How to Get a Student Visa for the Netherlands

After you have figured out which country is suitable for your studies abroad and have chosen the Netherlands, the next step is to pass through the visa application process. Nobody really enjoys this stage, mainly because it requires a lot of time for organising, collecting and preparing all the documents and relevant information.

However, applying for a student visa for the Netherlands is not so complicated, especially since not all of you will need it.

Residents from EU and a few other countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States of America or Vatican City) will not need a student visa.

Can't wait for your unique visa requirements, here's a short list of nationalities and what they need to do to get their student visa for the Netherlands:

The rest of the non-EU students planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, will need a study visa.

Check out Masters in the Netherlands

Check out this list of countries with nationals who do not need an MVV for a stay of over three months.

1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter

If you’re still not sure where you want to study in the Netherlands, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Dutch university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.

Study abroad in the Netherlands Consider some of the best universities in the Netherlands

Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study

2. Find out what type of visa you need to study in the Netherlands

For both short study (up to three months) or long study purposes (over three months) you will need Provisional Residence Permit (MVV) – an entry visa (or provisional residence permit).

If you plan to stay in the Netherlands more than three months, additional to your entry visa, you will also have to apply for Residence Permit (VVR) – an ID card that stands as a study visa.

3. When and where to apply for the study visa

  • You can apply for a study visa at a Netherlands embassy or consulate in your home country.
  • The university can also apply for the MVV and VVR on your behalf through the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND).
  • You can collect the MVV in up to three months.
  • The processing time for your visa application usually lasts one month.

4. Important details about the residence permit

If during your studies you decide to change your course and start a new one, the number of years you've already studied will be deducted from the maximum duration of the new course.

Before the expiration day of your permit, you can apply for an extension of your stay for the rest of your programme of study.

In some cases, the residence permit can be withdrawn if, for example, you do not maintain sufficient progress in regards to your academic performance (at least 50 percent of the required credits each academic year).

The university will be required to inform the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) if you discontinue your studies, terminate your registration as a student of the university, or if you no longer have sufficient funds to cover your living costs. This may result in the IND cancelling your visa/residence permit.

5. Language requirements for my study in the Netherlands

A minimum level of the English language proficiency is required before you can study at any degree level in the Netherlands, not only for the English-taught programmes but sometimes for those taught in Dutch as well.

The main accepted English tests are:

  • IELTS
  • TOEFL

6. Required application documents for the Netherlands study visa:

  • Completed Visa application form
  • Valid passport
  • Two photographs
  • Birth certificate
  • Academic transcripts
  • Official letter from the institution of study in the Netherlands
  • Complete study plan – explain why you are interested in studying the chosen subject area and how and why it is related to your prior studies
  • Financial proof for the entire period of study (around 870 EUR/month)
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Visa application fee (317 EUR)
  • Photocopies of all the original documents
  • Tuberculosis test (required for citizens from some countries)
  • Photocopies of all the original documents
  • Biometric information

7. Specific details regarding the Dutch student visa for Chinese students

Students coming from The People's Republic of China have to get a Nuffic Certificate to be eligible for a Dutch entry visa and enrol in an English-taught study programme. This does not also apply to nationals from Hong Kong (SAR), Macau (SAR) and Taiwan (ROC).

The Nuffic Certificate ensures that Chinese university applicants are qualified to pursue their studies in the Netherlands and also acknowledges their English proficiency and the authenticity of their educational degrees and diplomas.

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8. More detailed visa information for students coming from some countries outside the EU

9. Residence permit in the Netherlands

Usually, universities will apply for the VVR on your behalf, but they will charge for this service.

The Residence Permit (VVR) has the role of a study visa and allows you to stay in the country for the duration of your study programme. If needed, the VVR can be extended to an additional three months, plus the preparatory year.

After you arrive in the Netherlands, you have to register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BPR) in the municipality you are going to live.

Compare Masters in the Netherlands

10. Working while studying in the Netherlands

If you want to work while pursuing your studies in the Netherlands, you might need a work permit, depending on your nationality. Citizens from the EU/EEA (except for Croatia), Switzerland and Japan do not need a work permit and have no restriction on the number of hours they are allowed to work.

Citizens from Croatia and other countries will need a work permit and only the employer or employment agency can apply for the work permit on their behalf.

International students are allowed to work up to ten hours a week or full-time during the summer months only.

Find scholarships in the Netherlands 

Check the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for more information.

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