Visa & work permit

Depending on your purpose and period of stay, you’ll need a short term or long term visa, a residence permit and/or a work permit. Below we explain the difference and in general the procedure.

Visa less than three months

If you want to stay in the Netherlands for a period less than 3 months (90 days) you probably need a short stay visa, depending on your nationality.

This visa is valid for the Schengen area (or a limited number of these countries.), 26 countries with no border controls between them, so you can travel freely between them. The Schengen area comprises 22 countries from the European Union plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

In case you have multiple entries in the Schengen area, you can calculate the time you can stay in this area and have to be abroad, using this visa calculator.

Where can I apply for a short stay visa?

You can apply for a short stay visa at a Dutch embassy or consulate in the country where you reside or are entitled to reside. For more information about visa and specific requirements, please check the website of the Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND).

Visa longer than three months

The nationals of all countries except the EU member states and a few other countries who want to visit/stay in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period longer than 3 months need to apply for a residence permit. The kind of residence permit you will need depends on your purpose of stay; for each purpose different conditions can apply (related to work, family reunion, study, etc.).


An MVV is a provisional visa (Machtiging Voorlopig Verblijf)  on which you can travel to the Netherlands. You either obtain the MVV yourself and apply for the residence permit in the Netherlands, or your employer / educational institution will do this on your behalf (see below) as part of the application procedure for a work or study permit.

If your nationality requires an MVV, it is impossible to apply for a residence permit without it! An MVV can only be applied for from your country of origin or the country where you legally reside at that moment.

If you do not need an MVV and wish to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months, and you are not an EU citizen, you must still apply for a residence permit. For more detailed information about the MVV procedure check the website of the Immigration Service (IND).

Work Permit

You may need a work permit for working in the Netherlands depending on your current residence permit or your nationality.

People from another EU country or from the European Economic Area do not need a work permit to be able to work in the Netherlands.

In general, all non-EU citizens will be required to have a work permit if they want to work in the Netherlands. Work permits in the Netherlands are employer and job-specific. Only the employer can apply for it through the UWV or through the Immigration Service (IND) using the accelerated procedure and, if required, apply for the MVV as well.

The Netherlands have a few residence statuses that allow people to enter, reside, and work without the requirement of a separate work permit. These statuses, like “highly skilled migrant” or “scientific researcher” require specific conditions. In these cases one applies for the work permit in combination with a residence permit and a MVV if needed (see above).
The residence permit can be collected at our Welcome Center in the stadskantoor of Enschede, if you enter this on the application form.

Students & work

Students from outside the EEA will also need a work permit if they want to work beside their studies. Such a work permit is generally not difficult to obtain (via the UWV) for an employer if the student meets the following conditions:

  • The student has a valid residence permit for the purpose of studying in the Netherlands;
  • The work is restricted to (full-time) seasonal work in the months of June, July and August or (you cannot do both);
  • Part-time work throughout the year, but no more than 16 hours a week.

When you’ve graduated and have at least a bachelor or master diploma, you might be eligible for the Orientation Year permit (Zoekjaar visum in Dutch). Find out more here, on our website or at the IND.

All the information about visa and permits can be found on the website of the Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND).

Legal assistance

Should you need legal assistance when an application has been denied by the Immigration Service, you get divorced while you are in the Netherlands on a dependent permit or need to start a legal procedure, you can contact our service partner AHL Advocaten.