When is a visa required?

Whether you need a visa and work permit or not, depends on:

  • your nationality – as stated on your passport;
  • the duration of your stay: shorter or longer than 90 days;
  • your purpose of stay.

EU nationals do not need a visa to stay in the Netherlands or a work permit to work in the Netherlands. Other nationals might need a visa and work permit to enter the Netherlands for study or research purposes.

Find out what the requirements for a student residence permit are.

Please note: if you are NOT coming to study or to do a preparatory year or exchange programme, you need to check the website of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for the requirements.

Your institution needs to apply

When you enrol in a study programme, your host institution will contact you to start up the application procedure. If not, ask for help by contacting the international office (or if you are a researcher, the HR department) of your host institution.

Start preparations early

Although the IND will generally process the application quite fast, we recommend that you start the process early. It may take some time for you to collect all the relevant documents for your institution.


If you are staying fewer than 90 days, you might need a ‘short stay visa’ or ‘Schengen visa’. For stays longer than 90 days, you might need an entry visa (MVV, depending on your nationality) and a residence permit (VVR).

As soon as your host institution receives an 'inwilliging' (a letter of approval from the immigration service), they will let you know. You can then apply for the MVV at the embassy or consulate in your home country.


The visa will usually allow you to travel throughout all countries in the Schengen area. Sometimes the visa is limited to a single country (for example the Netherlands only) or a few countries (for example the Netherlands, Belgium and France). In that case, the visa will only allow you to travel to and through that particular country or these particular countries.

With a short stay visa your stay in the Schengen area is limited to a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. This means that once you have been in the Schengen area for 90 days you may not return until another 90 days have passed. You can calculate your legal short stay with the Schengen Visa Calculator.

An entry visa is also valid for only 90 days and is meant to be followed by a residence permit for a longer period of time.

Multiple entry and single entry

With a ‘multiple entry’ visa you are allowed to travel in and out of the Schengen area during the validity of your visa.

With a ‘single entry’ visa you are allowed to travel within the Schengen area, but once you have left the Schengen area you cannot return without either a new Schengen visa for short stay, or a return visa for long stay.