Orientation Year Visa in the Netherlands: A Post-Graduation Guide

There are a lot of reasons why you’d want to stay in The Netherlands after graduation. Holland is a perfect country for those who wish to advance their career and grow personally – here’s why:

  • Robust Job Market: With an unemployment rate at a low 3.5% as of March 2023, the Netherlands offers a stable economic environment. The most developed sectors include agriculture, creative industries, IT, and health sciences, which promises a diverse career path for recent graduates. The average annual salary is quite attractive, especially if you decide to do your masters on top of a bachelor degree.
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities: Famous for its vibrant start-up scene, the Netherlands is a hotspot for entrepreneurs. The Dutch education system equips students with the necessary tools for successful careers, and the country’s policies, including the ‘Search Year’ visa, support graduates in transitioning to the workforce or starting their own business.
  • Quality of Life and Cultural Factors: High quality of life, work-life balance, and a stable economic environment are significant factors for international students choosing to stay. Another point for staying in the Netherlands after your studies: you don’t have to learn Dutch because everyone speaks English, especially if you live in a big city like Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

What is Orientation Year Permit

The Orientation Year Permit is a specific residence permit designed for highly educated migrants seeking employment or starting a business in the Netherlands post-graduation. Here’s a breakdown of key aspects:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Completion of an accredited bachelor’s, master’s, or postgraduate program within the last 3 years.
  • For international students, completion of a Master’s, doctoral, or post-Master’s program of at least 12 months at a designated international educational institution abroad.
  • Valid passport, no threat to public order or national security, and willingness to undergo a tuberculosis test.

Permit Features:

  • Validity of 1 year with no possibility for extension.
  • Allows unlimited work rights in the Netherlands, enabling holders to explore various employment opportunities or entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Multiple applications are permissible after completing different qualifying programs.

Application Process:

  • Can be initiated online or by mail up to 3 months before the current residence permit expires.
  • Requires proof of graduation from a Dutch institution or a top university abroad, along with meeting general and specific conditions like having a valid residence permit for study purposes, a Citizen Service Number (BSN), and registration in the Personal Records Database (BRP).
  • This permit offers a unique opportunity for non-EEA graduates to transition smoothly into the Dutch workforce or set up their own startup, which contributes to their career development and integration into the Dutch society.

How to Apply for the Orientation Year Visa in the Netherlands

  1. Register with the IND: Visit the website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) of the Netherlands to start your application process. Create an account and complete the online application form.
  2. Submit Application: Fill out the application form accurately and upload all required documents. Double-check the information provided to avoid any errors.
  3. Pay Fees: Pay the required fees for processing your visa application. The fee amount may vary, so ensure you have the correct information.
  4. Wait for Decision: After submitting your application, the IND will review your documents and process your application. This may take several weeks, so be patient during this time.
  5. Biometrics Appointment: If required, schedule and attend a biometrics appointment at a designated IND office or consulate. During this appointment, your fingerprints and photo will be taken.
  6. Receive Decision: Once your application is processed, you will receive a decision from the IND. If approved, you will receive a residence permit card, which allows you to stay in the Netherlands for the duration of the orientation year.
  7. Start Orientation Year: Upon receiving your residence permit card, you can start your orientation year in the Netherlands. Use this time to explore career opportunities, gain work experience, or start a business.
  8. Comply with Requirements: During your orientation year, make sure to comply with all the requirements of the visa, such as maintaining health insurance and sufficient financial means.

Finding a Job or Starting a Business

Finding a job in the Netherlands post-graduation is a critical step for those on an orientation year visa. Here are some resources and steps to consider:

  • Job Listings: Explore various platforms for job vacancies including: Expatica job board, EURES, UWV, Glassdoor, Good Company, Intermédiair, LinkedIn jobs, National Vacature Bank, Stepstone, Vacaturevia, and We know people.
  • Recruitment Agencies: For personalised job placement, consider agencies like Adams Multilingual Recruitment, Randstad Multilingual, Tempo Team, Undutchables, Unique, and Young Capital, which specialise in positions for foreign workers.

Starting a business is another viable option for orientation year visa holders:

  • Self-Employment: With 15.8% of the Dutch population being self-employed, including many foreign residents, the Netherlands provides a supportive environment for entrepreneurs.
  • Registration and Compliance: Ensure your business is registered at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel – KvK) and adhere to taxation and accounting procedures.
  • Resources: Utilise websites like Welcome to NL for insights on Dutch workplace culture, innovative sectors, and guidelines on starting a business. Additionally, the Welcome to NL jobboard and Academic Transfer jobboard are excellent resources for job seekers.

For those looking to work in regulated professions or industries, applying for a residence permit as a self-employed person is necessary. International students with job offers meeting the EU Blue Card criteria can also consider this route for living and working in the Netherlands.

Transitioning from a Student to a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa

Transitioning from holding an orientation year visa to becoming a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands involves several steps, tailored to ensure that individuals can contribute significantly to the Dutch labor market:

Employment Requirements:

  • Secure an employment contract with a Dutch employer recognised by the IND.
  • Ensure the agreed salary aligns with the market rate, reflecting the value of highly skilled labor.

Special Considerations:

Researchers and medical doctors in training have specific requirements to meet, acknowledging the unique contributions these professions make to society and the economy.

Residence Permit Validity:

The residence permit for highly skilled migrants is valid for the duration of the employment contract or assignment, up to a maximum of 5 years, providing stability and security for the individual and their family.

In the event of unemployment, highly skilled migrants are granted a search period of up to three months to secure a new job, offering a safety net during transitions.

European Blue Card:

For those aiming higher, the European Blue Card represents a prestigious option, requiring a higher income and an educational degree from a program lasting at least three years.

EU/EFTA Citizens:

Citizens from EU/EFTA countries enjoy the freedom to live and work in the Netherlands without needing a work visa or residence permit, simplifying the process for a significant portion of the international community.

This structured pathway ensures that transitioning to a highly skilled migrant visa is a clear and attainable goal for those who have completed their orientation year, supporting the Netherlands’ vision of attracting and retaining international talent.


How can I continue to reside in the Netherlands after my orientation year concludes?

After completing your orientation year, if you have secured a job and wish to continue living and working in the Netherlands, you should apply for a suitable residence permit. Options include permits for highly skilled migrants, start-ups, or self-employed individuals.

What exactly is the post-graduate visa in the Netherlands?

The post-graduate visa, also known as the ‘orientation year for highly educated persons’ or simply ‘orientation year,’ is a residence permit valid for one year. It is designed for recent graduates, PhD holders, and researchers, allowing them time to seek employment as highly skilled workers or to flesh out a business concept.

What is the processing time for an orientation year visa in the Netherlands?

Obtaining an orientation year visa is a straightforward process, but it may take up to three months for the decision to be made. Applicants must have a valid passport or equivalent travel documents and sign an antecedents statement to meet the requirements for a knowledge migrant orientation year.

What advantages does the orientation year visa offer in the Netherlands?

The orientation year visa provides unrestricted access to the Dutch job market. This means that you are not subject to a specific salary criterion, other than the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act (WML), and employers are not required to secure a work permit on your behalf.

Last but not least…

Take the leap, explore your options, and make you apply to your perfect university on time! The Netherlands awaits you with open arms and endless possibilities.

Start exploring your future today!

At The Discov, we help you compare your top university options based on your unique profile, including your academic, student life, budget, and diversity preferences. Just select your preferences and receive a free interactive report with your top university matches, including a virtual tour of what life will look like at each matched university. Start exploring your future today!

Victoria Timosheva

Victoria Timosheva

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Let’s be honest! It is quite hard to manage your expenses while studying abroad. Something always comes up and you need to spend money. It does not matter whether it will be a spontaneous night out with friends or you need to buy new furniture for your room. Worry no more! We got you covered! In this article you will find some useful tips on how to save up some money while still enjoying your student life:

Tip 1: Create a solid monthly budget

The first and most important step for spending money correctly is to estimate your monthly budget. Calculate approximately how much you spend on things such as rent, utilities, groceries, university related stuff, ect so you know exactly how to distribute your money. Many banking apps provide functionality to track your monthly spending if you use your bank card.

Tip 2: Apply for benefits and allowances

When studying abroad you may be eligible for different social incentives such as rent, health insurance or maintenance cost allowances. This can reduce your expenses so you can save up for other things. Contact your university or fellow students to find out which grants or allowances you may be eligible for.

Tip 3: Buy food from the local market 

Food is one of the biggest expenses of students. Supermarkets provide a great variety of products but sometimes they may be a bit pricey. Find out budget-friendly supermarkets in your neighbourhood to get the most of out of your budget. Or even better, buy your weekly groceries from the local market in your city. Not only are they fresher and healthier, but they can also be significantly cheaper.

Tip 4: Get thrifty

A great way to save money is to buy second hand. You can easily find everything you need – home appliances and furniture to bicycles, clothes, books,… you name it. In the Netherlands, is the biggest online marketplace for second hand items. But also Facebook marketplace is a great place to start. However, be very conscious and request a viewing before you pay!

Tip 5: Store discounts

Every store, it does not matter whether it is a grocery or a clothing one, has different weekly discounts. Try to keep an eye on these discounts as they are a useful means for saving some money.

Managing your budget is not an easy task. In the beginning it may be quite difficult to navigate with your money, however, if you follow these tips, you will succeed in staying on budget while still enjoying your student life.


In the vast landscape of academic disciplines, a unique blend of subjects stands out — the Liberal Arts and Sciences degree. Liberal Arts and Sciences is a multidisciplinary program in arts, humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences. It offers students an opportunity to broaden their horizons and delve into a wide range of topics. Let’s have a closer look at it together!

What is Liberal Arts and Sciences?

The concept of Liberal Arts and Sciences can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was seen as a necessary skillset to participate in civil community. This educational approach was later adopted and expanded by the Romans who named it “liberal studies humanitas“, implying the study of human nature or civilisation.

Fast forward to the Medieval era, the liberal arts were categorised into the trivium (comprising grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (consisting of arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry), which are the roots of Liberal Arts and Sciences, encapsulating both arts and sciences.

Fastforward to the 21st century and inspired by the Liberal Arts and Sciences programmes and college structure found in the United States, University Colleges in the Netherlands are perfect if you want to study a multidisciplinary bachelor programme in a community-focused environment.

Why study Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree

In the modern context, Liberal Arts and Sciences degrees go beyond arts and humanities, employing a great variety of disciplines. Degree in Liberal Arts includes arts such as music, design, theatre, and painting; humanities like English, history, philosophy, foreign languages; social sciences education in political science, economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology; and environmental sciences along with other natural sciences such as biology, mathematics, chemistry, or physics.

This interdisciplinary approach enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling students to view issues from multiple angles and develop well-rounded perspectives.

The Structure of a Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree

Typically, a liberal studies degree follows a three-year program of study where students undertake both mandatory core courses and choose one or more Majors. With the guidance of academic advisors, students can make up their own curriculum, choosing from a variety of specialisations like economics and business, life sciences, humanities, social and behavioural sciences, law, and arts.

In addition to the varied choice of subjects, students also have the opportunity to participate in study abroad opportunities, which enrich their academic experience and cultural understanding, extracurricular activities, elevates their learning experience and builds a sense of community.

The Learning Environment at Liberal Arts and Sciences Colleges

Liberal Arts and Sciences colleges, known for their intimate learning environments, prefer small class sizes and a high level of faculty-student interaction. These institutions often employ a problem-based learning approach within their liberal arts program, fostering active participation in debates, simulations, and practical applications of academic concepts.

Most Liberal Arts and Sciences colleges provide student accommodation such as residential campuses, creating a close-knit student community. This way universities that offer degrees in Liberal Arts hope to develop students’ social and cultural competencies, as they interact closely with peers from various backgrounds.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Liberal Arts

A degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as a comprehensive career guide, preparing students for a broad variety of professions. The curriculum emphasises the development of communication skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities, equipping graduates for successful careers in business, government, education, and healthcare.

Graduates of these programs are highly demanded for such roles as market research analysts and content strategists. Their ability to humanise technical subjects makes complex information accessible to diverse audiences, a trait that employers value a lot due to its importance in the ever-evolving job market.

Best Liberal Arts and Sciences Program in the Netherlands

One of the best university to study Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Netherlands is Groningen University – Campus Fryslan. This university offers a unique academic environment that encourages students to explore multiple disciplines and cultivate a holistic understanding of the world. Critical thinking, questioning assumptions, and engaging in open discussions are central to the dynamic learning experience provided.

Moreover, the university’s offer of extracurricular activities allows students to broaden their horizons, develop new skills, and foster a sense of community. With its world-class faculty and diverse student community, the Liberal Arts and Sciences program at Groningen University stands out as the perfect choice for students who wish to obtain a Liberal Arts degree in the Netherlands.

Last but not least…

A degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a unique blend of multidisciplinary learning, equipping students with a diverse skill set and extensive knowledge. With its historical roots, this comprehensive curriculum fosters a broad educational spectrum, making it an attractive option for those seeking a well-rounded academic experience. Whether aiming for a career in business, government, education, healthcare, or beyond, the liberal arts curriculum provides a solid foundation to begin your professional path.

Located in the picturesque province of Fryslân in the Netherlands, Groningen University Campus Fryslân offers a unique and enriching educational experience. As a prospective student, you may be wondering why you should consider this university  for your higher education journey. In this article, we will explore why you should study abroad in the Netherlands specifically at this campus!

Study in the Netherlands

Cutting-edge Data Sciences & Society Program

Groningen University Campus Fryslân is renowned for its innovative Data Sciences & Society Program. In today’s data-driven world, the demand for professionals who can navigate complex datasets and derive insights is on the rise. By enrolling in this program, you will gain a solid foundation in data analysis, statistics, and programming, equipping you with the skills needed to thrive in various industries such as finance, healthcare, and technology. The curriculum is designed to be interdisciplinary, allowing you to explore the intersection of data sciences with social sciences and humanities, providing a unique perspective on how data impacts our society.

Real expertise, small-scale classrooms

One of the standout features of Groningen University Campus Fryslân is its commitment to providing a personalised and interactive learning experience. With small-scale classrooms, you will have the opportunity to engage closely with professors and fellow students, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment. The faculty at Groningen University Campus Fryslân consists of experts in their respective fields, ensuring that you receive the highest quality education. The intimate learning setting allows for meaningful discussions, critical thinking, and hands-on practical experiences, preparing you for the challenges of the real world. By the way, classes at Groningen University Campus Fryslân consist only of around 25 students, making sure you receive individual guidance during your studies!

International admissions process at Groningen University Campus Fryslân

Applying to a university abroad can seem daunting, but the admissions process at Groningen University Campus Fryslân is streamlined and straightforward. To begin your application, visit the university’s official website and navigate to the admissions section. There, you will find detailed instructions on how to apply as an international student. Keep in mind that the application requirements may vary depending on the program you are interested in, so it is essential to review the specific criteria for your field of study. Make sure to gather all the necessary documents, such as academic transcripts, a motivation letter, and letters of recommendation well in advance to avoid any last-minute stress. If you have any questions, at The Discov we are happy to assist you with your application! 

Tips for a successful application to Groningen University Campus Fryslân

To increase your chances of a successful application, it is crucial to pay attention to the details. Firstly, take the time to thoroughly research the programs offered at Groningen University Campus Fryslân and ensure they align with your academic and career goals. Tailor your motivation letter to reflect your genuine interest in the program and highlight how your background and experiences make you a suitable candidate. Additionally, reach out to current students or alumni of Groningen University Campus Fryslân to gain insights into their application experiences and gather valuable tips. Lastly, proofread your application materials multiple times to eliminate any errors or typos.

Student life at Groningen University Campus Fryslân

Studying at Groningen University Campus Fryslân is not just about academics; it’s also about immersing yourself in a vibrant and diverse student community! The campus offers numerous extracurricular activities, clubs, and societies catering to a wide range of interests. Whether you are passionate about music, sports, or volunteering, you will find like-minded individuals who share your enthusiasm. The university also organises regular events and cultural activities, providing ample opportunities to connect with fellow students and experience the rich Dutch culture. Additionally, the province of Fryslân itself offers breathtaking natural landscapes, charming towns, and a thriving arts scene, ensuring that you have a well-rounded and fulfilling student life experience.

Alumni success stories from Groningen University Campus Fryslân

The success stories of Groningen University Campus Fryslân’s alumni speak volumes about the quality of education and opportunities offered by the institution. Let’s have a look at their testimonies! 

How do you look back on your time at CF?

It was definitely a blast. I could easily say it was the best community I have ever experienced while studying. CF is like a warm bath with a lot of bubbling ideas. It offers a great environment to develop your skills and meet other inspiring people.

Annelieke van Engelenhoven

What did it bring you?

It taught me a lot, also personally. It gave me countless opportunities to grow. Just mentioning a few things like the start up academy and our practical projects, which gave us the chance to connect with pioneers in the field. But also academically it showed that knowledge from papers really sinks in if you debate heavily about it, thinking about the leadership class.

— Julia Kremer

How do you look back on your time at UCF?

I will never forget my first year living together with my whole cohort at Kanaalstraat. This was a very unique experience, since you were not only seeing your classmates at school, but you were also living with them. This has definitely made it easier to make friends at University, as you already get to know a lot of people on a deeper level because of this. Another experience I will never forget is the six months I spent in Australia as part of my minor. I absolutely fell in love with the country and the people and I am very glad I got to experience this. 

— Marre Linthorst

Last but not least… 

Groningen University Campus Fryslân offers a compelling educational experience that sets it apart from other institutions in the Netherlands. With its cutting-edge Data Sciences & Society Program, small-scale classrooms, streamlined international admissions process, vibrant student life, and a network of successful alumni, the university provides an environment where you can thrive academically and personally. By choosing Groningen University Campus Fryslân, you are embarking on a transformative educational journey that will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and network. Start your exploration today and take the first step towards a bright future!

At The Discov, we help you compare your top university options based on your unique profile, including your academic, student life, budget, and diversity preferences. Just select your preferences and receive a free interactive report with your top university matches, including a virtual tour of what life will look like at each matched university. Start exploring your future today!

Find out how the university fits your preferences via our Netherlands University Matchmaker

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