Member access

Knowledge and talent is welcome in the Netherlands to strengthen our competitive position and knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the Dutch government has decided to improve the orientation year scheme (also known as Search Year).

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 or send an e-mail to

Conditions to apply for the Orientation Year:

1) You have:
a. completed at least one of the following study programmes in the Netherlands; Bachelor, Master or Postdoctoral programme of minimally 10 months; or
b. completed a programme in relation to the Cultural Policy Act, or provided in relation to the development cooperation policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or a higher education programme designated by Ministerial Decree or obtained a Master's degree in the context of an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course; or
c. done scientific research in the Netherlands, including PhD. You have had a residence permit for the purpose of scientific research within the meaning of EU Directive 2005/71/EC in the Netherlands or have had a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant to undertake scientific research in the Netherlands; or
d. completed a Master's or postdoctoral programme or obtained a PhD at a designated international educational institution abroad* and you meet the stipulated language requirements.

2)      You have three years after graduation or finishing research to apply for the permit.
*A designated international educational institutions 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 subject field - that correspond with your field of study or research field- of the:

Other conditions may apply for Turkish nationals and their family members.
N.B. Under the Orientation Year scheme NO work permit is required for working, neither for a job nor for setting up your own company.

If you have any questions, please read the
FAQ, developed in cooperation with the IND or watch the webinar below that was organised by the IND and Nuffic on 10-7-18.  

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

More information