Working holiday exchange program with Canada

You are an Canadian citizen and you would like to spend some time (maximum one year) in the Netherlands in the framework of the Working Holiday Program. No need for an entry-visa: just make an appointment to apply for the residence permit under the Working Holiday Program at one of the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation offices (IND).

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 Program you will first need the WHP residence permit, which allows you to also work. Visit the IND website for information,instuctions and forms.

To qualify you need  to meet the following requirements:

  • Be over 18, but not older than 30 years of age;
  • Show proof that you either have a ticket for your return flight or have enough money to pay for your return flight;
  • Sign the ‘antecedents certificate’, which you will get at the IND desk;
  • Have a contact address in the Netherlands, where the IND can contact you and send correspondence. 

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 regular 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.  Be aware that you may only work for 12 consecutive weeks for the same employer.

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. Make sure you appkly well in advance. 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;

Transfer the fee to the bank account of the IND (international transfer);

Complete a form, supplied to you 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. Assessment can take up to 3 months.

After approval of the application you will receive information from the embassy/consulate that your application has been approved and a mvv-sticker (provisional residence permit) will be put in. It might take up to 10 working days before you get your passport back with the mvv-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.

How to apply when you are still in Canada?

Apply in person at our Embassy in Ottawa or the consulate-general in Toronto or Vancouver.  Book an appointment through our online appointment system.

Bring the following:

Completed application form 

Your valid passport;

Two passport photographs: 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.);

If you want the passport to be sent to you, follow our mailing instructions.

Health Insurance

Every person who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, hospital treatment and prescription medication

Birth Certificate

You may be required to submit a legalized long-form birth certificate. Find more information on how to legalize Canadian documents for use in the Netherlands.