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Visas & Work Permits for the Netherlands

Avans University of Applied Sciences

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Student Visas & Work Permits in 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 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 plans to stay long term, you must register with the municipality as soon as possible after you have arrived.

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 to 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 on arriving to 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 less 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, 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 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 and 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 programmes 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 or by contacting your local Dutch consulate or embassy.

Working whilst 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. 

Find a Program in the Netherlands

Learn more about education in the Netherlands:

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

About Nuffic

Nuffic is the Netherlands organisation 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.

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Last update: 09 Sep 2020

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