Netherlands internship visa requirement

Netherlands internship visa requirement

Did the land of cheese and bicycles capture your heart? Did you find the internship of your dreams in the home of tulips and canals? Here are a few practical things you need to know before you make a move to the Netherlands.



EU/EEA citizens

As a citizen of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Switzerland, you are in luck: there is no need to apply for a visa or a residence permit! All you need to do is make an appointment at the local municipality upon arrival to obtain a “BSN” (“Burgerservicenummer”). For this, you need to show proof of accommodation (e.g. your rental agreement), your valid passport and the signed internship agreement or contract.

If the duration of your internship exceeds 4 months, you are obliged to register with the local municipality. If your stay lasts fewer than 4 months, registration is not obligatory but highly recommended. Indeed, it helps you open a bank account among many other things.

In the case of Croatian citizens, this duration limit is 3 months. You will have to provide proof of health insurance and sufficient income.

Non-EU citizens

If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country, you will need to apply for a Provisional Residence Permit, especially if you intend to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months. You need to apply for this visa at the Dutch Embassy located in your home country (or country of legal residence) before departure. Keep in mind that these processes can take a mind-bogglingly long time so plan ahead!

NB: You are not required to obtain this permit if you are a national of one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Korea, USA, Vatican City.

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you are required to register with the local municipality the same way as mentioned above for EU/EEA citizens.

Here you can find more details about working in the Netherlands as a foreign citizen.

Working as a foreign intern

Although most internships in the Netherlands are unpaid, some may include a salary. If you are an EU/EEA citizen and have acquired a paid internship, you can go to any Dutch bank to open an account. You will just need your passport and, preferably, your BSN number. If you are a non-EEA citizen, you will have to provide a proof of residence.

Most internships in the Netherlands are highly professional and interns are often given substantial responsibility in their work. Dutch employers value interns who take initiative, work independently and solve problems on their own. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help if you need it. This is a brilliant opportunity for young foreign professionals to gain plenty of theoretical knowledge and improve their skills while being immersed in the life of a real Dutch company.

Besides independence and professionalism, the Dutch regard punctuality as an important value. Make sure you are (mostly) on time! They are quite straight-forward people and expect the same from the colleagues; this also applies to criticism. Don’t be surprised if they give you their opinion as it is. They don’t mean any harm by it, it’s just the Dutch way of working and you’ll soon get used to it.

Insurance for foreign students

Check with your national insurance if they cover medical and other costs in the Netherlands. If not, you are recommended to purchase medical insurance in the Netherlands. It can be quite expensive (since Dutch health care and insurance is privatized). However, there are plenty of internship companies that offer special packages specially designed for students. They are considerably cheaper than other medical insurances.

Under certain circumstances (e.g. if you are renting a property), you may be required to purchase a liability insurance. This one covers any damage caused by you or a third party. Although there are plenty of companies that offer such services, it is easiest to purchase such insurance at your local bank. Even if you are not required to do so, it is recommended to have liability insurance since it is not excessively expensive. Moreover, it protects you from paying through the roof for any damage.

Here you can compare the insurances offered by different companies.

Expat groups and information for foreigners

The Netherlands is a highly tolerant and welcoming country where it seems like every other person come from another country. Workplaces are filled with people coming from all over the world. For this reason, there are a huge expat and foreign communities that can help you start your life in the Netherlands. Websites like IAmExpat offer plenty of advice on topics ranging from the types of rental agreements to how to protect yourself against the rain.  InterNations and the like help you connect to other expats living in your area to start building your own community!

Besides these, you can find groups like “Expats in the Netherlands”, “Young Expats Netherlands” and “Netherlands Expats” on Facebook. It help you find out more about the professional as well as the leisure side of living in the Netherlands.