have any questions.

4. Submit Your Application

To study in the Netherlands, the application process after finding your desired course of study is fairly simple and straightforward or both or undergraduate and postgraduate openings. Universities in the Netherlands have two main intakes which are in all starting September and in spring starting February every year. For some degree programs to universities in the Netherlands, you can apply through an online application system, Studielink. Studielink allows you to apply for up to four courses at a time. You have the possibility to change the courses you wish to apply for at any time before the enrollment deadline.

5. Wait to Be Admitted

Admission results are often announced by the end of spring. For non-EU students, you must officially enroll at the university before they can start their classes, and you will usually be asked to pay the tuition fees for the first semester. Otherwise, the university where you will pursue your studies will send you an official letter of admission, admission confirmation for visa purposes, and other practical information about studying abroad in the Netherlands.

6. Apply for a Visa

Once you’ve been invited to enroll to a higher education institution in the Netherlands, begin the visa application process as soon as possible. The process can take time and requires several important documents, so do not wait. 

7. Arrive in the Netherlands

After you’ve been admitted to a university and have received the necessary visa, it’s time to begin your adventures in the Netherlands! Make sure to investigate the cost of living in the city you will be staying in and what your budget will be. Once you have that, you can begin looking for accommodation. Finally, it’s time to purchase your transportation to the Netherlands and arrive in your new home city! No matter where you’re staying, there are plenty of sights and attractions to be enjoyed.

Study in the Netherlands - Overview

Over 85,000 international students choose the Netherlands as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

Education System

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in the Netherlands? the Netherlands is a popular destination for a variety of students, given its diverse programs, free education, and its culture and history. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in the Netherlands!

Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter the Netherlands to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status. You will also be required to bring certain documents with you to passport control at the airport, which we cover as well.

Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in the Netherlands.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in the Netherlands may vary. To cover the rest of the costs, there’s plenty of scholarship opportunities available.

Language & Culture

The Netherlands is known for its innovative education methods. The Netherlands also has one of the most active social scenes and nightlife, making it a student-centric, enjoyable city. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!


Ready to look at education in the Netherlands? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the Netherlands today!

This country study guide was published in cooperation with the Dutch organization, Nuffic

About Nuffic

Nuffic is the Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education. Nuffic works to bring people together by connecting international students to Dutch universities. Nuffic’s motto is “Linking knowledge worldwide.” By enabling Dutch universities to share their knowledge with international students through a study abroad education, Nuffic not only links knowledge on a worldwide scale but also connects people from many different countries.

Keystone Team


The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.