Question:

Orientation Year: I am graduating soon. How can I apply for a search year (zoekjaar) visa?

(Last edited: Tuesday, 8 June 2021, 10:59 AM)
Answer:

If you have successfully completed your studies and like to stay in the Netherlands to find a job or start up your own company, you have to apply for the search year (Zoekjaar) visa. Once you have passed your Graduation Assignment (GA) Oral Defence, Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) will start your de-registration process and inform the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) as we are legally bound to do so within 4 weeks from the Oral Defence day.  The procedure to withdraw the permit will be commenced by IND accordingly.  

During this 4-week period, WUAS will prepare and sign your 'Declaration of Study Completion'. You will require this document to apply for your Zoekjaar on the IND site (Alternatively, you can use the copy of your Graduation Diploma if you have received it.)  If you would like this Declaration, please fill out Declaration of Study Completion Form and we will send you this document by e-mail within two weeks after your presentation.  

IND grants the graduates three months to apply for Zoekjaar after graduation date ( i.e. Oral Defence date for WUAS students). If the Zoekjaar Application is not received by the IND within three months, then you will face a residence gap.  

Two exceptions should be considered in this regard to avoid the residence gap: 

  1. Please make sure your study residence permit valid is within those 3 months. If not, please apply for a Zoekjaar before your current residence permit expires.  

  1. If you want to work more than 16 hours soon after you graduate then you must change your visa type to Zoekjaar as soon as possible. 

More information and the application procedures can be found at:  

FAQ about the topic on IND’s website can be found at https://ind.nl/en/Documents/FAQ_orientation_year_highly_educated_persons.pdf  

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