After getting my internship offer, one of my major hurdles was figuring out how to work in the Netherlands. While I have a residence permit that lets me live and work in Germany, unfortunately that doesn’t extend to the rest of the EU countries.
Luckily as a Canadian and under 30 years old, you can get a Holiday Working Visa to live and work in the Netherlands for up to a year. I had gotten one for Australia when I went there in 2010 (I still can’t believe that was 5 years ago!) and the process to apply and get the actual visa was so easy and quick – i think it took less than 24 hours!
While the Dutch one was easy enough to get, figuring out exactly how to apply for this visa was hard to find! For one thing, they don’t offer an online application like they do in Australia. Instead, there is a paper application you can send in or you would have to apply directly from one of their IND offices in the Netherlands. I found the information online about the procedure a bit confusing, so if any of you guys are interested in applying for one, here are my steps of how to do so!
Since I was in Germany at the time, I contacted the Dutch embassy there and they recommend that I go directly to the IND office in the Netherlands. This is the easiest and fastest way as a paper application could take longer than a month, which was all I had to get this visa.
1. Book an appointment over the phone
Before going to the Netherlands to hand in my application, I had to book an appointment with the IND office over the phone. While there’s several IND offices in the Netherlands, appointments are done through one central number, which is: 088-0430430. It’s best to call early in the morning because some of the times I’ve called, I had to wait 30-40 mins before someone answered.
Some people have also recommended going to a smaller IND office such as the one in Zwolle as it’s faster to get an appointment there. However, I think I called and booked an appointment for the Amsterdam office about 1.5 weeks in advance, and didn’t have any problems!
Since I don’t think getting a Holiday Working Visa is all that common in the Netherlands, I also found it useful to call the IND office a few times and talk to different representatives about the application process.
For example, there’s an application fee you have to pay, and every time I called, I had gotten told that I would have to pay varying amount of money ranging from around 40-60 euros.
Another example is the requirement of having a Dutch mailing address. One person told me that I could even use the address of a hostel I was staying at for the application, while another said that it has to be an actual apartment and that I would also need the registration contract of my friend’s apartment if I decided to use her address.
Another time I called, the guy told me that all the booking systems were down and that they couldn’t book appointments for two weeks. I called back the next day and someone else helped me book an appointment without any problems.
2. Fill out the application form along with the necessary documents
This can be found online here:
The form itself is pretty self explanatory. With the application, you also need photocopies of your passport (including all the pages in your passport that have been stamped) and a recent bank statement proving that you have enough money for a return flight home (although I asked a few different people and no one really knew the minimum they required you to have).
Remember to also bring cash with you to pay the application fee (I think it was 57 euros).
3. Visit the IND office
I was told that once I’ve booked an appointment and have the completed application form, when I hand in my form, I’ll get a sticker on my passport that will allow me to work in the Netherlands on the same day. The sticker is temporary though as it takes another 2-3 weeks for the IND office to decide whether to grant me a residence permit.
I always thought this part of the process as a bit strange and worrying. What if, for whatever reason, I don’t get my Holiday Working Visa approved? Since I was coming from Germany to the Netherlands, it’s not that hard to get there, but what about those people coming to the Netherlands from Australia or New Zealand? It must be horrible to come, not get approved and then have to go home.
Luckily the visit to the IND office was pretty straight-forward and I was greeted by a friendly guy eating a sandwich (Dutch people are very laid back) who explained that unless you can’t prove that you have enough funds or you have some sort of criminal record, you will definitely be approved.
And that’s that!
The journey back home
I had taken a bus from Munich to Amsterdam since it was pretty last minute and that was the cheapest option. On the way back to Germany though, our bus got pulled over twice by cops searching for drugs. I have to admit, in the midst of my internship excitement and my application form/IND visit, since I didn’t visit the Red Light District on this trip, t had totally forgot about the whole ease of buying “things that would otherwise be illegal in other countries that comes with visiting Amsterdam so when the police started pulling random suspects from the bus to search them, I was surprised at their dedication.
What did they expect to find from a bus full of people? Oh right, we are coming from the drug capital of Europe!
Even weirder was the fact that these cops didn’t stop our bus at the German border but near Stuttgart. The first cops didn’t arrest anyone and let our bus drive on, but an hour later, we got pulled over again and this time, these cops were determined to catch someone. They pulled their suspects from the bus and had dogs sniff through all their luggage. There were even drug discovering techniques conducted like wiping the suspects’ hands with a brush (I saw all of this because naturally I had my face practically pressed against the window out of curiosity)
Their intent on catching someone from our bus made me wonder if they had already been tipped off about drug dealers on our bus and it was all a matter of figuring out who it was?
In the end, two Serbian guys were taken into police custody and the bus happily drove on and arrived in Munich two hours later than planned.