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Study Law in Netherlands 2024

Study in Netherlands

The Dutch Law Degree

Studying law in the Netherlands requires a commitment of time, but the benefit of being able to earn a law degree in a country that follows a civil law approach and is known as the legal center of Europe makes the course of study worthwhile. Earning a law degree in the Netherlands begins with an undergraduate law degree (bachelor of law or LLB), which requires three years of study, followed by a master of law degree (LLM), which requires one year of study.

Learning a Law Degree in the Netherlands

Legal study takes place at law schools, most of which are connected to major universities in the Netherlands. International students can apply to an International Law program, which focuses its education both on the legal field and also on the unique educational needs of international students who may not be fully informed about the Dutch civil law perspective.

The Dutch academic year begins on the first of September and runs through the 31 of August the following year, with 42 weeks of study. The model is based on the European Credit Transfer System and is easily comparable to the other European legal programs.

To be accepted into an international law school program in the Netherlands, you must be able to speak and write English well. Apply to the school of your choice, and use your acceptance letter to apply for your student visa. This grants you a preparatory year to use to prepare for your studies, so you can find work, if needed, locate a place to live and complete any necessary training for entrance into the program.

Studying law in the Netherlands provides an excellent foundation for practicing around the globe. Law professors in the Netherlands are recognized internationally for their understanding of civil law, and this means greater job prospects for international students. Students who wish to stay in the Netherlands will find ample job opportunities. Many major corporations come to the Netherlands to have their disputes settled. A degree from the Netherlands makes practicing law in other civil law countries easier because of the excellent reputation of these law programs.

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer


About Netherlands

With Belgium to its south, Germany to the east and the North Sea to the north, the Netherlands is a northwestern Europe country made up of twelve provinces and three Caribbean islands. Known for its windmills, tulips and happy residents, the country is famous for its dikes -- about one-fifth of the land in the Netherlands is below sea level and the extensive dike system keeps flooding at bay. Leading industries include shipping, fishing, trade and banking. Notable Dutch artists include Vincent van Gogh and M.C. Escher. The Netherlands is also known as the World's Legal Capital, as The Hague is host to the International Criminal Court and several other international courts and tribunals including Europol and Eurojust.

The Legal System in the Netherlands

The Netherlands follow a civil law format based on the French Civil Code with some influences from traditional Dutch law and Roman Law. In 1992, the country put civil law books in place that outline its legal code, and that has helped the country grow into a leader in the legal world. The Dutch Parliament is the main law-making body in the system.

Visa Requirements

MVV (Provisional Residence Permit) – an entry visa.

VVR (Residence permit) - if you plan to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, additional to your entry visa, you will also have to apply for Residence Permit (VVR) – an ID card that stands as a study visa.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

MVV (Provisional Residence Permit); VVR (Residence permit)

Price and currency

EUR 311

It currently costs a non-refundable fee of EUR 311 to process an application for an MVV and residence permit for the purpose of studying in the Netherlands. The fees are reviewed twice yearly, and are subject to change mid-year.

Who can apply for the visa?

If you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA member state or Switzerland, you don’t need a student visa or residence permit to stay in the Netherlands.

Non-EU, EEA or Swiss nationals need a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days – for a shorter period, you only require a tourist visa. There are two documents you need. In most cases, you will need a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV) to travel to the Netherlands. In addition, you will need a residence permit (VVR) in order to stay in the country.

Citizens of a few countries or people in certain circumstances are exempt from having to apply for a VVR.

You can read more about this here:

Where can you make the application?

education institution

The education institution must apply on your behalf so you need to contact them for details of the procedure. If not, ask for help by contacting the international office (or if you are a researcher, the HR department) of your host institution.


How to make the application?

The visa application procedure is initiated by the university as soon as the student is officially admitted to the study program.

Documents required for the visa application are listed in the letter sent by the university to prospective students. Usually, the following documents are needed:

  • a copy of the first page (identity page) of a valid passport;
  • proof that you can support yourself financially;
  • additional passport-sized photos (size: 35mm x 45mm, see IND requirements in.pdf);
  • proof of tuition fees and visa application payments;
  • proof of accommodation arranged for at least 1 academic year (10 months);
  • for Chinese students, a NESO certificate may be necessary.

Valid proof of a candidate’s financial self-sufficiency can be demonstrated as follows:

  • A letter from the host Dutch institution that mentions your internship fee or trainee stipend.
  • An admission letter from the Dutch university providing details of your student grant, tuition waiver, or scholarship.
  • Your bank account statement with an international bank, indicating enough funds to pay for your proposed expenses in The Netherlands.

When should you apply?

The processing time for your student visa application to the Netherlands is usually one month, although sometimes it can take up to 3 months.

The residence permit is issued for the duration of a student’s study program plus 3 months, up to a maximum of 5 years. If the student wishes to complete a preparatory course, its duration will be added to the visa duration. If the length of the education will take more than 5 years, the residence permit can be extended by one additional year.

There is another condition attached to the validity of VVR. It stays valid provided the student scores 50% of credit throughout the course duration.

Graduates of higher education or university studies (bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D. degrees) can apply for an orientation year for graduates' permit within three years of graduating. This gives you one year to look for employment, during which time you can work without any restrictions or the need for an employer to hold a work permit for you.

Processing time

1 Month

Work opportunities

All international students are permitted to work alongside their studies.

For non-EU and non-EEA students, a work permit is required to work. This permit has to be obtained by the prospective employer on your behalf. Even with this work permit, students can work only for a limited number of hours, i.e. 10 hours a week. They are allowed to work full-time during the months of June, July, and August.

Students from the EU, EEA (except Croatia), and Switzerland do not require a work permit.

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

Your visa application may be rejected if you are not able to show proof of the required funds, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete documents.