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How to apply for a Netherlands student visa

Many international students will need a residence permit to study in the Netherlands. It’s important that when you have an offer of acceptance from a university you start the process for the correct visa.

Find programs in the Netherlands

EU students studying in the Netherlands

Students from EU countries studying in the Netherlands do not need a student visa or residence permit, however, you will need to register with a local governing body if you are studying in the country for longer than four months.

At registration, you’ll need to show a legalized and translated birth certificate. You’ll be given a personal public service number (BSN), and will need to let the authorities know when you stop living in the country.

MVV for studying in the Netherlands

In addition to a residence permit, some nationalities may require an MVV (provisional residence permit) to enter the Netherlands.

If you will be living with a family member who resides in the Netherlands or are from one of the following countries, you do not need an MVV:

Residence permit for the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, universities apply for your residence permit on your behalf. They will be in contact with you taking into account your nationality, to request the documentation needed for your application.

Application process with MVV

  1. Provide the information needed for an application to your university, along with the application fee of ​​€ 171
  2. Receive a receipt from your application along with an estimate of when you will get a decision
  3. When you have received a decision, make an appointment to collect your MVV from the designated Dutch embassy or consulate
  4. At the appointment, give your biometrics and show your passport (ensure your passport has at least six months left on it)
  5. Travel to the Netherlands with your MVV, which is valid for 90 days
  6. Collect your residence permit (this is usually available within two weeks of a positive decision) from the designated IND desk
  7. Register with the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality you are going to be studying in
  8. Book a TB test if required

Application process without MVV

When applying for a residence permit without the need for an MVV, you will hear from your chosen institution who will apply for a permit on your behalf. When you have received a decision on your permit you can travel to the Netherlands and collect it from the designated IND desk.

You will need to register with the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality you are going to be studying in.

Netherlands student visa requirements

For either an MVV or a residence permit, you may be asked to present the following documents:

  • Legal copies of ID and passports
  • Health insurance if you are working part-time or over 30
  • Proof of language proficiency
  • Educational transcripts
  • Proof of finances to support yourself through study
  • Signed antecedents form
  • Signed tuberculosis declaration (check if you need this here)
  • Proof of sponsorship if you're being sponsored

Netherlands student visa processing time

It can take up to three months to get your MVV and residence permit to study in the Netherlands, however, it's often much quicker than that.

As it can take a few weeks to process your application, it's a good idea to start your application as early as possible. Any delays or missing documents could mean you don't get your visa in time if you leave it until the last minute.

Netherlands student visa work permit

If you work part-time while studying in the Netherlands, you need to make sure your employer has a TWV permit for you. With this you can work up to 16 hours a week or full time during June, July and August.

You can work as self-employed alongside your studies as long as you continue to meet the educational requirements set by your residence permit. You do not need a TWV to work as self-employed, and there are no limits on the amount of hours you can work.

What to do if you are rejected for a Netherlands student visa

If you are denied a student visa for the Netherlands, you will receive an official letter explaining the decision.

You will then have 4 weeks to object to this decision in writing. The letter will explain how you can lodge an objection, and it will include the address you need to send your objection to will also be given in the letter.

If the reason for your rejection is something you can easily remedy yourself, for example, if you forgot to include a required document, you should just submit and new, complete application.

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