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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.

Conditions

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 Voluntary Service (EVS)

You can also take part in an exchange under European Voluntary Service. In that case, the exchange programme must have been approved by the Netherlands Youth Institute. You are not obliged to stay with a host family.

Other conditions may apply for Turkish nationals and their family members.

Costs

This application costs € 633.

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.

 

Steps in the application procedure

1. Submit application and payment

To travel to the Netherlands, you need a provisional residence permit (mvv). The mvv is a sticker that the Dutch representation places in the passport. In some cases, you do not need an mvv.

Only a recognised exchange organisation may submit the application for a residence permit for a cultural exchange. A recognised exchange organisation has made an agreement with the IND and is listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors.

The exchange organisation applies for the mvv and the residence permit at the same time. For this, it uses the application form. Your exchange organisation can find the form at the bottom of this page. Your exchange organisation sends the application form together with the required documents to the IND.

The IND collects the fees from your exchange organisation.

2. Receipt and check application

​Your exchange organisation will get a confirmation letter once the IND has received the application. The confirmation letter states the date the IND has received your application. It also states the period within which the IND makes a decision. The IND will then check to see if the application is complete.

3. Decision

The IND checks if you and the exchange organisation meet all the conditions. The IND has to make a decision within a period of 90 days.

  • Negative decision
    If you or the exchange organisation do not meet the conditions, you will not get an mvv nor a residence permit. This decision is given in the formal decision. You can apply for a review of this decision.
  • Positive decision
    If you and the exchange organisation meet all the conditions, you will get an mvv and a residence permit. The IND will inform your exchange organisation about this decision. The IND also informs the Dutch representation.

4. Collect mvv

​You collect the mvv from the Dutch representation that your exchange organisation filled in on the application form.

You have 3 months to collect the mvv. Please make an appointment for this with the representation. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months on the day you get the mvv.

You have to give your biometric information upon collecting the mvv.

5. Travel to the Netherlands

​Once you have collected your mvv, you can travel to the Netherlands. The mvv is valid for 90 days. The validity is shown on the mvv sticker. The mvv sticker shows 2 dates:

  • Effective date: as of this date the mvv is valid.
  • End date: as of this date the mvv is no longer valid.
The mvv allows you to travel within the Schengen Area.

Steps in the application procedure

1. Submit application and payment

You do not need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. You can apply for the residence permit directly.

Only a recognised exchange organisation may submit the application for a residence permit. A recognised exchange organisation has made an agreement with the IND and is listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors.

The exchange organisation applies for the residence permit for you. For this, it uses the application form. Your exchange organisation can find the form at the bottom of this page. Your exchange organisation will send the application form together with the required documents to the IND by post.

The IND will collect the fees from your exchange organisation.​

2. Receipt and check application

​Your exchange organisation will get a confirmation letter once the IND has received the application. The confirmation letter states the date the IND has received your application. It also states the period within which the IND makes a decision. The IND will then check to see if the application is complete.

3. Decision

The IND checks if you and the exchange organisation meet all the conditions. The IND has to make a decision within a period of 90 days.

  • Negative decision
    If you or the au pair agency do not meet the conditions, you will not get a residence permit. This decision is given in the formal decision. The IND sends the decision by post. You can apply for a review of this decision.
  • Positive decision
    If you and the au pair agency meet all the conditions, you will get a residence permit.

Are you still abroad? Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you have to go to an IND desk to give the biometric information.

Application forms and costs

Application for the purpose of residence of Exchange - Private exchange, WHS/WHP, EVS7503

The exchange organisation uses this form to start your application. Your exchange organisation can also start your application online.

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.

Costs application

This application costs € 633.

  • Are you from San Marino or Israel? Based on the Benelux Treaty you do not pay for the application.

Apply online  Download  

Application forms and costs

Application for the purpose of residence of Exchange - Private exchange, WHS/WHP, EVS7503

The exchange organisation uses this form to start your application. Your exchange organisation can also start your application online.

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.

Costs application

This application costs € 633.

Apply online  Download  

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. The letter states to which IND desk you have to go to collect the residence permit and what documents you need to bring with you. You do not have to make an appointment to collect your residence permit. 

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 (BPR)  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.

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.

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.

Dutch representation

​This is the Dutch embassy or consulate.

Formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.

TWV

​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. For more information about the TWV, check the website of UWV (only in Dutch).