Thinking of studying in the Netherlands?

Thinking of studying in the Netherlands?

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De Vreede Advocaten is a young and dynamic law firm specialised in immigration and international employment law for both businesses and individuals.

Dutch universities and colleges are more than happy to welcome foreign students. It’s relatively easy for EU-nationals to study, do an internship and work in the Netherlands. However, non-EU nationals need a residence permit to study in the Netherlands.

What are the conditions for a residence permit for study?

As a non-EU student, you must first be accepted onto a full-time accredited day programme by a university or college that is included in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors. Only a recognised educational institution can submit the application for a residence permit for study.

Furthermore, you must have sufficient income; equal to the amount that Dutch students receive on the basis of the Student Finance Act. The monthly amount is 870,46 euros for university and higher professional education. This amount may for instance come from a scholarship or from savings.

Another person abroad or in the Netherlands can also pay for your education and stay. You or your financer must have the financial amount available for at least the first year.

Finally, you must show progress in your studies and obtain at least half of the required credits for each academic year to keep your residence permit.

Working during your study

On the basis of a student permit, you are allowed to stay and study in the Netherlands. On the same permit, you are also allowed to work on a self-employed basis as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the resident permit for study.

To work in employment, however, you need a work permit. This can be easily obtained by the employer, because for this permit the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will not check whether there are any job seekers in the Netherlands or Europe who have priority.

With this work permit, you can work in the Netherlands for up to 10 hours a week or carry out full-time seasonal work in the months of June, July and August.

Doing an internship in the Netherlands

You may choose to do an internship as part of your study in the Netherlands. You and your employer must sign an internship agreement; no separate work permit is required. However, a non-EU student at a university outside of the Netherlands who comes to the Netherlands to do an internship as part of his / her studies abroad needs a work permit.

To obtain a work permit for a maximum period of one year, the trainee must (i) be a student at a foreign educational institution, (ii) the internship must be necessary to complete the study and (iii) the student must meet the aforementioned income requirement.

Bringing a partner

You are allowed to bring your partner to the Netherlands during the study if the financial requirements are met. You must have a monthly income of at least 1.704,24 euros (gross) or sufficient savings in the bank for a period of at least one year. Your partner may stay but is not allowed to work in employment in the Netherlands.

Staying after graduation

A study permit is valid for the duration of your education and an additional three months to find a job in the Netherlands. It is possible to extend this period by 12 months on the basis of an “orientation year for highly educated persons” (also called “search year”).

You can apply for a search year permit to find a job or start a business in the Netherlands during the three years after completing a study (bachelor or (post-) master), PhD or scientific research in the Netherlands.

It is also possible to apply for a search year permit up to three years after pursuing a master’s or PhD degree at an international educational institution abroad in the top 200 of the general ranking list. The foreign student must adequately master the English language.

During the search year period, you are free to work in the Netherlands. Any accompanying partner is also allowed to work in the Netherlands.

After a search year

The search year permit is valid for one year and cannot be renewed. However, there are options to extend your stay in the Netherlands.

A new search year permit may be obtained if you complete a new degree, doctoral programme or scientific research study after the first search year permit was issued. As soon as the former student finds a job during the search year, the employer (a recognised sponsor) can apply for a highly skilled migrant permit.

For employers, it is attractive to hire highly educated persons after a search year (or without a search year permit within three years after graduating or when working as a scientific researcher), as the monthly salary criterion of 2.314 euros (gross) is much lower than that for other highly skilled migrants.

Do you want to stay in the Netherlands after your study, change your purpose of stay or bring your partner? De Vreede Advocaten can advise you on your options or assist you with the application.

Ester de Vreede


Ester de Vreede

Ester combines an extensive knowledge of employment law and immigration law, which proves to be an asset and of specific interest for highly skilled expats and companies that employ them....

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anatglass 08:52 | 12 June 2018

Hi, We are a family of expats (with 3 children studing in the international school), my old son have one more year to finish high school. We want him to go the university at the Netherlands (since this is our home now). The problem is that we are not from the EU or EEA, so the fees is very high for us. My husband work here and we pay all the taxes by the Dutch low, so we are not really in the category of international student..... Is there any way to reduce the cost or pay like the EU or EEA ? Can you offer me to whom should I take to? Are you my address? Regards, Anat Glass