Staying in the Netherlands after graduation

Publicatiedatum 23 september 2022
Wijzigingsdatum 1 mei 2023

Are you approaching the end of your education as an international student in the Netherlands and are you wondering if you are allowed to stay in the Netherlands? In this blog we will tell you what your options are to be able to stay in the Netherlands, for how long these options allow you to stay, and how to apply for the permits for these options.

Short term residency

Orientation year permit

As a student you have a temporary residence permit in the Netherlands for the duration of your studies. After graduating your master or bachelor degree you will lose this permit within a few months. After that you are allowed to apply for a different permit called the orientation year permit. Any international student that has graduated from a Dutch bachelor or master education can apply for one here. This permit will allow you to stay in the Netherlands for another whole year.

The orientation year permit is an extension of a student residence permit so you will keep the same rights as you had before. Another thing to note is that you have up to 3 years after graduating to request the orientation year permit. This means you could pursue one of the other options first and if one of those falls through request an orientation year permit so you have a year to consider your options and get more work experience.

Work as an au pair

Another option to be able to stay for a longer period in the Netherlands is to go to work as an au pair. As an au pair you would also be able to apply for another year of residency. There are a lot more limitations on this permit however. First of all you need to work through an au pair agency that is validated by the Dutch government. The agency will arrange your contract with the family and request your residency permit. You will have to present the required documents at the Dutch embassy in your home country. This means a trip back home if you are still in the Netherlands.

You are only allowed to work as an au pair for one year. After being an au pair for a year you will need to consider other options to stay in the Netherlands. One last thing to note is that you are not allowed to have held a resident permit on the basis of an exchange before. The permit you had as a student won’t cause any problems except if you were part of an exchange program.

Long-term residency

A relationship with a Dutch resident

Just like it is in most countries you can get a residency permit when you are in a relationship with a Dutch resident. The requirements to request residency on this basis are: your partner needs to be registered as a Dutch citizen or have a valid residence permit, and your partner needs to have a job or have sufficient means to support you both. You do not need to be married to apply for this permit, but you do need to have a registered cohabitation contract or proof of being in a long-term exclusive relationship. As long as your relationship lasts you will be able to get a residency permit on this basis. You partner can apply you for this permit here.

Having a job permit

If you are not in a relationship with a Dutch resident there is another way to get long term residency. If you have a job in the Netherlands you can request a residency permit on the basis of your job. Most of the time your employer will need to request a work permit for you. After getting a work permit you are able to apply for the residency permit. If you are going to do high skilled or scientific work, you can apply for both a residency and work permit yourself at once. This permit will allow you to stay in the Netherlands as long as you keep your job or find a suitable replacement job. To check if either you or your employer needs to request your work permit you can find more information here.

Permanent residency or getting Dutch citizenship

After having a valid residency permit in the Netherlands for at least 5 years you will be able to request permanent residency or Dutch citizenship. The procedure and requirements are very similar. For either option you will need to pass a civic integration exam that verify your ability to read, write, speak and understand the Dutch language. With either one of these you are also allowed to stay in the Netherlands indefinitely. However to become a Dutch citizen you need to renounce your old nationality.

It is important to note that your years as a student, your orientation year and time you worked as an au pair do not count towards the above mentioned 5 years of living in the Netherlands. This is because for all these options you will have had a temporary residence permit with a temporary purpose of stay. This means you will need to have been a resident based of a work permit or partnership permit for 5 years. More about becoming a Dutch citizen you can find on this website and more about the permanent residency permit.

How do you find a suitable job

Requesting a work permit costs time for an employer so if he can get a Dutch citizen with the same experience there is a good chance he will choose the Dutch citizen. This means you will need to be outstanding in your field and make the employer prefer you over hiring a Dutch citizen. A good way to do it is by getting a lot of work experience during your time as a student or during an orientation year.

There is also the fact that a lot of employers want to see your potential on a temporary basis before giving you a long term contract. This is another reason why working while studying is very important. A good way to find work as an international student is through a job agency like Recruit a StudentRecruit a Student is a job agency in The Netherlands with a focus on linking students and people who have just graduated with companies that are looking for personnel. Sign up now to Recruit a Student and see the vacancies we have in your area.


Bel ons om een afspraak te maken!
+31(0)88 522 00 00

Of loop bij één van onze vestigingen binnen.