Your student visa is about to expire in less than 2 month time. If you did not obtain 30 ECTS credits last academic year, your university or hogeschool is obliged to inform the IND.

On 1 June 2013, the Modern Immigration Policy Act came into force. On the basis of this Act, universities and hogescholen have certain duties in relation to the IND. One of these duties is that, when a student does not achieve at least 30 ECTS credits (50% of the study load) in an academic year, the university must report this student to the IND. Upon receipt of this notification, the IND shall start a revocation procedure (“intrekking” in Dutch). If the remaining length of this student permit is shorter than 3 months, the IND will not revoke the student permit. However, without a university acting as your recognised sponsor, the IND will refuse to renew your current student permit.

The minimum number of credits that a foreign student needs to achieve

Most Dutch universities and hogescholen signed the International Students Code of Conduct (“Gedragscode internationale studenten hoger onderwijs”). According to this Code of Conduct, each year, an international student must successfully complete at least 50% of the nominal study load of that academic year. Normally, it means at least 30 ECTS credits out of 60 ECTS credits. If you are following a Pre-Master or preparatory programme, then you ought to achieve all the credits of that programme. If one fails to achieve this required minimum number of credits, the university shall conduct a research into the cause of the study delay. If there are no special reasons or calamities, the university must report the student to the IND within one month.

What should you do if you fail to obtain at least 30 ECTS?

If you did not manage to achieve 30 ECTS (or 50% of the yearly study load), you need to reflect on the reason behind your study delay. If you are in one of the following situations, you should contact your study advisor immediately and inform him/her about your situation:

  • Personal sickness
  • Physical or mental disorder;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Special calamities/circumstances in your family;
  • Study delay caused by your function as a leader of a student union or as a student representative at faculty or university level etc.;
  • Other special reasons or circumstances;

However, please be aware that each reason can only be used once. If you had study delay last year due to personal sickness, you cannot use this same reason this year. 

Besides insufficient study progress, is the university obliged to report other issues to the Immigration Department?

Yes, Dutch universities are also obliged to report the following issues to the Immigration Department in a timely manner.

  • Your registration type changes from ‘full time’ to ‘part time’;
  • You terminate your study prematurely;
  • Your study programme is no longer recognised by the government;
  • You are going on a study exchange to a foreign country;
  • You do not have sufficient funds to provide for yourself;

What are the consequences after the university reports a foreign student to the Immigration Department?

If your university reported you to the IND due to insufficient study progress, depending on the remaining length of your student permit, there are two possibilities.  If your permit is still valid for more than three months, the IND will start a revocation procedure. First, the IND will inform you in writing about their intention to revoke your permit. In the same letter, the IND will give you two week time to react. You should submit your written opinion to the IND, in which you should explain your situation and ask the IND not to revoke your permit. Through doing so, you can, at least, gain some extra time. You might also be able to convince the IND that they should not revoke your permit. If the remaining length of your student permit is shorter than 3 months, the IND will not revoke your current student permit. However, without a university being your recognised sponsor, the IND will refuse your further extension application. In both situations, your legal stay will end.

Can I finish my studies after my permit gets revoked or expires?

In practice, if you do not achieve sufficient study progress, the university will not be willing to be your sponsor. However, sometimes, the universities will not end your enrolment (‘inschrijving’). The university will continue allowing you to attend lectures and take exams. However, if you are required to do an internship in the Netherlands, without a valid student permit, companies are not allowed to let you do an internship. This means that it will be very difficult for you to finish your studies.

Are there any other consequences?

After your permit expires or gets revoked, your stay will become illegal. As mentioned above, it will not be possible for you to do an internship in the Netherlands. If you are not from a visa free country, after returning to your home country, you will not be allowed to travel back to the Netherlands.

Is it possible to regain legal residence?

On the basis of the existing jurisprudence and Immigration Policies, after your permit expires, you have a reasonable term of two years to regain legal residence. Nevertheless, this reasonable term does not apply, when you have moved your main residency outside the Netherlands. Therefore, it is of great importance that you should always have a valid address in the BRP system of the City Hall.

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