As of June 1st, 2013 when the Modern Migration Policy came into effect, students can only receive a study visa with the support of their host educational institution. The institution must be accredited as an eligible sponsor by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) in order to apply. Here is the list of recognised sponsors for Higher Professional Education (HBO), University Education (WO), and the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme in The Netherlands.
The Entry and Residence Procedure (Toegang-en Verblijfsprocedure – TEV), initiated by sponsors, allows students from abroad to receive both
- the regular provisional residence permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf – MVV), a sticker to passport, which can be collected at the closest Dutch embassy and grants the right to enter Holland,
- and the regular residence permit (VerblijfsVergunning Regulier – VVR). The permit is a plastic card that proves a student’s identity, nationality, and lawful residency status in The Netherlands. With this card students can enter and exit the country and travel through the Schengen area. Students receive their residence permit card after they enter The Netherlands, either at the regional IND desk or from their sponsors.
Institutions can also apply for visas for the student’s family members, but in this case they are responsible for the student only. The student is therefore responsible for the family members.
If students plan to stay in Holland for less than 3 months (for example, in the case of language courses), they need to arrange a VKV (short-stay) or Schengen visa at a Dutch embassy and do not need an MVV visa or a residence permit.
After arriving to The Netherlands students must also request a Citizen's Service Number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN) at the City Hall. This is a unique personal number which is needed for many important activities like opening a bank account or receiving a scholarship.
Student visa duration and fees
The residence permit is issued for the duration of a student’s study programme plus 3 months, up to a maximum of 5 years. If the student wishes to complete a preparatory course, its duration will be added to the visa duration. If the length of the education will take more than 5 years, the residence permit can be extended by one additional year. Students of Dutch universities who already had an active residence permit on June 1st, 2013 will have their visa extended for the remaining duration of their studies.
The TEV procedure is initiated by the university as soon as the student is officially admitted to the study programme. The process usually takes about 2 weeks to complete, although sometimes it can take up to 3 months. Students also need to pay an administration fee to start this process. This fee is equal to €300 for new students and €150 for a permit extension.
The residence permit card is not bound to the student’s host institution and students can change their programme without applying for a new permit. This document also allows students to work in Holland, but no more than 10 hours a week during the school year or full-time only in the months from June to August. If a student wishes to work, the employer must apply for a work permit.
Who needs a residence permit in The Netherlands?
The Entry and Residence Procedure must be completed for all international students unless they are nationals of the European Union, Switzerland, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Vatican City, Monaco, or South Korea.
Documents required for TEV
Documents required for the visa application are listed in the letter sent by the university to prospective students. Usually, the following documents are needed:
- a copy of the first page (identity page) of a valid passport;
- proof that you can support yourself financially;
- additional passport-sized photos (size: 35mm x 45mm, see IND requirements in.pdf);
- proof of tuition fees and visa application payments;
- for Chinese students a NESO certificate may be necessary.
Valid proof of a candidate’s financial self-sufficiency can be demonstrated as follows:
- A letter from the host Dutch institution that mentions your internship fee or trainee stipend.
- An admission letter from the Dutch university providing details of your student grant, tuition waiver or scholarship.
- Your bank account statement with a Dutch bank or reputed international bank, indicating enough funds to pay for your proposed expenses in The Netherlands. As an illustrative example, your account should have at least € 9.600,00. If your stay is being sponsored by your parents a written statement that indicates the amount of the sponsorship, its duration, and proof of finance from your sponsor is required. Again, your sponsor’s bank statement should have at least € 9.600,00.
Please note that the bank statement must be on the original official bank letterhead. Your full name, date of birth, and bank account number, as well as the address and telephone number of the bank must be clearly mentioned.
Requirements for students
According to the Modern Migration Policy, educational institutions must keep track of a student’s workload during the academic year and report it to the IND. International students must pass at least 50% of the study programme (30 credits) in order to maintain their residence permit status.
In case students encounter problems that might keep them from meeting the 50% requirement, they should inform their academic advisors or programme coordinators at the time the problem occurs. This way all circumstances will be recorded on the student’s file which can prevent a residence permit from being revoked at the end of an academic year.
The following reasons can possibly prevent a student’s residence permit from being revoked:
- serious illness;
- exceptional family circumstances;
- physical, sensorial, or other functional disturbance;
- membership of or position on a university board;
- insufficiently feasible study programme.
Please note that some Dutch universities may also require international students to receive more credits during their first year of a Bachelor’s degree.