Working holiday exchange programme with Australia

You are an Australian citizen and you would like to spend some time (maximum one year) in the Netherlands in the framework of the Working Holiday Scheme/Program.

Australia and the Netherlands share a long history and the Working Holiday Program (WHP) is a great way to celebrate this friendship. Young Australians may use this exchange program to work in the Netherlands without the need for a work permit!

Traveling and working abroad is a great way to:

  • See a new country
  • Immerse yourself in another culture
  • Learn or perfect another language
  • Meet new people
  • Gain unique international experience

Apply today and come live and work in the Netherlands for up to a year.

What is the procedure?

You travel to the Netherlands. You don’t need a visa to enter the Netherlands. If you want to work or study in the framework of the Working Holiday Scheme/Program you will need a residence permit, otherwise you will not be allowed to work without a work permit. Within 3 working days of your arrival you need to contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (the IND) for an appointment to apply for a residence permit. The fee for this residence permit is € 51,00, which has to be paid at the time of the application.

To qualify you will have to meet to following requirements:

  • You must be over 18, but not older than 30 years of age;
  • You must show proof that you either have a ticket for your return flight or have enough money to pay for your return flight;
  • You must be willing to sign the ‘antecedents certificate’, which you will get at the IND desk;
  • You must have a contact address in the Netherlands, where the IND can contact you.

Upon receipt of these documents the IND will put a sticker in your passport stating that you have applied for your residence permit and that you are allowed to work without a work permit. At the IND desk a photograph, signature and fingerprints will be taken for your residence permit. It will take the IND a few weeks to assess your application. The IND will inform you by mail where you can collect your residence permit. If you meet the abovementioned requirements the chance that you will not be granted a residence permit is negligible.

This is by far the quickest and easiest procedure. You can travel to the Netherlands as soon as you would like and you can start whatever you want to do there as soon as you have visited the IND. 

An alternative procedure: how to apply for a residence permit while still abroad and wait for the outcome

If you so desire, you can also apply for a residence permit for the Netherlands while you are still abroad. This is a more complex and time consuming procedure. Application must be done in person in the country of origin of permanent residence .

  • The embassy / consulate-general will forward your application to the IND in the Netherlands;
  • You will have to transfer the fee of € 51,00 to the bank account of the IND in the Netherlands (international transfer);
  • You will have to complete a form, supplied by the embassy/consulate-general, and send this to the IND in the Netherlands, together with a copy of certain pages of your passport, passport size photograph (with specific requirements), your signature, a completed and signed ‘antecedents certificate’ as well as copy of your ticket or proof that you have enough financial means to buy a return ticket;
  • Only after receipt of these documents and the fee, will the IND assess your application;
  • After approval of the application you will receive information from the Netherlands embassy/consulate that they will need to your passport for a mvv-sticker (provisional residence permit). It might take up to 10 working days before you get your passport back with this sticker;
  • When you arrive in the Netherlands you can go to one of the IND Desks to collect you residence permit, which in principal should be ready for you. It might not be ready though, if the photograph you sent did not meet the required specifications.

As you can see this is a more time consuming procedure and doesn’t really offer more advantages in comparison to the first procedure. Therefore it is advisable to apply for your residence permit after arrival in the Netherlands.

Lodgement of your application in Australia

Your application should be lodged in person at the consulate-general in Sydney. An appointment must be booked through our online appointment system.

Please lodge your application at least 9 weeks prior to your date of departure, together with the following documents:

  • Application form (can be found on the IND website), completed but not dated and signed;
  • Your valid passport;
  • Two passport photographs: Please note: the passport photo must be 35 x 45 mm (width & height) and the size of head: width: from start of ear to start of other ear : min. 16mm - max. 20 mm, height from chin to crown: min. 26mm - max. 30mm
  • Photocopy of airline ticket or confirmed itinerary;
  • Second photo i.d. (driver’s licence or other i.d.);
  • Self-addressed registered envelope or express envelope with sticker “signature required on delivery” (other envelopes are not acceptable), if you want the passport to be send to you.

Medical insurance

The Netherlands has signed a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. If you live in Australia and you are insured with Medicare, you are entitled to (a reimbursement of costs resulting from) emergency medical care while staying (not working) in the Netherlands. A certificate of eligibility needs to be obtained to enable free access to the public health care system. This can be done before leaving Australia or following arrival in the Netherlands. This certificate entitles you to the reimbursement of medical expenses for emergency medical care only. You need to forward this certificate, a copy of your passport and a copy of your Medicare card to Agis Zorgverzekeringen (the address of Agis Zorgverzekeringen and more general information about traveling overseas and medical insurance can be found on the website of Medicare).

When working in the Netherlands you need a Dutch medical insurance. You can apply for a Dutch medical insurance after receiving a BSN-number (Tax File nummer). We do advise you however, to take out travel insurance covering you for a minimum of €30.000 for emergency medical expenses and repatriation.

Birth certificate

In order to lodge your application for a residence permit in the Netherlands, you are required to provide a legalised original version of your birth certificate. If you were born in Australia, your original certificate must be legalised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia. The legalisation is done by means of an Apostille stamp on the reverse of the certificate. This legalisation must not be more than six months old at the time of application in The Netherlands. If you were not born in Australia please contact the consulate-general in Sydney for further requirements regarding legalisation of the certificates.

To apply for your birth certificate, please contact the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.