Start of the academic year: again more applications for residence permits by international students

Last update: 24 August 2023

This year the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) also sees a rise in the number of international students who come to the Netherlands. This year (up to and including July) the IND received a total of 17,870 applications for a residence permit for the purpose of study. That is about 1,200 more than in the same period in 2022 (16,630). In order to give the students a good start, the IND is processing these applications before the start of the new academic year. Approximately 14,000 students can collect their residence documents on Saturday 2 September or Saturday 7 October in the Royal Dutch Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. 

The IND has already seen the same pattern for years in applications by students for a residence permit. Almost all applications are submitted in the months April to August inclusive. The start of the academic year (September) is a logical explanation of this. In its procedure the IND takes account of this annual peak. By deploying extra capacity the IND can decide on the large number of applications in a short time. This enables each student from outside the EU to have certainty about their residence in the Netherlands before the start of the new academic year. 

Trend in the increase in applications for study purposes

The peak months in 2023 show that the rise in the number of applications for the purpose of study is continuing further. Rhodia Maas, DG IND: “We know when the peak in applications for study purposes takes place, so we can organise our work in accordance with it. In spite of this, it remains quite a job to process all applications in such a short period, certainly with the increasing number of students. In the past two years we saw the number of applications increase by more than 1,000 each year.” Up to and including July the IND received about 1,200 more applications than in the year before (rise from 16,630 to 17,870). Throughout 2022 the IND received 1,660 more applications than in 2021. Of all students who choose the Netherlands, most of them come from China, India, the United States, Turkey and Indonesia. 

Cooperation IND and educational institutions 

On average 98% of the students for whom an application is submitted receive a residence permit for the purpose of study. This high percentage of granting application is due to the procedure that the IND and educational institutions use. An application for a residence permit for the purpose of study can only be submitted by a recognised sponsor, in this case the educational institution that has already partially assessed whether the student meets the conditions for a right of residence. The IND checks and decides afterwards within two weeks if someone can also actually come to the Netherlands.

Besides the peak from April to August, the IND also has a small peak at the end of the year. This has to do with students who enter a study programme at the beginning of the new calendar year. Last year the IND took 22 thousand decisions on applications by students for residence permits. This is about 21% of all regular decisions (Knowledge & Talent, Labour Migrants, Family & Relatives).

Central issue times

This year, for the second time, the IND is organising central issue times to ensure that students possess their residents documents in time. This is required to start their studies, but, for example also to apply for a health insurance card or to arrange bank matters. On Saturdays 2 September and 7 October there will be two central issue times in de Jaarbeurs in Utrecht for 14,000 students in total. This will prevents very busy periods at IND desks and will assure the students that they will have the required documents in time. Students from various educational institutions in the regions Groningen and Maastricht do not have to go to Utrecht, because their residence documents will be issued in the region.