Congratulations, you enrolled in a university in The Netherlands

What to arrange when studying in The Netherlands?

If you are a European citizen, you do not need to request a student permit or visa. On the contrary, if you come from another country non-EU/EEA you will need to apply for a visa for the Netherlands beforehand.

For the first 3 months, you will need a Provincial Residence Permit, also known as MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf), but usually, your university will apply for it on your behalf. If you are staying in the country for longer, you will need to apply for a VVR, which is a residence permit only for students, valid until your graduation. Because it is for studying purposes only, the VVR will be valid only if at least 50% of the credit is being provided during the program.

To obtain the permit, you will need the following documents, which need to be presented in Dutch, English, German or French:

  • Valid passport
  • Bank statement, scholarship letter, or transfer of funds to prove that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself throughout your studies.
  • Proof of enrolment
  • Proof of payment of the required legal fees


student jobs in rotterdam

1. Registration in The Netherlands

The very first step for anyone moving to the Netherlands for the first time to stay more than 4 months, is to do the registration at the municipality within 5 days of your arrival.

To do so, you need to make an appointment ahead, and gather all the documents needed:

·       Valid passport or travel document

·       Rental (or purchase) contract or approval from the main resident you will live with

·       Proof of de-registration if travelling from Aruba, Curacao, St. Marteen, Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius

These must be less than 3 years old and presented in English, German, French, or they must be formally translated to Dutch.

At the registration you will receive a BSN (Citizen Service Number), which is a personal number that will be valid for life, that will allow the government to register you into the database. Careful not to lose this number: you will only receive it once, and it will be requested for every formality in the Netherlands.

Here is the link to some of the municipalities:

Amsterdam – Rotterdam – The Hague – Groningen – Utrecht  – Maastricht – Leiden – Breda

work as an international student in rotterdam

2. DigiD

Another way to identify yourself online for governmental matters, educational institutes or healthcare, is through DigiD.

To apply you simply need to follow the steps on the website, inserting your BSN, phone number, and e-mail address. Within a max of 3 days, you will receive a letter with a code to activate your DigiD, so remember your username and password.

There are different ways to easily log in.

·       SMS verification

·       Username and password

·       Identity card

·       DigiD App- highly suggested to access via QR code or with the security system of your device (ex. Touch/ face id)

part time student job international student

3. Bank account

The third step to follow is to create a bank account in a Dutch bank because not all the stores will accept a standard Mastercard or visa. The process is not too hard. Firstly, you need to decide which bank you want. There are many, but the three main and most famous are ABN Amro, Rabobank, and ING. Each bank has its regulations and systems, but usually, because you are a student you will have a student account, free of charge. Usually, the documents needed are your BSN, proof of enrolment in your institution, and a document for identification

In the Netherlands, it is possible to start your account online, by filling in your info that will be then added to the system. You can also make an appointment or you might be called by the bank to sign the contract. The card and pin will be sent to you via mail.

Once you created a student account, you will be able to pay via Ideal. Ideal is a system of online payment possible with a Dutch bank account. It is used for everything in the NL, which means that you do not need to fill in the card info anymore, but you can pay by scanning a QR code and inserting a password or with your phone security measures. 

A bank that offers their process in English and is easy to apply for online is ABN Ambro, create a bank account here.

4. Public Transport – OV

One of your first payments will be for your OV-chipkaart. The card is the main payment method used for public transportation in the NL. You will only need to charge money on the card, and you will be able to travel free of tickets, by scanning the card at the departure and arrival stations or bus stops.

Although there are two different cards, a personal and an anonymous, we suggest you apply for the personalized one, as the government offers different discounts for students.

The cost for the card is 7,50, and to apply you will need a digital photo in jpg (max 5MB) and the iDEAL payment method.

In every station, you will be able to find service point machines to charge your OV, or you can do it online and pick up your order at any machine available in the city and stores. Order your OV-Chipcard here.

5. Health Insurance

Now you have completed the formalities you will need them daily. However, it is important to consider that your stay in the Netherlands might not be all perfect. You might get sick or need a doctor or any medical support. To access Dutch healthcare, you will need to apply for Dutch insurance. (If you are a European citizen, your healthcare card will be valid for the first 4 months of your stay).

How to take out Dutch health insurance?

After you registered with a municipality, you can choose your health insurance from one of the Dutch public health insurers. You will be presented with different packages at different prices, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. (REMEMBER: If you do not register for the insurance, the government will send you a fine and will assign you an insurance plan of their choice.) (The most common ones are: …) Fill out the application form and send it to the health insurer.

The registration is complete once you have received an insurance policy (in Dutch: polisblad).

Remember: if you stop working or if you leave the Netherlands, cancel your insurance. Do not forget to deregister from the municipality.

At the end of your studies, if you decide to stay in the Netherlands, you must apply for health insurance before starting to work. During an orientation year with a search visa, you are not allowed to take out Dutch public health insurance if you have not started to work. You can take out international health insurance.


Health care benefits

  • Zorgtoeslag
  • Dutch public health insurance

You might also want to consider getting extra insurance like:

  • Liability insurance

  • Accident and when someone is injured

  • Damage someone’s property

  • When responsible for an accident, where you need to pay all the costs.

6. Student Finance – DUO

If You Are Enrolled In University, Higher Professional Education, You Can Apply For Student Finance. You Must Be A Dutch National Or Have The Same Rights. This Means You Can Also Apply For Student Finance If You Finished Your Registration. See if you are eligible for student finance Here.


To see how much student finance you can receive check the following website from DUO.

To be eligible for student finance you will have to work 56 hours a month. If you have finished your registration and are eligible for student finance you can apply for DUO (Student Financing) here.

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