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The Immigration Procedure Explained

Date:18 May 2021
Author:Ariana
Depending on your nationality, you will only need a residence permit (pictured left) or both a residence permit and an MVV (left and right)
Depending on your nationality, you will only need a residence permit (pictured left) or both a residence permit and an MVV (left and right)

If you’re an international student, then you’ve probably wondered which steps you need to take before being able to study in the Netherlands—out of which one of the most important is the immigration procedure. Moving to the Netherlands to study is something that all admitted students have the possibility of doing, however, the process is simply a bit longer for some than for others. For example, if you’re an EU or EEA citizen, it’s as simple as packing your bags and getting on a plane (or car, or train!). However, non-EU/EEA citizens will need a residence permit, and in some cases, an MVV as well. Wondering what all of this means, and how to make sure you can travel to join us later this summer? Don’t worry, I’ll explain that down below, so keep reading to find out!


The basics:

It’s important to clarify that getting a visa is not an out-of-the-world complicated process. As a Costa Rican student, I’ve been through it, and so have a bunch of other UG international students before you! The key to getting a residence permit and visa—and doing so quickly—lies in having the right paperwork ready. The UG already has a magnificent team at the Immigration  Service Desk (ISD) who take care of most of the process. Their primary job is to help you make this transition smoothly so that, come September, you’re able to experience the student life in Groningen or Leeuwarden with your own eyes. How can you contribute to this process? Make sure to have all your paperwork ready on time!

The ISD will always work to respond within 5 working days from when you send your documents. Once they have all of them, they will send them to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), who will take between 4-6 weeks to process your application. You’ll be kept notified during all of this via your email, so make sure to keep an eye out!

Residence Permit only:

Who qualifies: Nationals from Canada, the U.S.A., Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Monaco, and Vatican City

What you need to send to the ISD:

  • A colour copy of your passport
  • Signed antecedents certificate
  • The transfer receipts for your tuition fees (and application fees, if applicable)
  • The transfer receipts for your living expenses
  • Your scholarship letter (if applicable)

The ISD will need to see a colour copy of your passport so that they can verify all your information, including your signature, and your previous travel stamps. Make sure these are clear and legible when you scan the copy so that you save yourself the hassle of re-doing it later. Next, you’ll need to send in a signed antecedents certificate, the ISD will provide you with this document so that you can review it and sign it yourself. All it checks is that you’re not a criminal, and that you haven’t had  any shady run-ins with the law. 

Now, a whole other dimension of the process is the financials. The IND will need to verify that you are able to cover both your entire stay in the Netherlands for the year, therefore, you’ll need to transfer tuition fees and living expenses to the ISD, and attach the transfer receipts. Don’t worry, they’ll keep your money safe until you get here. This will also make sure that you won’t have to abandon your study in the middle of the year because of financial reasons (unless, of course, you decide to spend all your money on something completely unreasonable… but that’s a whole other story)!

One extra thing: you’ll need to make sure that you have valid health insurance.

Residence Permit and MVV:

Who qualifies: all other non-EU/EEA nationalities

What you need to send to the ISD:

  • A colour copy of your passport
  • Signed antecedents certificate
  • The transfer receipts for your tuition fees (and application fees, if applicable)
  • The transfer receipts for your living expenses
  • Your scholarship letter (if applicable)

For explanations on these documents, see the section above this one!

What’s different about this procedure? While the documents you need to send are exactly the same, there is one extra step you need to make before travelling to the Netherlands. Once the IND has approved your application, you will need to go to a Dutch Embassy or Consulate General to pick up a long-term multiple entry visa, also known as an MVV. This will ensure that you are able to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days while you get your residence permit. Speaking of which, while you’re at the embassy or consulate, they will take some biometric details, such as your photo, to make your residence permit. You can pick this permit up once you get to the Netherlands. Make sure you take extra good care of it, as it’s super expensive to replace! 

Like the other nationalities above, you will also need to ensure that you have valid health insurance.

For more detailed instructions, check out this video:

This can be a lot of information to take in all at once, and in most cases, can be very confusing. If you have any questions that you would like clarified, the ISD will be holding a webinar this Friday, 21 May, to help guide you through the immigration process better! You can sign up here

About the author

Ariana
Ariana
Hey! I’m Ariana and I’m a Costa Rican student with a passion for photography, dancing, and cute dogs. Aside from writing blogs, I’m doing my Bachelor’s in Media Studies. If you see me around smiling at my phone, I’m probably looking at memes (or cute dogs).

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