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Job search visa for highly educated persons

This information is provided by: Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service

The Netherlands considers it highly important that highly skilled migrants have the time they need to find a job or start their own company in the Netherlands after completing their studies. Therefore, highly skilled migrants can apply for a job search visa, the so-called 'Orientation year highly educated persons' residence permit. They can apply for this residence permit within 3 years after completing their study, or obtaining their PhD in the Netherlands or abroad.


If you wish to make use of the orientation year for highly educated persons, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You have a valid travel document (for example a passport).
  • You are not a risk to public order or national security.
  • You are willing to undergo a tuberculosis testExternal link (pdf) upon arrival in the Netherlands. Certain nationalities are exempt from this obligationExternal link (pdf).
  • You have not previously stayed in the Netherlands illegally.
  • You have not given false information or withheld important information to support any previous applications.

In the past three years:

  • You have completed an accredited Bachelor's or Master's programme in the Netherlands; or
  • You have completed a post-doctoral programme or have obtained a PhD in the Netherlands; or
  • You have obtained a Master's degree on the basis of an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course; or
  • You have completed a study in relation to the Cultural Policy Act; or
  • You have completed a study that is provided in relation to the development and cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; or
  • You have completed a higher education programme designated by ministerial order; or
  • You have completed a Master's or post-doctoral programme or have 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, or
    • Achieved a comparable minimum score in an English language test in accordance with the Code of Conduct for international students in Dutch higher education, or
    • Acquired a diploma, certificate or document as meant in Article 2.3, (1) of the Civic Integration Decree (only in Dutch), or
    • Completed a Master or post-doctoral programme in the English language or in Dutch.

*A designated international educational institution is 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 faculty or by subject field of the:


You must enclose documents with your application. The documents that you need are listed in the application form.


The application feesExternal link must be paid when you submit your application. Please note that you pay for processing the application, not for the residence permit. The fees will therefore not be refunded if your application is refused.

Application procedure

If you require a provisional residence permit and are still living abroad you will need to start the procedureExternal link with the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence. In this procedure you apply for a provisional residence permit and a residence permit simultaneously.

If you do not require a temporary residence permit and are already living legally in the Netherlands, you will need to apply to the IND for the 'Orientation year for highly educated persons' residence permit, using this application formExternal link (pdf).

For more information on how to enter the Netherlands, please check the procedure, or contact your (future) employer as to the procedures to be followed.

Right to work

On the residence document you will find your employment status (arbeidsmarktaantekening). This status tells you whether and under which conditions you are allowed to work.

As a holder of a residence permit 'Orientation year for highly educated persons', you are allowed to work in the Netherlands without any restrictions. This means that your employer does not need to have a work permit (TWV) for you. If you had another Dutch residence permit prior to this application, you will retain that employment status until you have received your residence permit based on the 'Orientation year for highly educated persons'.

Collection of the residence permit

You can collect the residence permit from the IND desk or Expat Centre. A letter on this subject will be sent to your home address, informing you where you can collect your residence permit and which documents you need to take with you. You do not need an appointment to collect your residence permit.

Validity residence permit

The residence permit will be issued for a maximum period of 1 year. It is not possible to extend the validity of this residence permit. If you wish to extend your stay in the Netherlands after the orientation year has ended, you have to apply for another type of residence permit. To students completing several programmes of study the orientation year can be granted after each programme of study. You can therefore apply for another orientation year at a later date if this is done on the basis of a different completed study programme.

Changing the residence permit

If you find a job as a highly skilled migrant during the orientation year, your employer must apply for a residence permit for you as a highly skilled migrant. You will be eligible for the reduced salary criterion 'highly skilled migrant after job-seeking year for highly skilled migrants'. Check this tableExternal link for the amounts.

If you have graduated, obtained your PhD or you have had a residence permit for scientific research and are not making use of the orientation year, you will also be eligible for the reduced salary criterionExternal link from the highly skilled migrants arrangement.

If you have not found a job as a highly skilled migrant, but a different job, then your employer will apply for a single permit for residence and employment.

If you have started your own business, you must change your residence permit to employment as a self-employed person or start-up.

Illegal stay

Have you been staying in the Netherlands for more than 3 months without a residence permit? You are then staying here illegally. You have to leave the Netherlands immediately. If you do not do so voluntarily, the authorities may remove you from the Netherlands.

Entry ban

If you are staying in the Netherlands illegally, you face the risk of being issued an entry banExternal link for the Schengen area.

Remaining questions regarding the orientation year

Read the frequently asked questionsExternal link (pdf) for more information. If, after having read the information, you still have specific questions regarding the orientation year, you can send an email to: hemse@ind.minvenj.nlExternal link.

This information is provided by:

Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service

Any further questions?

Please contact the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service

+31 (0)88 043 0430