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Attend secondary or vocational education

You wish to attend secondary or vocational education in the Netherlands. You need a residence permit to study in the Netherlands. What are the conditions for this residence permit? And how does the application procedure work?

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

These procedure and conditions also apply to exchange students.


There are certain conditions that apply to everyone. In addition, you and your educational institution have to meet the following conditions:
  • The Netherlands is the most appropriate country for your education. You will not get a residence permit if the education or a similar education is also available in your country of origin or your country of continuous residence. In addition, you have to at least meet 2 of the following conditions:
    • You are from and have the nationality of Suriname, Indonesia or South Africa.
    • You have family ties with persons living in the Netherlands who have a residence permit or who have Dutch nationality.
    • You can read, speak, write and understand Dutch.
  • Your education can make a positive contribution to the development of your country. This depends, among other things, on:
    • The development stage your country is in. Are you from a highly industrialised country? Than the study will usually not meet this requirement.
    • The kind of study. The study must have essential meaning for the labour market in your country.
  • You must have a (provisional) proof of registration at an educational institution for secondary or vocational education for a full-time course (not a correspondence course). This educational institution is a recognised sponsor with the IND. Recognised educational institutions are listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors.

  • You have an independent sufficient and sustainable income.

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


This application costs € 174. 

Checklist documents

The educational institution 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 the residence permit ready within 2 weeks after the positive decision. The IND will send your educational institution a letter indicating 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

​If you are younger than 30 and live in the Netherlands for study purposes only, you cannot enroll with a Dutch health insurer for a basic health insurance. You can remain insured with the health insurer in your home country.

If you have a (volunteer) part-time job next to your study, you are required to have a basic health insurance with a Dutch health insurer. This is not the case for an internship during your study.  

You can also read the information on the website Zorgverzekeringslijn.

Validity residence permit

​The residence permit for study is valid for the duration of your education plus 3 months. You can get 1 extra year for a preparatory education or a transition year, for example to learn Dutch. The residence permit is issued for a maximum period of 5 years.

Work and internship

On the back of your residence permit it says 'Tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) vereist voor arbeid van bijkomende aard, andere arbeid in loondienst niet toegestaan'.

This means the following:

Work in paid employment

You may only work in paid employment if your employer has a TWV for you. You are then allowed to work:

  • for a maximum of 16 hours a week; or
  • full-time during the summer months June, July and August.

If you work for more hours than allowed or if your employer was not issued a TWV for you, then you are (unintentionally) working illegally. This is being monitored by the SZW Inspectorate. In case of an infringement, the IND will contact the educational institute where you are studying. The Inspectorate will then fine the employer for illegal employment.

Work on a self-employed basis

In addition to your studies, you are allowed to work in the Netherlands as a self employed individual, as long as you continue to meet the requirements for your residence permit for study. There is no limit to the amount of hours that you are allowed to work as a self employed individual. Also, you do not need a working permit (TWV).

You need to register your company in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). You need to pay taxes yourself. You might be obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance (basisverzekering).


If you are going to do an internship in the Netherlands you do not need a TWV if the internship is relevant to your study. You and your educational institution must have signed an internship agreement with the company where you will do your internship. You can find more information on doing an internship in the Netherlands at Nuffic.

Legal obligations / a stay abroad for study purposes

There are a number of legal obligations that apply to you and your educational institution.

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

Are you temporarily going abroad for your studies?
You cannot be abroad for more than 12 months in a row. If you stay abroad for more than 12 months, the IND can revoke your residence permit. Even when you are studying abroad or are doing an internship, the study progress monitoring continues to apply.

Further applications (extend or change)

Replace residence permit

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

Extend residence permit

Is your residence permit due to expire soon? Apply for an extension.

Change residence permit

Has something changed in your situation that influences your residence permit? Are you quitting your studies for example? Or, is the student's progress insufficient?  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.

Have you finished your education? You can change your residence permit, for example to a residence permit to:

Are you directly changing your residence permit within 3 years to a residence permit to work as a highly skilled migrant? A lower income requirement applies.  

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. ​

Country of continuous residence

​A country of continuous residence is a country (other than the country of origin) where you may lawfully live for more than 3 months. This means you have a valid residence permit for that country. Or that you are waiting for your application for a residence permit to be approved.

Are you in a country in your free term? Or with a visa for short stay (maximum of 3 months)? This is not continuous residence.

Recognised sponsor

A sponsor is a person, employer or organisation that has an interest in the arrival of the foreign national in the Netherlands. An organisation is obliged to get recognition as a sponsor if they wish to apply for a residence permit for au pair, exchange, study, highly skilled migrant and scientific researcher (Directive 2005/71/EG).

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.