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Study in the Netherlands: Student Visas & Permits

The Netherlands is an increasing international study destination for many students due to the high quality of education. Visa requirements depend on whether the student is an EU/non-EU citizen Citizens of the EU, the EEA, and Switzerland do not need a student visa or resident permit to enter the Netherlands.

Jan 30, 2014
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Netherlands is an increasing international study destination for many students due to the high quality of education. Visa requirements depend on whether the student is an EU/non-EU citizen

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Citizens of the EU, the EEA, and Switzerland do not need a student visa or resident permit to enter the Netherlands. However, if you plan to stay long-term, you must register with the municipality as soon as possible after you have arrived.

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Want to study in the Netherlands? Find & compare programs

Residence permit

You are obliged to obtain a residence permit to study in the Netherlands if you are a citizen of a non-EU/EAA country or Switzerland and are planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months. It is very important to arrive in the Netherlands with the correct visa; if you arrive on a short stay visa you won’t be able to apply for a resident permit. The residence permit has to be applied for within five days of arriving in the Netherlands.

Upon successful completion of your program of higher education in the Netherlands, you may apply for a residence permit valid for five years. To do this, you must have a contract of employment.

Non-EU citizens

Short stay visa

For a stay of fewer than three months, a visa may be required, depending on your nationality. You can find information and advice on what is required of you on nuffic.nl, or by contacting your local Dutch consulate or embassy.


For a stay exceeding three months, you need a provisional residence permit, (“Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf”, abbreviated as “MVV”), unless you are a citizen of an EU/EEA member country, Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the US, and Switzerland. This requirement applies to citizens of all other countries. The MVV allows you to enter the Netherlands; however, you must apply for a Residence Permit on arrival.

You will be granted a provisional residence permit under the following circumstances:

  • You have a valid passport
  • You have sufficient financial means
  • You are not a danger to public order or the national security of the Netherlands
  • The required fees are paid
  • You have a letter or other document from the Dutch host institution stating that you are or will be enrolled as a student or that you are going to do an internship
  • For interns: you have a copy of the application for a work permit, if applicable
  • For Chinese students: you have a Nuffic certificate, necessary to follow study programs which are taught in English

The application process for an MVV could take between three to six months, so it is important to start the process in good time. You can find more information on indl.nl or by contacting your local Dutch consulate or embassy.

Working while studying in the Netherlands

Many students choose to work while pursuing their education in the Netherlands. Depending on their nationality, students may work for up to sixteen hours a week with a work permit from their employer. An MVV alone is not enough to work in the Netherlands. Any potential employers must apply for a work permit on your behalf. 

If you have to undertake a work placement as part of your course, you do not need a work permit. But you do need to take out a Dutch health insurance plan before you begin any work placements.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are allowed to work in the Netherlands as many hours as they choose while studying. Foreign students (non-EU/EEA/Swiss) with a valid residence permit are allowed to undertake paid full-time work in June, July, and August, or part-time work of no more than sixteen hours a week outside of the summer period. The employer needs to prove that there are no Dutch or EU/EAA/Swiss nationals capable of doing the job before applying for a work permit for you.

Nationals of the Accession States (Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia) are still counted as third-country nationals and must apply for visas and work permits whilst studying in the Netherlands. The same applies to nationals of the West Balkan Candidate States (Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo). The situation for British nationals (including residents of Gibraltar, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man) is unclear pending the outcome of the UK-EU post-Brexit partnership negotiations. 

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 one of the popular destinations for a variety of students, given its diverse programs. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in the Netherlands!

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're some scholarship opportunities available.

Language & Culture

The Netherlands is a country rich in history and culture. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!

Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a university. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in the Netherlands, and what you need to apply, depending on your citizenship.


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.