You may need a residence permit to study in the Netherlands. The type of permit you need depends on your nationality, the length of your stay, and the type of study you want to follow. There are different conditions for university education and secondary or vocational education. To obtain a Netherlands student visa or residence permit, you will need to be sponsored by an educational institution that is recognised by the Dutch Immigration and Nationalisation Service (IND). Citizens of EU and EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a permit to study in the Netherlands.
Conditions for a Study Permit
There are certain conditions that apply to anyone applying for a residence permit. In addition, you and your educational institution have to meet specific conditions for a study permit. This procedure and conditions also apply to exchange students.
Check first if you need to apply for a provisional residence permit (MVV) before arriving in the Netherlands to study. This entry visa lets you stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days. Citizens of certain countries do not need an MVV – you can check the list of these countries on the IND website.
How to Apply if You Need an MVV
Your host educational institution will file for your MVV and residence permit at the same time. After the application has been received, the IND sends a letter stating how the fees are to be paid. Students usually pay through their educational institution. You can provide the required biometric information at the Dutch representation (consulate or embassy) in your home country. When it’s ready, you collect the MVV from the consulate or embassy that your host institution entered on the application form. After you’ve arrived in the Netherlands, you need to make an online appointment with the IND to collect your residence permit.
How to Apply if You Do Not Need an MVV
You can travel to The Hague region and then apply for a residence permit within three months of arriving. Your recognised educational institution will submit your application to the IND on your behalf, sending the application form and all required documents. You pay the fee for your residence permit through your educational institution. To provide the required biometric information and to collect your residence permit, you need to make an online appointment with the IND.
You can find more detailed information about how to get a study permit for university, secondary, or vocational education in the Netherlands on the IND website.
Everyone staying in the Netherlands for more than four months (including EU nationals) must register in the Personal Records Database (BRP) to obtain a Citizen Service Number (BSN).You must register in person at your local municipal district office or city hall.
If you have a residence permit to study in another EU member state, you can follow part of your course in the Netherlands for a maximum of 360 days. This is known as ‘intra-EU mobility’ – you can find more details here.
Once you’ve graduated, you can apply for an orientation year permit for highly educated people. This allows you to look for work in the Netherlands.
Find out more about studying in The Hague and check out our tips on student housing, popular neighbourhoods, and getting around the city by bike or public transport.