Doing an internship
The question to answer first is whether the internship would be part of a study programme in Holland or a study programme abroad.
This will determine whether you need a work permit, the type of residence permit you need, the maximum internship remuneration that you can receive tax-free and whether social security contributions need to be deducted.
For more information on either of these scenarios see further down this page.
Getting work experience after your studies
Once you have received your diploma, you can apply for an Orientation Year permit. During this year, you are allowed to do an internship and have a paid or voluntary job.
Internship as part of a programme in Holland
If you want to do an internship as part of your study programme in Holland, you can do this on the basis of your student visa.
The employer does not need to apply for a work permit for you. The employer must, however, be able to present an internship agreement to the Labour Inspectorate, upon request.
You are legally obliged to sign an internship agreement with your higher education institution and internship employer. We strongly advise you to use the standard internship agreement for non-EU-EEA students drawn up by Nuffic in consultation with the Dutch government.
You are resident in Holland on the basis of a residence permit for the purpose of ‘study’. This residence permit remains valid while you are doing your internship. In other words, you do not need to apply for another residence permit.
Please note that you are only allowed to do an internship if you actually possess a pass-format residence permit. If your application for a residence permit or an extension of your residence permit is still being processed, you cannot begin the internship.
There are no rules about the salaries paid to interns or about how high internship pay should be. This is between you and the internship provider. If you get paid a salary for your internship, it does have consequences for your liability to pay tax, your social security status and your obligation to have health insurance.
As long as your pay is only a compensation for expenses, it will not be subject to taxation. Expenses include, for example, travel expenses. If any other form of payment is made, the internship provider must pay tax and social security contributions.
You might be obliged to take out Dutch public health insurance if you are doing a paid internship. Therefore, it is important to contact the SVB to request an investigation of your insurance situation under the Wlz scheme (free of charge).
How do you find an internship?
There are several ways to find an internship. A very common method is through your university. Almost all universities have a dedicated desk where they can give you access to their database of internship opportunities.
Internship as part of a programme abroad
If you are enrolled in a study programme abroad, you can do an internship in Holland, but there are some rules.
If your internship period will be 90 days or less than 90 days, the internship employer will first have to apply for a work permit for you (in Dutch: Tewerkstellingsvergunning, or TWV).
You do not need a TWV if:
- you are an EU/EEC national;
- you are a Swiss national;
- you are working within the framework of a European Union action programme. (An example would be an Erasmus internship within the Lifelong Learning Programme.)
UWV is the governmental organisation responsible for issuing TWVs. Although getting a TWV is strictly a formality, the application process can take up to around 5 weeks. Your internship employer can apply for a TWV at UWV.
Depending on your nationality you need to have residence permit or not. If you stay a period of maximum 90 days you might need a Short Stay Visa. You can check this at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
If your internship will last more than 90 days, you might need a residence permit. This procedure is called the Single Permit (in Dutch GVVA), a combined procedure for both a residence permit as well as a work permit.
Please note: If you are an EU/EEC national, you do not need a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands.
Interns usually get some form of payment. If you are staying in Holland for less than 6 months and you are spending at least 50% of that time on the internship, then your internship provider or employer can pay you tax-free.
However, if you are staying for longer than 6 months, your employer will usually have to pay tax over a large share of your salary. In that case, you are automatically covered by Dutch social security. You must then also take out Dutch public healthcare insurance.