How to get a student visa in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a destination that grows in popularity among international students. With several reputable universities providing a world-class education, the Netherlands also has a relatively clear and simple student visa process. Once you get your letter of acceptation from a Dutch university, this is the next step. 

And as it is the case in most EU countries, the Netherlands have a student visa process that takes into account your country of origin. Carry on reading to learn how to get a student visa in the Netherlands: process, requirements, cost, processing time and more. 

Read also our guide on how to apply to universities in Holland.

Study visa process in the Netherlands

Non-EU and non-EEA international students go different steps from EU/EEA ones to get their study visa to Holland. A particularity of the student visa in the Netherlands is that it’s the university who has accepted you who takes care of the visa application for you. And the process starts once you confirm your admission at the Holland International Study Centre

They then will let you know the documents you need to gather and send to your university as part of your visa application. When the university receives all the necessary documents and processed your application, they will send your application to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). 

Once your university’s request is approved, the next step is to apply for an entry permit at a Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country. This visa, officially known as MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf), allows you to enter the Netherlands for a period of six months. You, then, need to apply for a residence permit or VVR at your arrival in the country. 

Student visa vs Residence permit in the Netherlands 

Like for the MVV, it’s also your university that initiates the VVR application. It’s only logical, since it’s your permit to stay in the Netherlands for study purposes. In this case, the VVR remains valid for the duration of the study program you enrolled in. The other condition is for the student to score 50% of credit throughout the duration of the program.

In case you decide to change your major during your studies, the validity period of your VVR will be reduced of the time you’ve already spent in the previous program. However, you can apply for an extension of your stay duration for the rest of your new course’s duration. 

If you discontinue your studies, your host university must inform the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). It’s also the case if you stop your registration as a student or have no longer sufficient funds to cover your costs of subsistence. The IND might then cancel your visa/residence permit. 

Lastly, non-EU and non-EEA students need to go through this process of MVV followed by a VVR application. There is however an exception for students from Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, Vatican City State and USA, who only need a VVR. 

Student visa requirements in the Netherlands

Here are the main requirements to comply with to get a study visa in Holland: 

Netherlands student visa document checklist 

To obtain a student visa in the Netherlands, you must submit the following documents: 

  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport
  • 2 photographs
  • Birth certificate
  • Academic transcripts
  • Official letter from the university stating that you confirm your admission 
  • Proof of payment of the student visa application fee
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of financial means for the entire period of study

IELTS requirements for the Netherlands student visa 

To be able to study in the Netherlands, you need to have a minimum level of proficiency in the English language. And this is a requirement not only for programs which language of instruction is English, but for some programs in Dutch also. 

If your native language is not English and you have never studied at a university in an English-majority country, you’ll need to provide a proof of language proficiency. For that, you need to provide your score at tests such as: 

  • IELTS Academic
  • PTE Academic

The minimum IELTS band requirement to study in the Netherlands is 6. However, some institutions might accept lower scores. Make sure to check your university’s website to find out. 

To help you out, check here our list of the 10 best universities in the Netherlands with their official websites.

How much money is required for a student visa in the Netherlands? 

The Dutch government has set the minimum financial means to support yourself during your studies to at least €850 per month. In order to prove you have the necessary fund, you need to provide either a bank statement or a scholarship offer. 

The bank statement must be less than 3 months old and certified by the bank. Moreover, if you are unable to provide a bank statement, you can opt for depositing funds with your university. They then will keep your money until your arrival in the Netherlands to set up a Dutch bank account. 

Learn here about the best scholarships in the Netherlands and how to apply and get one.

Application fee 

International students who apply for a visa in Netherlands will have to pay a fee of around €171. There might be however some slightly changes from a university to another, since they are the ones who handle the application. The difference in the costs might be service fees, handling charges, etc. Again, make sure to check with your university to find out. 

Netherlands student visa processing time

Once you’ve secured your enrollment in a Dutch university at Holland International Study Centre, it will take about 4 to 6 weeks to get your MVV (entry visa). It’s then advised to start the application process as soon as possible. This also depends on the student’s nationality. But to avoid any delay, start the procedure up to 3 months before the beginning of your program. 

Can I work in the Netherlands with a student visa? 

Non-EU and non-EEA international students need to apply for a permit to be able to work in the Netherlands. The legal limit is 16 hours a week during study periods and full-time during vacation months. Moreover, it’s the prospective employer who applies for a work permit on your behalf. 

Furthermore, in order to be paid, you must have a Burger Service Number or a citizen service number. You’ll receive this number once you register with your local municipality in Holland. 

Lastly, students who work and study at the same time in the Netherlands must file and pay income tax. Even those who have a scholarship need to do so in some cases, since scholarships can be counted as an income, therefore taxable. 

Read also our overview of the study and living cost in the Netherlands.

Student visa acceptance rate in Netherlands

As long as you meet all the requirements, have all your documents in order, the Dutch immigration department won’t deny you a visa. The other main condition is also for the student to provide only correct information, as a proof of their good faith. That’s why the acceptance rate for student visas in the Netherlands is nearly 99%. 

The major reasons for visa rejection in the Netherlands would be the usual insufficient financial means, inappropriate or missing documents, poor education performance, or any wrong information.

Lastly, once you get your residence permit in Netherlands, it will be valid for the duration of your course to a maximum of 5 years. To this period, you get an additional 3 months and a preparatory year before the beginning of your courses.

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