Looking for a job after study, promotion or research

You have graduated or obtained a PhD or performed scientific research and wish to find a job or start your own company . You live abroad or are still in the Netherlands. You need a residence permit 'orientation year highly educated persons'. What are the conditions and how do you apply?

Do you wish to work as a start-up entrepreneur after your studies? Then you may also be eligible for a residence permit as 'start-up'.

​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, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You have not previously had a residence permit to look for work after study, doctoral programme or scientific research on the basis of completing the same study or doctoral programme or performing the same scientific research. Have you completed various study programmes or doctoral programmes, or have you performed various scientific researches? The orientation year can be granted after each completed study programme or doctoral programme or after each performed scientific research. However, this study programme, doctoral programme or scientific research must have been completed or performed after your previous orientation year.
  • In the past 3 years you have:
    • completed an accredited bachelor's or master's programme in the Netherlands; or
    • completed a post-master's programme of at least an academic year (a minimum of 10 months) in the Netherlands; or
    • completed a study in the Netherlands in the context of the Cultural Policy Act; or
    • completed a study in the Netherlands that is provided in relation to the development cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; or
    • obtained a master's degree in the context of an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course; or

    • completed a higher education programme designated by Ministerial Decree (currently - August 2019 - there are no higher education programmes designated by Ministerial Decree); or
    • done scientific research at any time. For this, you have had a residence permit in the Netherlands for the purpose of scientific research within the meaning of EU Directive 2005/71/EC, research within the meaning of Directive (EU) 2016/801, or as a highly skilled migrant to undertake scientific research; or
    • completed a master's or post-master's programme or obtained a PhD at a designated international educational institution* abroad and you:
      • have achieved a minimum score of 6.0 for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There are two versions of the IELTS: Academic and General Training. Both of these qualify to meet this requirement; or
      • have achieved a comparable minimum score in another accepted English language test (TOEFL, TOEIC en Cambridge English grades & scale) set out in the Code of  Conduct for international students in Dutch higher education; or
      • posses a diploma, certificate or document as meant in Article 2.3, first paragraph of the Civic Integration Decree (only in Dutch); or
      • have completed a master's, post-master's or doctoral programme in the English or Dutch language.

*A designated international educational institutions is, at the moment of your graduation or PhD, listed in the top 200 of one of the general ranking lists or in the top 200 of one of the available ranking lists by subject - that correspond with your field of study or research field- of the:

All foreign diplomas have to be evaluated by Nuffic before they can be accepted, except for diplomas from accredited higher education programmes in Flanders, Belgium. Check out the ‘FAQ Orientation year’  for more information.

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


This application costs € 174. 

Apply online

You can submit this application online when you live in the Netherlands and currently have a valid residence permit. You have recently graduated, completed a PhD or carried out scientific research in the Netherlands. You also have to be registered in the BRP and have a BSN.
Are you abroad and do you need to apply for a provisional residence permit (mvv)? Please submit the application in writing. You can get an application form from the Dutch embassy or consulate.

For the online application you need:

Do you not have DigiD yet? Apply for DigiD on www.digid.nl/en/. Do have DigiD, but not have identity check with sms yet? Activate this through MijnDigiD.

Help with logging in with DigiD + sms and DigiD app

  • Information on DigiD + sms: go to explanation on DigiD for more information in different language (Dutch, English, French and Arabic).
  • Information on DigiD app: go to explanation DigiD app for more information (Dutch and English).

You can start the online application by clicking the button Apply online.  

Apply online

Checklist documents

The application form lists the documents you need for your application if you submit your application for a residence permit in the Netherlands.

The information sheet lists the documents you need for your application and indicates how you can pay the costs if you apply for a provisional residence permit (mvv) at the Dutch representation  abroad.     

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German. Your diploma does not have to be legalised.

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 you a letter indicating when you can collect your 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 your residence permit is correct while you are still at the IND desk. If something is incorrect, please 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.

You are not obliged to take out Dutch public health care insurance if you have not found a job yet, or your internship allowance is less than the Dutch minimum wage. Your foreign health care insurance will be sufficient in those cases.

You can find more information on the website of the Zorgverzekeringslijn.

Validity residence permit

The residence permit for the orientation year for highly educated persons is valid for a maximum of 1 year. ​

To students completing several programmes of study, the orientation year can be granted after each programme of study or scientific research. You can therefore apply for another orientation year at a later date if this is done on the basis of another completed programme of study or scientific research. This programme of study or scientific research must have been completed after your previous orientation year.

Right to work

​The back of your residence permit shows if you are allowed to work. You are free to work (incl. work on a self-employed basis, with or without personnel). Your residence permit states 'arbeid vrij toegestaan, TWV niet vereist' (work freely permitted, no work permit required).

Have you enclosed a certified copy of a (foreign) diploma or the ‘Statement on completion of study’ with your application for a residence permit 'orientation year highly educated persons'? Then, you are free to work in the Netherlands while awaiting the decision on your application. You can collect a residence endorsement sticker at an IND desk. This sticker states 'arbeid vrij toegestaan, tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) niet vereist' (work freely permitted, no work permit required). To collect the sticker, you have to make an appointment online.

Further applications/ return visa

Replace residence permit

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

Extend residence permit

You cannot extend the residence permit 'orientation year for highly educated persons'. 

Change residence permit

Have you found work? You can change your residence permit to a residence permit to work. You can, for example, apply for a residence permit as highly skilled migrant, start-up or work on a self-employed basis.

Changing to a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant means a lower income requirement applies to you. This lower amount also applies if you switch to highly skilled migrant directly within 3 years after having graduated in the Netherlands.

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).

DigiD with SMS code

Nowadays you can arrange many things yourself on government websites. With DigiD you log in to your personal account on government websites. Your DigiD consists of a username and password that you both choose yourself. Don't have a DigiD yet? Request this on www.digid.nl.

​To apply for a residence permit online you need to have a DigiD with SMS code. After logging in with your DigiD you will receive an SMS with a code. You will have to fill out this code as well to get access to the online application forms.

Do you have a DigiD but no SMS code verification? Please go to Mijn DigiD and log in. Choose 'Extra sms-controle aanvragen' and enter your mobile phone number. Within 5 days you receive a letter with an activation code. Activate the sms control functionality on the website of DigiD with this activation code.

Dutch representation

​This is the Dutch embassy or consulate.

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.

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.