Orientation year

Knowledge and talent is welcome in the Netherlands to strengthen our competitive position and knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the Dutch government decided to improve the already existing orientation year scheme (also known as Search Year). As of the 1st of March 2016, new rules will apply regarding this residence permit, facilitating a career start for international talent in the Netherlands.

Attracting and retaining international talent: the improved orientation year

The two old types of Orientation Year permits have been merged into one.

Main changes:

1)      All candidates will have three years after graduation or finishing research to apply for the permit.

2)      A work permit is no longer required for any job during the orientation year.

3)      There is no longer a point rate system for graduates from abroad.

4)      The eligibility is enlarged:

  1. the target group for Orientation Year has been made broader;
  2. there are multiple routes to get to the Orientation Year; after finishing a new study, job or research project, you meet the requirements for a new orientation year visa once again.

Conditions & application procedure

If you are in the Netherlands, you can submit the application with the IND. For more detailed information and the application form, go to the IND’s website. You can collect the permit from the IND or an Expat center. If the applicant is living abroad, and needs an entry visa, the application can be submitted at the Dutch embassy or consulate.

For all information regarding the application procedure and conditions, please consult www.ind.nl or send an e-mail to hemse@ind.minvenj.nl.


For questions, please read the FAQ that has been developed in cooperation with the IND and published on their website. Click here to read it.

Use our Pathfinder application for your exact information

The exact information on all rules and regulations that apply to your situation can be found in the Pathfinder application on this website.

Please click on the following link for more information on:



If you have any further questions, please  contact EP-Nuffic’s Holland Alumni network team (alumni@epnuffic.nl).

last modified Jan 05, 2017 11:31 AM
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