Student visas and residence permits in Holland

Bicycle parking in AmsterdamProspective international students from outside of The Netherlands and European Union need a student visa and residence permit before they can come into the country to study at a university.

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 VerblijfsprocedureTEV), initiated by sponsors, allows students from abroad to receive both

  • the regular provisional residence permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig VerblijfMVV), 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 RegulierVVR). 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 (BurgerservicenummerBSN) 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

Amsterdam, HollandThe 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;
  • proof of accommodation arranged for at least 1 academic year (10 months);
  • 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 an international bank, indicating enough funds to pay for your proposed expenses in The Netherlands. As an illustrative example, your account should have at least € 10,412. 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 € 10,412.

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. See an example of a correct financial statement (.pdf).

Students need to attach filled Admission and Residence MVV issue form and Antecedents Certificate to the document they send to the university during the TEV procedure. Below, you can see the examples of filling for these forms (click on a picture to enlarge).

Admission abd Residence MVV issue form p. 1Admission abd Residence MVV issue form p. 2Antesedents Certificate

Requirements for students

A canal in AmsterdamAccording 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;
  • pregnancy;
  • 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.

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Comments (14) Comment the article

28/01/2014, 12:21 # Adugna Gebissa

Really I admired you regarding the rule & regulation the way to treat those who interest to attend Their Education there; Thats Well & Good which should be Encourage in the future. If its' Possible I 'm seeking full scholarship in Masters of Business Administration (MBA) because Before three years I graduated in Management at BA-Degree from Rift Valley University College. Hence; I 'm an Ethiopia citizen Africa Which means developing countries. So If it's Possible I expect offer from you. May God bless you Have a nice time

28/01/2014, 15:05 # staff

Hi Adugna,
You can read here about the competition of Nyenrode Business School:

02/05/2015, 09:10 # T.CHARLES MACKINSON

I am really impressed with the information from your site. I am a Nigerian by birth and have been offered admission for Masters program Control Systems Engineering. Please i would like you to inform me on scholarships which i can apply for to facilitate my studies come 1st September, 2015.

09/05/2015, 08:48 # staff

Hi! You can find common info here. Also You can find scholarships while searching programs here are marked by green color.

31/05/2015, 16:45 # Saad

Thank you for this Wonderfull site , great information and very valuable. I do have a question actually regarding the bank account of the student . The amount of money that the student place in his account .will he be able to Spend his money freely at any amount on any time or there is a restriction on how to spend the money.

Kind regards

01/06/2015, 09:07 # staff

After payments for accomodation students can spend money freely

08/10/2016, 18:31 # bibi

i stay i germany with a german resideence permit. must i apply for a residence permit in holland to study there? and do i pay school fees as an international student?

10/10/2016, 15:02 # staff

It decides individually by university

23/01/2017, 21:09 # Zeeshan

Can you tell me how much expenses total including university fees and visa expenses all ? For 3 to 5 years Study in Holland.

24/01/2017, 15:54 # staff

You can find the list of study programmes with prices below:

09/03/2017, 09:03 # nizam

interested in business program planning to visit in jully , is it possible to transfer the schengen visa to student visa , or i have to go back and apply for student visa . and can i bring my family my wife and kids if i decided to do my masters .

10/03/2017, 16:16 # staff

We think that you will need to make new students visa, but don't be worried - usual university makes it by themselves.
Also, you have to ask a permission to university about your family to come

17/05/2017, 15:37 # Maria

Hi. I have a question about the bank statement. How long after date of visa application do I need to keep the required funds in my bank account?
Do I need to show the funds just in the bank statement? Or do they need to remain there for a number of days or weeks?

29/05/2017, 17:26 # staff

University will create your personal bank account where your funds will be kept.
And you will use this account during all term of study

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