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Dutch Orientation Year Visa (Zoekjaar Visa)

College Friends

What is the Dutch Orientation Year Visa for Highly Educated Persons?

The Netherlands considers it VERY important that highly skilled migrants have the time they need to find a job or start their own company in the Netherlands after completing their studies. Therefore, highly educated persons can apply for a Netherlands visa valid for one year, the so-called ‘Orientation year highly educated persons’ residence permit. It is also know as the 'zoekjaar visa' or 'search year visa'. They can apply for this residence permit within 3 years after completing their study, or obtaining their PhD in the Netherlands or abroad. As a holder of a residence permit ‘Orientation year for highly educated persons’, you are allowed to work in the Netherlands without any restrictions. This is also referred to as a “Residence permit for orientation year”.

Who is eligible for this visa?

To be eligible for the Dutch Orientation Year Visa for Highly Educated Persons or zoekjaar visa, you must have completed a master’s or post-master’s programme or obtained a PhD at a top 200 university as determined by the general rankings below:


You must have completed a master’s, post-master’s or doctoral programme in the English or Dutch language or meet minimum score of English Language Tests.

The application has to be received – by post, online, or at a Dutch representation abroad – within 3 years after your graduation date.

​There are certain conditions that apply to everyone. Check for updates and the official conditions on the IND website.

How can I apply for this visa?

If you are eligible to move to the Netherlands using the Dutch Orientation Year Visa, you might still have questions about how to actually do it. You can start applying here on the official IND website.


At Overseasy, we offer one-on-one support from start to finish. We will help you prepare for the application process, and remain there to answer all of your questions from finding housing, scheduling appointments, and booking your flight.


Orientation Year
Visa Coaching

Did you know that master’s degree graduates from the top 200 internationally ranked institutions have the option to start their career in the Netherlands? The Dutch Orientation year (zoekjaar) visa is the best way for individuals to begin the journey of life abroad—and we can help. Through expert coaches, comprehensive programs and workshops, we guide and help individuals so that their immersion into Dutch society is a seamless as possible. 

The Dutch American Friendship Treaty allows US Entrepreneurs and Freelancers to acquire residency in The Netherlands. Upon acceptance, this visa You are allows you to stay in the Netherlands for two years with the option to renew for more 5 years. Through our DAFT coaching program you can expect guidance from start to finish in your application and expat journey.

First Month

The first month abroad will set the tone for the months and years to come, so it’s crucial that your experience begins on a positive, stress-free note. We have carefully curated programs designed to support creating connections within the local community by providing a network, career workshops and interviewing skills. 

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DAFT Visa Coaching

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