Work Permit

Whether you need a work permit (TWV) in order to hold a part-time job during your studies depends on your nationality. If you are a student from Switzerland or the EU/EEA (except for Croatia), you do not need a work permit and have no restriction on the number of hours that you are allowed to work. In order to prevent an employer from exploiting you and letting you work overtime during studies, we recommend you to limit your working hours to 10 a week and do full-time employment only during the summer months June, July, and August.

If you are a student from any other country, you will need a work permit (so Croatians too, although your work regulations depend on the status of the labour market). It is up to your employer to apply for your work permit (TWV) from the UWV WERKbedrijf, you cannot do this yourself. However, some employers might not be aware of the rules involved and hence be wary about applying for your work permit. Feel free to contact us about how you can best ease your employer’s mind about this process. Then, if all goes well, it will take about 5 weeks for the application to be processed. Finally, keep in mind that the Dutch law restricts the number of hours that you are allowed to work: you may either do seasonal work full-time (but only in June, July and August) or you may work part-time throughout the rest of the year (but no more than 10 hours a week); you may not do both.


If you are an EU citizen, there are only a few requirements to start working in the Netherlands:

  • Insurance: if you want to work in the Netherlands, you need Dutch health insurance. If you are only studying, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is sufficient.
  • BSN (Burgerservicenummer): A BSN is a unique number provided to each citizen of the Netherlands. You have to obtain one the moment you start studying in the Netherlands.

Non-EU Citizens

If you are not an EU or Swiss citizen, you need a bit more in order to be eligible to start working in the Netherlands:

  • BSN (Burgerservicenummer): A BSN is a unique number provided to each citizen of the Netherlands. You have to obtain one the moment you start studying in the Netherlands.
  • Residence Permit with Authorization: If you have completed your studies, you will need a new residence permit. This will either be a permit for highly skilled migrants or a residence permit to find a job (zoekjaar, see next point) if you do not have a job yet but would like some time to find one.

Zoekjaar (Search Year): A “zoekjaar” is a period that you are granted after completing your studies to look for work in the Netherlands or explore other educational opportunities. You need to apply for this yourself and it costs €285. You can only apply for the zoekjaar once per study or research project, so if you do multiple ones, you can apply for a zoekjaar every time you finish one. Keep in mind that you must apply for a zoekjaar within three years of getting your degree in the Netherlands. Read our Zoekjaar Visa Guide for more information.

  • Work permit: To get a work permit, you need to be employed by a company that is recognized by the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Netherlands). This company will then apply for a working permit for you, so you cannot do this yourself.

Healthcare insurance and healthcare allowance

The Dutch public healthcare insurance is called the “basiszorgverzekering.” The Dutch law mandates everyone in the Netherlands with a resident or employee status to have Dutch health insurance. However, students who are in the Netherlands solely for study purposes are exempt from this general requirement.

The moment you start a job, however, you will immediately have to get Dutch public healthcare insurance, because now you are no longer just a student but also an employee. This applies no matter how many hours you work per week. This rule also applies to EU citizens who are covered by an EU Health Insurance Card. However, if you intend to work on and off, make sure to choose an insurance company that allows you to switch between private and public healthcare insurance because legally you are not allowed to have Dutch public health insurance the moment you are only studying. Once you have a health insurance, you may be eligible for healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag), so make sure to follow that hyperlink to see if you can get it.