Cultural exchange

You wish to come to the Netherlands for a cultural exchange. You need a residence permit in order to live in the Netherlands as a young person taking part in an exchange.

Other conditions apply to persons with the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and their family members.


There are certain conditions that apply to everyone. In addition to these conditions, the following conditions apply for you:

  • You are going to live in the Netherlands for an exchange programme via a recognised exchange organisation.
  • You are 18 years of age or older, but are younger than 31.
  • You did not sign a contract with a host family, Dutch or foreign intermediary agency or exchange organisation under which you are obliged to pay money or a fine if you fail to perform all or parts of the contract.
  • You did not pay a sum of money as deposit to a Dutch or foreign intermediary agency or exchange organisation.
  • You will not be carrying out work for people who are in need of more specialised care. More specialised care means care duties that require specific skills.
  • You have not had a residence permit for exchange purposes in the Netherlands before.
  • You are going to live with the host family. You register with the municipality as living at the address of the host family.
  • Your host family is registered in the Netherlands in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) of the municipality where they live.
  • Your host family is composed of 2 or more persons. These persons have Dutch nationality or a valid residence permit for the Netherlands.
  • You have not worked for the host family in the Netherlands or abroad before.

European Solidarity Corps

Do you want to carry out voluntary work within the context of the European Solidarity Corps? You must have have concluded an agreement with the recognised exchange organisation and the exchange program must have been approved by the Netherlands Youth Institute. The agreement must include the following:

  • A description of the volunteer program.
  • The duration of the voluntary work.
  • The requirements to qualify for the voluntary work and how it is being supervised.
  • Information on the available financial means to pay for your stay in the Netherland and the amount of cash allowance to be received for the duration of your stay.
  • If applicable: information on the training that you will receive in order to help you carry out the voluntary work.

It is also possible to apply for a residence permit for European Solidarity Corps if you already have had another residence permit for exchange in an earlier stage.

Online application

Your exchange organisation can submit this application online. Please use the Business Portal.

Online application


This application costs € 290.

Checklist documents

The exchange organisation has a list of documents that you need.

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.


After the application

Collect your residence permit

​The IND aims to have your residence permit ready within 2 weeks following your arrival in the Netherlands. The IND will send your exchange organisation a letter to inform you when you can collect the residence permit. For this, you have to make an appointment online at the IND desk stated in the letter. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to visit an IND desk at short notice. Therefore, please schedule an appointment in time.

Check to see if the information on the residence permit is correct while you are still at the IND desk. If something is incorrect, inform the IND staff member at once. 

Registration with the municipality

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you must register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP)  in the municipality you are going to live.

To register with the municipality you need a legalised and translated  birth certificate. Take this therefore with you when you travel to the Netherlands.

Please contact your municipality in advance to check which (legalised and translated) documents/ certificates you need to take with you.

TB test

You have indicated your intent to undergo a tuberculosis test (TB test) when you applied. You have to make an appointment for this with the Area Health Authority (GGD). You do this within 3 months after having received your residence permit. Please take the 'TB test referral form' with you to the appointment.

In some cases you are exempt from taking a TB test.

Take out health insurance

Anyone living in the Netherlands must take out health insurance. You do this within 4 months following your arrival in the Netherlands.

Validity residence permit

The residence permit for a cultural exchange is valid for 1 year.

The residence permit for European Solidarity Corps is valid for the duration of the voluntary work, with a maximum of 1 year.

Right to work

The back of your residence permit shows if you are allowed to work. With the residence permit for a cultural exchange, you are only allowed to do voluntary work. The exchange programme must state that you are allowed to do voluntary work. Your residence permit states 'TWV niet vereist voor specifieke arbeid, andere arbeid niet toegestaan'.

Legal obligations

There are a number of legal obligations that apply to you, your host family and your exchange organisation.

The IND monitors your compliance with these legal obligations. Failure to meet these legal obligations may have consequences.

Further applications (extend or change) / return visa

Replacement of residence permit

Is your residence permit damaged, lost or stolen? In that case, have the residence permit replaced.

Extend residence permit

You cannot extend your residence permit for a cultural exchange.

Change residence permit

Has something changed in your situation that influences your residence permit? Please report this immediately to the IND. It may mean that, due to the changes in your situation, the residence permit has to be changed.

Return visa

If you are awaiting a procedure, you do not have a valid residence document at present and you wish to travel outside the Netherlands, you may need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands. This could be the case if your current residence permit is no longer valid or your current residence permit will expire during your stay outside of the Netherlands. To apply for a return visa you must meet certain conditions. ​

Provisional residence permit (mvv)

​The provisional residence permit (mvv) is a visa you need if you wish to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days. For more information, check Regular provisional residence permit (mvv).

Dutch representation

​This is the Dutch embassy or consulate.

formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.


​A TWV is a work permit. The employer applies for a TWV with UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). UWV examines among other things if there is no employee with the Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss nationality that is qualified for the job.