Almost 17 million people are lucky enough to call the Netherlands home, and being commonly known as one of the most welcoming nations in the world, it would make sense for you to consider studying abroad in this remarkable region. But before you start, just know that studying in the Netherlands doesn’t mean you have to don a pair of the finest wooden clogs; in fact, the Netherlands is so much more than the often-depicted windmill-dotted countrysides, quaint canal filled cities, and the infamous smoke trails. Especially for students!
The Netherlands, or Holland, is home to 8 universities that rank in the world’s top 100 (2015-16 data). Further, Dutch universities are increasingly popular with international students: 1,500+ courses are taught in English, the people are incredibly friendly, and the cost of living is surprisingly affordable!
Read on to learn more about applying for your student visa in the Netherlands...
— Hotcourses Singapore (@HotcoursesSG) February 20, 2016
Do I need a student visa in the Netherlands?
The official website for studying in the Netherlands shares this information for determining your eligibility for a student visa:
Whether you need a visa or not, depends on:
- Your nationality – as stated on your passport.
- The duration of your stay: shorter or longer than three months.
- Your purpose of stay: we assume that you will come to Holland to study or to do a preparatory year. For any other purpose of stay, please check the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for the requirements.
The Dutch government makes it easy on foreigners by only distinguishing between short term and long term visitors. To that end, if you are studying in the Netherlands for a period shorter than 90 days or 3 months, you will likely be encouraged to apply for a “Schengen,” or “short-term” visa. For students in the Netherlands on a semester or year long study abroad program, you will have to apply for a visa as outlined below.
— Naij.com (@naijcom) February 24, 2016
MVV Provisional Residence Permit vs. VVR Residence Permit
An entry visa (MVV in Dutch) is a passport sticker issued by the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your home country (or the home of your legal residence), and a residence permit (VVR in Dutch) is an I.D. card that allows you to legally reside in the Netherlands.
You will need both the MVV and the VVR as an international student in the Netherlands, provided your study abroad program is longer than 90 days in length. It is recommended that students apply for the MVV as early as possible, at least two months in advance.
You will enter the Netherlands on your MVV and then will need to coordinate with your host institution the transition to the VVR. The university will normally apply for the VVR on your behalf, and will provide support for this changeover after your arrival. It normally takes two weeks to process the second half of your visa, and students can pick up their newly minted passports from the local IND near their Dutch study abroad city.
It's worth noting that universities will charge for the service they provide when applying for your VRR, but the actual cost varies from institution to institution. Check in with your Dutch academic advisor to ensure you are on the right track and have the necessary funds to cover costs.
Spotted! Study abroad students at Carnival in the Netherlands. Study abroad applications due February 15! pic.twitter.com/QeucmNGHEm
— ClarkU LEEP Center (@LEEPCenter) February 10, 2016
What are the application requirements?
Many universities will take care of your student visa and residence permit application on your behalf - be sure to check in with your host institution to clarify procedures. This logistical help might be an added service, or lumped into your overall program costs.
All visa applications will require the following:
- Admittance into a full-time university program
- Demonstration of sufficient funds to cover your living expenses
- A valid passport
— Uniplaces (@Uniplaces) February 2, 2016
The Application Procedure
Once you submit your visa and/or residence permit application to the Dutch Immigration Department (IND), you'll need to wait four to six weeks in order for it to be processed. Following this, you'll need to collect your official visa from a Dutch embassy or consulate. Student residency permits are granted for three months beyond the duration of your study program. Did anybody say, time for a holiday!?
Can I leave the Netherlands on my student visa?
Yup! You can visit any other countries under the “Schengen visa” for less than 90 days while on your Netherlands residence permit. We suggest saving your three month holiday til AFTER finals!
— QS Course Finder (@QSCourses) December 21, 2015
An additional step to ensure you're legally residing in the Netherlands as a student is to register in the national database. Registering allows you to open a local bank account, or eventually apply for a work permit (you go-getter, you!). If you are a student intending to stay in the Netherlands for longer than four months, you are required by law to register.
So there you have it. Student visa in tow, you can now officially join the 80,000-strong community of international students in Holland!
Image via Flickr.