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Visas and residence permits

To enter Holland for study purposes, inhabitants from most countries need a visa. This is a sticker placed in your passport at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your own country, but it must be applied for well in advance. For a stay of less than three months, you might need a ‘short stay visa’ (Visum Kort Verblijf), depending on your nationality. If you will be staying for longer than three months, you need an ‘authorization for temporary stay’ (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf, or MVV). This requirement does not apply to citizens of the EU/EEA, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Switzerland or Monaco.

36 Study in Holland

Application procedure

The regular application procedure for an MVV may take three to six months, sometimes even longer. The Dutch host institution can apply for an MVV on your behalf using a fast-track procedure. But to do this, the institution must give the authorities a guarantee, which they sign. Institutions will not always agree to do this. But it is worth asking the institution about the fast-track procedure, because it will save both time and trouble. The administration fee for an MVV is 433 euro if you apply for it yourself and 250 euro if the Dutch host institution applies for the MVV on your behalf.

Within three days of arriving in Holland, all foreign nationals must register with the local municipality. Those intending to stay for longer than three months also need to obtain a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). You may need this even if you did not require a visa to enter the country. The administration fee for a residence permit currently stands at 433 euro if you do not need an MVV and 188 euro if you do need an MVV.

European citizens

Nationals of EU/EEA states are not required by law to apply for a residence permit. Nor are they required to register with the Dutch immigration authorities. However, it is advisable to do this in order to avoid hassles when dealing with certain authorities and companies. You can find more information about how and where to register on www.ind.nl and www.nuffic.nl/immigration.

Work permits

International students, with a non-EU/EEA nationality, who do an internship or practical training as part of their studies in the Netherlands may not need to have a work permit anymore after 1 October 2006. In the upcoming months the Dutch government will take a final decision on this proposition of the Dutch cabinet. If you have followed a programme of study in your home country, and you come to the Netherlands solely for an internship or practical training, you will need a work permit if you are not an EU/EEA national. Your employer must apply for this permit for you. You also need a work permit if you want to take paid work alongside your studies. There are two options if you want to work while you study: either less than ten hours

a week year-round, or full-time during the months of June, July and August only. If you have successfully completed your programme of higher education, you may apply for a residence permit to work. To do this, you must have a contract of employment. For more information about all of these procedures, see www.nuffic.nl/immigration.


Dutch law requires everyone living in Holland to be covered by health insurance. Students must make sure that they have adequate cover. If the insurance you have in your own country provides full cover for medical costs while you are in Holland, you should bring with you a statement (in English) detailing the insurance cover. If you do not have adequate cover, you will have to take out a policy. In some situations you may be obliged to join the Dutch public health insurance scheme, for example if you have a job in Holland or if you are going to be staying in Holland for a few years or longer. The student dean at your host institution can provide you with more information. Some insurance policies are specially developed for students, please see www.nuffic.nl/pdf/service/factsh/ health-insurance.pdf.

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