Students studying in the Netherlands are entitled to study finance. Along with Dutch students, students from other EU countries are also eligible, provided they are working in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, to save costs, DUO is making it difficult for EU students to get the study finance. DUO misinforms students about the requirements by telling students that they are only eligible if they work at least 56 hours each month. This is contrary to European Union law. DUO also puts students through time-consuming proceedings by frequently asking for a lot of different documents and delaying the application process for EU students. Well-informed EU students have not been discouraged and have been winning numerous court cases against DUO the past few years.

The Right to Dutch Student Finance of EU Students Studying in the Netherlands

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Introduction

In the Netherlands, we believe secondary education should be available to everyone who has the capacity to complete it, regardless of social background. Studying should not only be for the children of the rich, such is the overwhelming consensus here. Along with subsidized tuition fees, study finance is the primary driver of affordable studies in the Netherlands. Thanks to the European Union, Dutch study finance is also available for students from other EU countries.

This article delves into the system of Dutch student finance and the rights of EU students. If you are already sufficiently informed and wish to file an application or an objection we advise to use the table of contents to navigate to the end of this article.

History of Dutch Student Finance

In 1918, Europe lay in ruins, its infrastructure and population having been devastated by the First World War and the Spanish Flu. On a continent of people looking for a new way forward, free from the royal and authoritarian elites that had plunged them into the Great War, socialism swept the continent like a tide. Even though socialism took a decisive hold only in eastern Europe, the entire continent saw socialist uprisings. In the Netherlands, socialist influences led to the 48-hour work week, women’s suffrage and gift based student finance. Even though the system was changed from a gift-based system to a loan-based system five years after its introduction, the student finance was destined to stay.

The First Universal Student Finance

Whereas the First World War had left the Netherlands relatively unscathed, the country bore the full brunt of World War II. After the war the Netherlands faced the challenge of rebuilding the country. In this new era of industrialisation and high-end services, this required well-educated personnel. For this reason, the Dutch government introduced an extra grant for parents with children in higher education in 1953.

From 1986 onwards the recipient of this grant was to be the student, rather than the parents. This was meant to make the students more independent from their parents. The size of the grant was related to the income of the students’ parents. This was meant to help those students in particular whose parents could not support them financially in their studies, and who might otherwise not be able to afford higher education.

The Modern System

Because of an ever-growing number of students in higher education, plans were drafted to return to a loan-based system. These changes were implemented per September 2015. Instead of receiving a student grant, students can now take out a student loan from the government at near-zero interest rates. The part of the grant that was reserved for students with low-income parents remains a grant, which does not have to be paid back. Although support for this return to a loan-based system has significantly decreased over the past few years, no new legislation is currently in the making.

The Current System of Dutch Student Finance: What are Students Entitled to?

The current system of Dutch student finance has been laid down in the Dutch Student Finance Act of 2000 (Dutch: Wet studiefinanciering 2000). In the remainder of this article we will refer to this law by its short title: ‘Wsf 2000’.

According to the Wsf 2000, student finance consists of the following elements:

  • Basislening (Basic loan);
  • Aanvullende beurs (Supplementary grant);
  • Collegegeldkrediet (Tuition fee loan);
  • Studentenreisproduct (Student travel product).

The Basic Loan

The basic loan is the part that used to be a gift before 2015, and is currently a zero interest loan. Students can decide whether or not they would like to make use of the basic loan, this is optional. Students that choose to make use of the basic loan can set the amount of the loan that they wish to receive on a monthly basis, up to a maximum of € 494,39 per month. This basic loan has to be paid back after your right to study finance ends.

Repayment starts January 1st of the third year after your right to student finance ends.

Two examples:

  • Jane has decided to stop studying in November 2019. In that year and in the following two years (2020 and 2021) she does not have to start repaying her loan yet. Her obligation to make repayments starts January 1st 2022.
  • John completes his studies in July 2020. In that year and in the following two years (2021 and 2022) he does not have to start repaying his loan yet. His obligation to make repayments start January 1st 2023.

The Supplementary Grant

The Dutch government assumes that there are always three parties that contribute financially to the life and study expenses of a student. The student, his/her parents and the government. In some cases however, the parents have a low income and are therefore less able or unable to provide their studying child with financial support.

These students may benefit from the supplementary grant. This grant is a gift, provided the student completes his/her studies within 10 years from starting. Whether or not the student qualifies for this grant depends on the combined income of his/her parents.

The limits are based on Dutch standards. This roughly means that a combined yearly gross parental income of € 50.000 or less is considered a low income. Students whose parents together earn less than this amount qualify for the supplementary grant. Students from other European countries often benefit greatly from this, as the incomes in these countries are often lower than they are in the Netherlands, which means it is more likely their parents have an income below this threshold. The fact that the cost of living is also lower in these countries is not taken into account.

The amount of the grant depends on the exact income of the parents (the lower the income, the higher the grant). The grant is also higher for students with brothers and sisters. The following figures should give a rough indication:

Combined Parental Yearly Income          Monthly Supplementary Grant

€ 50.000                                               € 50

€ 40.000                                               € 240

€ 30.000                                               € 400

The Tuition Fee Loan

The tuition fee loan is meant specifically for students to be able to cover their tuition fees. The loan always runs exactly to the full amount of the regulated tuition fee. This changes every year. The tuition fee for the 2019-2020 college year is € 2.083. For the 2020-2021 college year it’s € 2.143.

European students are always eligible for this regulated tuition fee. Non-European students often pay the ‘instellingscollegegeld’ (non-regulated tuition fee). These fees run from € 10.000 for the most common studies, to over € 20.000 for studies in medical fields. The tuition fee loan is never more than the regulated tuition fee for that year.

The Student Travel Product

The student travel product was introduced in 1991. This was met with significant resistance from students. Their grants were lowered to make room in the budget for the student travel product. Since many students lived with their parents and close to university, they were going to lose a part of their grant in return for a travel product they did not need.

In addition, it was common practice for students to hitchhike in these times. Universities often had specific locations set up for hitchhikers, somewhat akin to a bus stop. In 1996 there were suggestions to repeal the student travel card and go back to the old system. This again caused protests as now students did not want to go back to the old system anymore.

The current student travel product exists in two versions. The week subscription and the weekend subscription. The week subscription allows students to travel freely at any time, except in weekends (Saturday 4 AM – Monday 4 AM) and during the holidays. The weekend subscription is almost the reverse, allowing travel in the weekends (Friday noon – Monday 4 AM) and holidays.

The student travel product is available for all students, regardless of their parental income and grants free access to second class train, trams and subways, buses and some water transport.

Criteria for Eligibility for Student Finance

Students are eligible if they meet all of the following criteria.

  1. The nationality requirement;
  2. Is at least 18 years of age, but not yet 30 years of age.
  3. The student is a registered student at a Dutch institute for education.

We will discuss these requirements in reverse order.

Secondary Vocational Education (MBO) or Higher Education

Only students registered for studies in secondary vocational education (MBO) or higher education are eligible for student finance. Higher education are studies at an Universiteit (University) or a Hogeschool (University of Applied Sciences). Only students registered for a full time degree are eligible.

A list of the institutes of higher educations that qualify can be found by clicking here. There are other private institutions of higher education in the Netherlands. Students at some of these private institutions are eligible for student finance. If you are registered with one of these private institutions, you may consult with your university to see if you might be eligible.

The Age Requirement set at 18

Children below the age of 18 are not eligible to receive student finance. Their parents receive child support benefits which are meant to cover, among other things, expenses related to the child’s education. As soon as the child turns 18, he or she will be eligible for study finance, provided of course that they also meet the other requirements. The student finance will start the month after the month in which the child turned 18. This means turning 18 on October 3rd will make the student eligible for study finance from November onwards. Students who enroll in higher education are eligible right from the start of their education, even if they have not yet turned 18.

Eligibility for student finance ends when the student turns 30. If the student is already receiving student finance at that point and continues his/her studies without interruptions, the student will retain his/her right to study finance.

The Nationality Requirement

In principle, only students with the Dutch nationality are eligible for Dutch study finance. It is a Dutch social service, paid for with the tax money of Dutch residents. However, under certain circumstances, foreign students can be entitled to equal treatment with Dutch students. When that is the case, these foreign students are equally entitled to Dutch study finance. The most important groups of foreign students that qualify are refugees and students from within the European Union.

Refugees who have been granted a residence permit are eligible for student finance on equal footing with Dutch students. Provided that they are enrolled with a qualified institution for education and meet the age requirement, they will receive the student finance just as Dutch students would.

Refugees who have not (yet) been granted a residence permit (asylum seekers) are allowed to enroll for education in the Netherlands, but generally do not qualify for study finance. There are several private initiatives, such as the Stichting voor Vluchteling-Studenten (The Foundation for Refugee-Students, click here to visit their website), that support refugees and asylum seekers who are looking to study in the Netherlands.

Information DUO Provides about the Nationality Criterium for EU Students

As the Dutch government agency in charge of study finance, you would think DUO is specialized in paying study finance. However, when it comes to EU students, DUO is specialized in not paying study finance. Here is how DUO makes life difficult for European students.

DUO provides the following information for EU students on its website:

You qualify for student finance if you meet 1 of the following requirements:

    • You have been living in the Netherlands for 5 consecutive years or more.
    • You have come to the Netherlands to work, for 56 hours a month or more.
    • Your non-Dutch parent or partner has the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and works, or has worked, in the Netherlands for at least 56 hours a month.

DUO asks students to provide them with the following proof:

Working in the Netherlands with a permanent, fixed-term (temporary) or stand-by contract

If you have an employment contract yourself:

    • employment contract + most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • ID card

If your Non-Dutch parent has an employment contract:

    • employment contract + most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • your ID card + your parent’s ID card
    • your birth certificate

If your Non-Dutch partner has an employment contract:

    • employment contract + most recent payslip and matching bank statement
    • your ID card + your partner’s ID card
    • your marriage or civil partnership certificate

Check hours worked

DUO checks regularly if you, your parent or partner worked for at least 56 hours a month.

Most European students in the Netherlands fall within the second category: they are employed in the Netherlands themselves. Because of their time-consuming studies, students mostly choose part-time jobs. Since most students do not have any previous degrees, they mostly work low-end jobs in retail or in catering and hospitality services. Unfortunately, with current labor market pressures, these contracts are increasingly uncertain. Many employers are offering only limited time contracts, with flexible working hours.

This makes it increasingly difficult for students to meet the 56-hour criterium set by DUO. DUO is keenly aware of this and actively pursues all European students after they have received student finance, for proof of meeting the 56 hour criterium every single month.

Any student reading this article will be relieved from this burden of the 56-hour criterium once and for all, as they will learn that legally speaking, it does not exist.

Why the 56 Hour Criterium is a Lie: Equal Treatment under European Law

European students who work in the Netherlands are entitled to equal treatment. This is not because DUO or the Dutch government is so nice and generous to European students. Quite the contrary: European students are entitled to equal treatment under European law and DUO is doing everything in its power to prevent European students from exercising this right.

Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of The European Union: Equal Treatment for Workers

The European Union was originally a peace project, not an economic project. The Union was meant to make the countries of the Union more interconnected and more interdependent. The idea was that increased cooperation would foster greater mutual understanding, and increased economic ties would make countries more dependent upon one another. If your economy depends on trade with your neighbour, you are much less likely to go to war with that neighbour.

Economic integration was therefore a means to an end. The aim was to create a lasting peace on the continent. Economic integration was one of the tools used to realize it. Over the years, the economic integration has become very deep. Virtually all direct and indirect trade barriers have been removed. To understand the magnitude of this achievement one has only to look at trade barriers outside of the EU. In India, for example, tariffs on the import and export of goods exist between Indian states. The European Union is more economically integrated than India!

One element to the economic integration is the free movement of persons. Just as goods should be able to be imported and exported across borders without extra costs, so persons should be able to find employment in another country, without any disadvantages arising from the fact that they have a different nationality. Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union specifies:

  • Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Union.
  • Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.

In short, this article guarantees that workers within the European Union will be treated equally, regardless of their nationality. This also means that all workers are entitled to the same benefits and social services, regardless of their nationality. So what does it take to qualify as a worker, and enjoy the protection of the treaty? The European Court of Justice has ruled many times that there are three criteria for this:

  1. The worker has to perform effective and genuine activities (that means: perform real work);
  2. Under the supervision of another (this means with an employer, so not self-employed);
  3. In exchange for remuneration (a salary).

The court has further clarified that:

  • An on-call contract (oproepcontract) is also enough to qualify (link to judgment, see points 10 and 11);
  • A part-time contract with a low salary is also enough to qualify (link to judgment, see points 15 and 16);
  • A salary that is insufficient to pay for all of life’s expenses is still enough to qualify (link to judgment, see point 18);
  • That there is no minimum amount of hours. A cleaning lady who worked 24 hours a month also qualified (link to judgment, see points 26 and 27)

From these judgments it is obvious that students who are employed in the Netherlands qualify for study finance, even if they have an on-call contract for a limited amount of time and do not make enough money to pay for all of life’s expenses.

Nevertheless, the biggest group of EU students that work in the Netherlands decide never to apply for the study finance at all. These students read the information provided by DUO and see that they have to work at least 56 hours per month. A lot of students cannot meet this requirement because of their part-time or irregular hour contracts and decide not to apply, because they believe that they do not work enough hours to be eligible for the study finance.

So if the European Court of Justice has ruled that there is no minimum hour requirement, where does the 56 hour criterium come from?

The Dutch Government and the 56 Hour Requirement

The Dutch minister of education has set rules for granting study finance to EU students (click here to read, Dutch only.). These rules are in conformity with EU law, but they contain one line that is ambiguous and unclear:

DUO gaat ervan uit dat iedere studerende die over de controleperiode 56 uur of meer gemiddeld per maand heeft gewerkt, zonder meer de status van migrerend werknemer heeft en daarmee terecht studiefinanciering heeft ontvangen over het gecontroleerde studiefinancieringstijdvak.

This line says that when determining whether and EU student is a worker or not, DUO will automatically assume that anyone who works at least 56 hours a month is a worker. The rules do not specify what happens when a student works less than 56 hours a month. It is standard DUO practice to reject the applications of students who work less than this threshold, but this is not correct.

The rules only say that someone who works at least 56 hours a month is automatically considered a worker. This means these students do not have to file further proof for the three criteria mentioned above (effective and genuine activities, under the supervision of another, in exchange for salary). Therefore, the rules only mean to say that when a student works less than 56 hours a month, that student must provide the necessary proof for these three criteria. It does not mean they do not qualify!

Why DUO is Misinforming EU Students

DUO is abusing this ambiguity in the rules to reject many applications unfairly. The reasons for this are purely financial. In 2019, 63.600 European students were studying in the Netherlands. The average study finance grant (including travel product) costs DUO roughly a € 1.080 per month, of which on average around € 400 is a gift. For European students on average a larger portion is a gift, because on average their parents have lower incomes so these students qualify for the supplementary grant more often.

Even when just counting the average gift component of the student finance (€ 400 a month consisting of a partial supplementary grant and the student travel product), the entire costs of student finance for EU students amount to roughly € 305 million euros every year. Needless to say, DUO has a big interest in keeping the costs low by rejecting as many of the applications as possible.

The policy works, because EU students rarely file a complaint or an appeal with DUO or with the court. International students believe what DUO tells them, and they have limited access to information on this topic that is not written in Dutch, let alone legal assistance.

Well-Informed EU Students Win Hundreds of Cases Every Year

Since 2014, we have been helping European students get the student finance that they are entitled to. Over the years we have won hundreds of cases for students from all over Europe. Don’t take our word for it. The Dutch courts have an online database in which they publish the most important judgments that are handed down. Several of the cases we won for students have been selected by the courts for publication, because of their significance for the developments in the field of law.

In 2015, the court in The Hague granted the study finance to one of our clients, who had worked an average of 44 hours each month, with one month as low as 20 hours. The court specifically ruled that not meeting the 56 hour requirement did not mean that she was not entitled to student finance, but only that she does not automatically qualify (paragraph 12). Click here to read the judgment.

In 2017 the court in the Hague granted study finance to one of our clients because she had earned an average of € 541 per month. The court ruled that this was so substantial that she qualified for the study finance, even though she did not meet the hour requirement. Click here to read the judgment.

In 2019 the Court of Appeals granted study finance to one of our clients, who was able to prove the work she had done based on documents she had written as part of her job. The court considered these documents written by her so substantial that it was proof of genuine and effective activities, so that she was granted the study finance for the months in which she had worked on these documents. Click here to read the judgment.

Oftentimes however, cases never end up with a judgment, because DUO grants the study finance after we file a complaint or an appeal. DUO knows it cannot win these cases in court, so DUO just grants the study finance after they see a complaint or appeal has been lodged. One example of this was published by the courts. In this particular case we had to take the appeal all the way to the Court of Appeals (the highest Dutch court in study finance cases). Once there, DUO decided to grant the study finance anyway. Therefore, the court did not have to make a material judgment, but DUO was nonetheless ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings and grant the student additional compensation. Click here to read the judgment.

Self-employed EU students and students with internships

Students with internship contracts get their DUO applications rejected more often than not. DUO’s policy with regards to internship contracts is very strict, but there is no basis for this strictness in European Law. The Court of Justice has ruled that people following an internship also qualify as workers, as long as the internship meets the criteria (effective activities, under the supervision of another, for monetary compensation). It does not matter what it says on the contract (labor or internship agreement). It is also irrelevant whether the internship is a a mandatory part of the university curriculum or not. In exceptional cases internships do not qualify, for example when the student has not completed enough hours in order to familiarize himself with the work.

Students who are self-employed can also be eligible for study finance. The requirements are slightly different than for workers employed with a company.

  • The student’s company must be registered with the Dutch chamber of commerce (Kamer van Koophandel);
  • The student must be earning at least on average half of what the student would receive in social assistance, given the age of the student.

To prove the genuine nature of the self-employment, the student should be able to provide proof of work, an itinerary and financial records.

EU Students with a Working Partner or Parent

Students who do not work in the Netherlands may still enjoy the protection of the Treaty. This is the case if their family member  (excluding siblings) is working in the Netherlands. To enjoy the protection of their partner, students must be in a registered partnership or marriage, or be able to prove the long-lasting and durable nature of their partnership. To enjoy the protection of their parent, the student must be under 21 years of age. The family member in question must have the nationality of a member state of the European Union.

After a Student Loses his or her Job: Retention of Worker Status

When the employment of a student ends, the student is also no longer a worker. In that case, the student no longer enjoys the protection of art. 45 of the Treaty and is no longer entitled to study finance. However, under certain conditions it is possible for a student to retain his or her status as a worker.

The European Union directive 2004/38/EG determines that the status of worker can be retained, if the job is lost involuntarily (click here to read the directive, see article 7). This is the case when the student gets fired or a limited time contract does not get extended. The only condition that the student must comply with is that the student must register at the unemployment office (UWV) and start looking for new employment immediately. In that case, the student will retain the status of worker for at least 6 months. This should be sufficient time to find a new job and continue to enjoy study finance.

Someone who is involuntarily unemployed and decides to follow vocational training to increase his or her job prospects may also retain the status of worker for the duration of the studies.

Filing an Application for Student Finance

An application for student finance can be filed online or by regular post. In order to apply online, you must have a citizen service number, in Dutch a ‘burgerservicenummer’ or ‘BSN’. You automatically receive one when you register with a Dutch municipality. You also need to create a DigiD-account. The following link can be used: https://duo.nl/particulier/footer-engels/service/log-in-to-mijn-duo.jsp.

If you prefer to file an application by regular post. You can use the forms found here: https://duo.nl/particulier/student-finance/apply.jsp. You can also download them here directly: 1) Application form for Higher Education (Hogeschool/University). Make sure you send the form by registered mail. When you drop the form off at a DUO-service desk, do ask for a delivery confirmation.

Make sure you add the following documents to your application:

  • Your labor or internship contract;
  • Payslips from your (internship) employer;
  • Birth certificate;
  • Income statement from your parents with regards to the previous two years (if you want to apply for the supplemental grant).
  • In addition to this, the student is sometimes asked to fill out a ‘Verklaring EU-student’ (EU student statement). In this statement the student declares that he/she worked at least 56 hours per month in every month that they received the study finance. The declare this to be true and have to sign the document with an autograph. Do not sign or return this statement! You should not agree to working at least 56 hours a month.

An application can be filed with retroactive effect from the start of the academic year. That means an application will have effect from September 1st, even if the application is filed later in the academic year. However, applications cannot be filed for academic years that have already concluded.

We can assist you with filing an application. Just send us an e-mail if you need help.

Keep Track of the Time

DUO has 8 weeks to decide on the application. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this up. If a decision is not taken within 8 weeks, we can declare DUO in default. After being declared in default, DUO has to take a decision within 2 weeks. If a decision is not taken within these two weeks, DUO has to pay a fine to the student, starting from € 23 per day (with a maximum of € 45 per day and a maximum total amount of  € 1442). The fine is irrespective of the outcome of the application.

The Decision on the Application

If an online application is filed. You´ll receive a notification in the online system, which can be accessed through DUO’s website. Take note that upon filing an online application, you will not receive a paper decision by regular mail. The notification in the online system is in Dutch, which may be confusing for an EU-student.

If an application is filed with the form, DUO has to notify the student on the decision by letter. The notification contains the decision on the application. Because the notification is produced by an automated system, the notification only shows the results of the decision, and not the decision itself.  You therefore need to study the notification carefully, an application can also be granted in part.

A complaint against a rejection in part or in full has to be filed within 6 weeks after receiving it. Take note that the legal time limit of 6 weeks is a legal deadline. An appeal filed more than 6 weeks after the date listed on the decision will not be processed.

Facing a Revocation Decision, DUO Checks Afterwards Whether EU students met the 56 Hour Criterium

After the study finance has been paid out, DUO will approach the student for a check. DUO wants to know if the student who received the study finance, truly worked 56 hours each month. DUO asks the student to provide the labor contracts and pay slips as proof. These documents have to show that the student worked at least 56 hours per month.

DUO Website: Do you not have Dutch nationality? Then we will check whether you still meet the nationality requirements for receiving student finance. Are you a student from an EU-country? And do you receive student finance because of an employment contract? Then we check whether you (or your partner or parent) work(s) for at least 56 hours per month in The Netherlands.

In addition to this, the student has to fill out a ‘Verklaring EU-student’ (EU student statement). In this statement the student declares that he/she worked at least 56 hours per month in every month that they received the study finance. They declare this to be true and have to sign the document with an autograph.

A lot of students run into trouble with this. Because their contracts are only for a limited amount of time, they often have to find other jobs throughout the year. These gaps can sometimes mean that the student did not work 56 hours in the month or months that they were between jobs. Because students are also given flexible contracts (often on-call, zero-hour contracts) it can happen that some months they are not requested by their employer to work 56 hours or more, even if the student was willing to work that amount of hours.

When confronted with the DUO check, stick to the following rules:

  1. Provide your labor or internship contracts;
  2. Provide your payslips;
  3. Do not sign or send in the Verklaring EU-student;
  4. E-mail the documents so that you have proof.

Do not send them by regular mail/post. In your e-mail tell  DUO you have no further documents and ask them to take a decision based on the documents that you sent them.

When to Contact Us

  • When you have filed an application but have not received a decision 8 weeks later;
  • When you have received a rejection on your application;
  • When you have received a decision that says you have to pay back study finance.
  • When you have sent in your documents after a request from DUO to check your status, and 8 weeks have passed without a decision from DUO.

In all of these cases it is very important that you contact us as soon as possible. There is often a deadline of six weeks. If the deadline passes it is no longer possible to file a complaint.

Hiring an Attorney and Financing Proceedings

For filing a complaint with DUO and an appeal with the court it is not mandatory to hire a attorney. Students can go through these proceedings themselves for little to no charge. That is not to say that is a good idea. European law can be complex and DUO is a large well-financed machine specialized in this subject material (or, as one of our clients put it: specialized in crushing students’ hopes and dreams). That DUO is misinforming students does not mean they themselves are misinformed. DUO knows exactly how EU law works and they do what they can to prevent the student from utilizing EU law effectively.

Students are entitled to subsidized legal aid from the Dutch government. The personal contribution that students have to pay for legal services under this system is generally between € 150 and € 200.  When the case is won, DUO has to pay a compensation for these legal fees. Because we are confident that we can win all cases (even if sometimes it means going all the way to the Court of Appeals), we do not invoice the students for the personal contribution and instead collect the compensation from DUO when the case is won. In practice this means that our services are free of charge for students.

Any Questions About the Dutch Student Finance?

Have any questions related to this article? Leave them in the comments below, use our contact form or send us an e-mail. We usually respond the next working day. Have you received a rejection from DUO? Then call us immediately. A complaint has to be filed within six weeks. Any complaint filed after that is inadmissible, the student will no longer be able to claim his or her right to student finance.

Patrick Folsche
Patrick Folsche

Do you have questions about this topic? Don't hesitate to contact me.

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    Bogdan
    Bogdan
    21 hours ago

    Hello!
    The article states that in order to submit an application, the applicant needs to present the income statement of their parents of the last 2 years. If the applicant has only gotten the income statement of their parent of the last year (only 1 year, not 2), would it be a problem?
    Thank you in advance!

    Alannah
    Alannah
    20 days ago

    Hi! I have a quick question, can I get studiefinancing if I become an RNI? I found a room in Belgium close to Maastricht and I’m unsure if I only need a BSN or I need a Dutch address too

    Aicha
    Aicha
    1 month ago

    Hi, thank you so much for such an informative article! Really big help and relieved a lot of stress.
    One question that I hope you’d be able to answer is; I’m an EU students and currently live with my mother who earns less than 20k a year. She is divorced from my father who earns around 30k-40k a year. Someone had asked a similar question and the answer was that they should prove they have not been in contact with said parent since before the age of 12. However, my parents divorced when I was 16/17 and I have not received any financial help from my father even though I see them. How do I go about this situation?.
    If the answer is that I need to declare his income also, what do I do if he refuses to provide me with documents to prove it?.
    Thank you!

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Aicha
    20 days ago

    Dear Aicha,

    This is a complicated situation that many students face. Unfortunately it cannot be resolved through the student finance system. If your father is not contributing his fair share, you can pursue legal means against him to force him to do so. This includes him providing necessary income statements. If you are still in contact with him, you do not qualify for the exception.

    Kind regards,
    Patrick

    trackback
    1 month ago

    […] Dutch system. For instance, at least EU students are almost always entitled to a Dutch student loan despite the overall perception that they must work 56 hours per month in […]

    Yannis
    Yannis
    1 month ago

    Hello,

    I am little confused regarding the 50k EUR parents income limit. From what I understand I can not receive the supplementary grant. But can I apply for a regular loan?

    Thank you

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Yannis
    20 days ago

    Dear Yannis,

    The different components of the student finance are seperate. You still qualify for the loan even if your parents make too much money for you to qualify for the supplementary grant.

    Arturo
    Arturo
    2 months ago

    Hi! Thank you so much for the article, it’s very informative!! I would like to ask, however, how I can prove my situation to DUO. I am Spanish, my mom died a long time ago, and my dad has lived (and worked, of course) in Chile his whole life.His yearly income is not more than 15.000 euro (he doesn’t get paid every month).
    In terms of my parents income, how should I procceed to prove to DUO that my mother has died and that my dad cannot help much? Should I translate and legalize his yearly income from the last two years? Or just an original statement in Spanish would be enough?
    *I do work more than 56 hours a month as a delivery man

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Arturo
    2 months ago

    Dear Arturo,
    You will have to submit documents from the Chilean tax authorities with regards to your father’s income. Since those documents are in Spanish, you will have to provide a translation to DUO. You can submit your own translation as long as the translation is to Dutch or English.

    Marcela
    Marcela
    2 months ago

    Hello! How can I prove the long-lasting and durable nature of my partnership? I contacted Duo and they informed me only marriage or registered partnership is possible. Additionally, they explicitly told me a contract of cohabitation won’t work. I am living in the Netherlands through a family reunification visa (my boyfriend is german), although we proved our relationship to the IND how can we prove it to DUO?

    Last edited 2 months ago by Marcela
    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Marcela
    2 months ago

    Dear Marcela,

    Within EU law a narrow definition of family members is used on this topic. “Family member” means the spouse (1), the partner with whom the EU citizen has contracted a registered partnership (2),
    the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner (3) and the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or partner (4). Feel free to give us a call if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Gor Gabrelian

    Hristo
    Hristo
    3 months ago

    Hello,
    Thank you for the detailed article about the DUO student financing.
    I am a fulltime HBO student and currently doing a paid Internship, which is part of my program. I applied for the DUO supplementary grant and for the travel product and got rejected recently. In the message they said the reason for the rejection is that “I do not meet the nationality requirements”, despite the face that I am Bulgarian/EU citizen. When I called them at the office to ask for more explanation about this decision, they explained that this is not actually the reason for the rejection. They said that the internship contract is not a working contract and that I am not eligible for any student financing. The person on the phone also said that the only way to get student financing during an internship is if I have received money from DUO before the start of the internship, since according to them “the grant is a compensation for quitting your previous job when doing an internship”. Previously I have worked as a freelancer but never applied for DUO since I was working less that 56 hours a month.
    I would like to ask for your advice and if I have a reason for submitting an appeal to their decision.
    Kind Regards

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Hristo
    3 months ago

    Dear Hristo,

    I’m happy that the article is of use to you. In general, a student pursuing a full time internship qualifies for the student finance. It is not necessary that the internship is a (mandatory) part of the curriculum, nor is it necessary that the student worked another job before the internship. Therefore, it seems you have a valid reason to file a complaint. We can only give specific advice for your situation if you send us the documents underlying your situation. Feel free to send us an e-mail. Don’t forget that any complaint has to be filed within six weeks from the decision.

    Kind regards,
    Patrick Folsche

    Manos
    Manos
    3 months ago

    Hi! First of all thank you for this article, it is the only one that I found useful. I have some questions about the Supplementary grant, by saying parents income means the taxable income or the income that they have after taxes? What if their income is higher than the threshold 50.000eur? And finally, what if one of the parents doesn’t help you at all because you don’t have any kind of relationship. Thank you in advance.

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Manos
    3 months ago

    Dear Manos,

    I am happy to hear that the article is useful to you. Your parents combined taxable income is decisive. If this is above €50k, you are not entitled to a supplementary grant. In that case the government considers your parents should be able to pay you an allowance. The supplementary grant is only for those whose parents cannot afford to contribute. The income of a parent can only be disregarded in case the student proves they have not been in touch with this parent since before the student turned 12 years old.

    Yannis
    Yannis
    Reply to  Patrick Folsche
    1 month ago

    Hi, what if there are siblings under 18 years old? Does this raise the 50k euro threshold?

    Jess
    Jess
    3 months ago

    Hi! I’m an EU citizen and I only worked for 5 months in my fourth year of my Bachelor and I applied for the studentenreisproduct in that time. Since then I regularly sent them all my payslips with the hours that I worked and it was always fine and I also cancelled the reisproduct on my OV on time. I graduated on 31st July 2020 and have been waiting since then to get my loan converted to a gift. I called them, I believe in September or maybe August, to ask when this will happen and they said it can take some time. I started my Master in September but didn’t apply for study financing since I’m not working next to my studies anymore. Yesterday I got an e-mail saying that the repayment is starting and that I need to start repaying in two years, which i found very confusing. I wrote them an e-mail about it and they replied this: “Your provisional loan does not automatically become a gift if you have obtained a university Bachelor or an Associate degree. This only happens if you obtain an HBO Bachelor or a university Master. Or, in the case of a university Bachelor, in the year before you need to begin repayment.”. I couldn’t find any information on this and I find this very weird. Is this true or should I insist that they convert it?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Jess
    20 days ago

    Dear Jess,

    I have sent you an e-mail to discuss your particular situation.

    Martin V.
    Martin V.
    5 months ago

    Hi Patrick, thank you for you informative article, I really appreciate all the effort you are putting into this. Could I have two questions?
    1) According to DUO, the work contract must be “in the Netherlands”. However, there is nothing in the ECJ case law or anything in the article suggesting this criterion is legitimate from the EU law viewpoint. What if I studied in the Netherlands and worked based on a part-time contract for a company based in, say, Prague, the Czech republic (based on “home-office” arrangement)? Would I still be eligibile? Is there perhaps already Dutch case law on this issue?
    2) Does it follow from EU law that I could be eligible even if I worked for only, say, 40 hours a month (and could evidence the other criteria)? Is there some “lowest number of working hours” per month that was already confirmed by the Dutch case-law to satisfy the eligibility criterion, provided other criteria were satisfied (effective activities etc.)? After all, 56 hours a month seem to be quite a lot considering how challenging the studying might be.
    Thank you for your answer and time and stay in good health!
    Martin

    Last edited 5 months ago by Martin V.
    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Martin V.
    5 months ago

    Dear Martin,

    Thank you for reaching out. With regards to your two questions. 1) You are not required to work in the Netherlands (for a Dutch firm). However, you must be residing in the Netherlands to be eligible for the student finance. 2) There is no minimum number of hours set by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Court of Justice has ruled more than once that working hours are just one of the factors to be taken into account in the overall assessment. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Gor Gabrelian

    Aytug Bayraktar
    Aytug Bayraktar
    5 months ago

    Hello,
    Im a Bulgarian who studies in a full time bachelor in Netherlands since September 2019.
    Ever since September 2019, Ive worked more than 56 hours each month except 2 which due to coronavirus,my workplace was closed. I have applied to Duo many times and as you have said I have rejected with meaningless reasons such as they have thought I am not Bulgarian although I have send my Bulgarian passport and ID. Last time I have applied was at 22nd of October and I haven’t received a return ever since.Can I ask your help with this situation?
    Kind Regards

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Aytug Bayraktar
    5 months ago

    Dear Aytug,
    Given the nature of your question(s), I have sent you a personal email.
    Best,
    Gor Gabrelian

    Alfie
    Alfie
    6 months ago

    Hi! I am a UK student hoping to study at Erasmus University of Rotterdam next year and I am just wondering how the outcome of Brexit (currently looking like a No-Deal) will affect me? And if I will no longer qualify for ‘equal treatment under EU law’?
    Thanks for any help!

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Alfie
    5 months ago

    Dear Alfie,
    Indeed, Brexit will have a major impact for UK students studying in the Netherlands. Those students who are currently residing and studying in the Netherlands can obtain a residence permit on the basis of Article 18 of the Withdrawal agreement. With this permit they remain eligible for the student finance under the current system. UK students starting their study in the Netherlands after Brexit, will no longer be entitled to the Dutch student finance. Regardless of their economic activities in the Netherlands.
    Best, Gor Gabrelian.

    Andreea
    Andreea
    6 months ago

    Hi!I started working in February(with a 0hour contract) and I worked until the middle of march , June and July on average 40 hours sometimes even more than 56h/month. (I also got paid for April and may I think the equivalent of around 20h because it was closed).Since the end of July I haven’t worked and I will probably not be called in again/have my contract that ends in February extended .Is there any way I could apply for the student finance and get it? Or register at the uwv? I never applied because I was sure I needed 56 hours and that wasn’t always possible. Another thing is I haven’t been registered at any address in the Netherlands August-October; I was home because of covid. (I am an EU citizen)

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Andreea
    6 months ago

    Dear Andreaa,
    Thank you for reaching out. With regards to the decrease in hours, when assessing whether your employment relationship is genuine COVID does play a factor. Indeed, in the given circumstances the status of worker can be retained by registering as a job-seeker. The entitlement to an unemployment benefit is not a requirement for retaining the status. You simple need to register within a reasonable time. Technically, the municipal registration should not be an obstacle, however, DUO is known to use all means to frustrate the process. Give us a ring if you have any other questions.
    Best,
    Gor Gabrelian

    Delyan
    Delyan
    6 months ago

    Hello. I have a question regarding my eligibility for a student grant. I am an European citizen. I study and work in the Netherlands. My contract is a 0 hour minimum contract, and I have worked for 4 hours per month over the last 2-3 months. I do have an employer in this position, I do fulfill what I would consider an effective service (maintaining and uploading regularly on an official social media page) and I do receive payment for my activities. In addition, my parents’ yearly income is less than 30 000 euro.
    I would really appreciate if you could let me know whether my contract and work situation would be eligible to receiving a student grant from DUO? Do you think my case would be defensible, or is there something amiss? Would love to hear your opinion this.
    Kind regards,
    Delyan

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Delyan
    6 months ago

    Dear Delyan,
    Thank you for your comment. You enjoy the protection of EU law if you are performing genuine and effective work. The amount of hours is not, by itself, decisive. This is why the 56 hour criterion is nonsense. However, the amount of hours is one of the factors that can be relevant in determining whether your work is genuine and effective. Four hours a month amounts to only 1 hour of work a week, which is very little.
    If you want to qualify for student finance based on only 1 hour of work, you will have to show a lot of other proof to convince a judge that the work you do is genuine and effective. You could show examples of the work you produced, proof of the amount you are being paid for this work, that you fall under a collective labor agreement, that you are entitled to holiday leave and holiday pay, that the type of work you do is in demand with other employers (job openings), etc.
    Did you work more hours in the same job previously? This may help to show that your current low amount of hours is only temporary.
    Please send us an e-mail with the underlying documents for a more specific advice.

    Isza Parchini
    Isza Parchini
    6 months ago

    Hello!
    I applied for DUO finance in the beginning of August, to begin in September with my masters degree. It was accepted, but in October I lost my job due to COVID. I registered immediately with the UWV as I received a vaststellingsovereenkomst. I heard from DUO that they will cancel my financing because I haven’t worked 56 hours in September and October. When I explained the situation to them, they told me I should have known that I would not work these hours when I applied even though I was working that amount in March- beginning of August (when I applied). They also told me that they won’t make an exception related to COVID as those measures applied since March, and their logic was that I then should have applied earlier (even though I cannot apply without being accepted into a degree?). I read some information that I can retain my financing for 6 months if I lost my job involuntarily and registered as a job seeker with the UWV. Is this information correct?
    What is the best way to pursue this situation?
    Thank you!

    Dario Susak
    Dario Susak
    Reply to  Isza Parchini
    6 months ago

    Same question here! I lost my job last week. When I called DUO to explain my situation, I was told that if I do not work I have no right to the study finance. Your article states the possibility of retention of worker status. What do I need to do?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Dario Susak
    6 months ago

    Dear Dario,
    The most important thing to do when you lose your job (or get a big reduction in hours) is to register as a jobseeker with the UWV. That way, you will retain your status as a worker for at least six months, and therewith also your right to student finance.
    The information DUO provides about this is incorrect. If you have not filed an application, file one as soon as possible. If you have filed one but have received a rejection, contact us as soon as possible so that we can file a complaint on your behalf.

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Isza Parchini
    6 months ago

    Dear Isza,
    Thank you for your comment. You are not alone in this. Many students are in on-call contracts with flexible hours. Because of the COVID pandemic a lot of students now lose their jobs or simply are no longer called in for work.
    The information you read is correct. EU law provides protection for workers who become involuntarily unemployed. The only requirement is that you register as a job seeker, so that it is clear that you still have the desire to remain in the country for work. Since you lost your job involuntarily and registered with the UWV you are officially a jobseeker in the Netherlands. Under these circumstances you will retain your status as a worker for at least six months.
    If you have received a rejection from DUO, then their decision is incorrect. To secure the study finance you must file a complaint within six weeks from the date of the decision. We would be happy to help you out with that. Just send us an e-mail with the decision you received, your vaststellingsovereenkomst, your registration with the UWV, and a short description of your situation.

    Natalia Lisowska
    Natalia Lisowska
    7 months ago

    Hi, I have question can I still apply retroactively for 2019/2020?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Natalia Lisowska
    6 months ago

    Dear Natalia,

    One can apply for student finance with retroactive effect for the ongoing college year. The new college year starts September 1st every year, so applications always work back until the most recent September.

    As I am writing this it is November 16th 2020, which means any application filed today can have retroactive effect up until September 1st 2020. This will remain the same until August 31st 2021. After September 1st 2021, any new applications can only work back until September 1st 2021.

    To receive student finance with regards to the 2019-2020 college year, the application must have been filed no later than August 31st 2020.

    Bojana
    Bojana
    Reply to  Patrick Folsche
    5 months ago

    Dear Patrick,
    Is there a place where DUO states this?
    I’ve managed to arrange all my contracts for the past academic year, but unfortunately, I did not know about this rule and I started applying for study financing after the new academic year started.
    Is there anything that could be done in this case?
    Thank you in advance

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Bojana
    4 months ago

    Dear Bojana,

    The student finance can be obtained with retro-active effect within the same study year. There are unfortunately no exceptions to this rule. Feel free to give us a ring if you have any other questions.

    Best,
    Gor Gabrelian

    Katarzyna
    Katarzyna
    8 months ago

    Hi! I am an EU citizen. From February till June I was on mandatory exchange abroad, which was also accepted by DUO and I received my money till June. Starting in July, I was not able to find job due to coronavirus. I called DUO infoline and presented my case as I was told that they are helping some students; however, individual case has to be presented. During the call, I was told that there is no option that i would receive my loan without working 56 hours and a valid contract. On August 16th I started new job and worked maximum amount of hours till the end of the month to reach 56 hours for August. Once I received my salary and payslip on September 3rd I sent it to DUO. Yesterday I was told that I won’t receive my loan for August as the deadline to send documents was on Septemeber 1st and my contract started “too late”. I searched through their website and I cannot find anywhere information about deadline of sending documents as well as when the contract should start.Which steps should I take?

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Katarzyna
    8 months ago

    Thank you for reaching out Katarzyna. We do believe that the reference date within the policy is discriminatory towards EU-students. If you were sufficiently economically active, there should be no reason for DUO to the deny the study finance.

    Ilaria
    Ilaria
    9 months ago

    Hi! I am an EU citizen starting a master at EUR and I respect the financial criterias to receive the massimum supplementary grant. I will arrive in Rotterdam in the next months and at that point I’ll search for a job. Regarding the application process for the financing, you say that:

    An application can be filed with retroactive effect from the start of the academic year. That means an application will have effect from September 1st, even if the application is filed later in the academic year. 

    Does it mean that if I start working, for example in December, I would receive anyways the loan together with the supplementary grant even for the previous months?
    Also, I want to apply for a coaching position at ELS – Erasmus Language Sharing. They do not provide details but I think it should be a remurated position. Would it count as a job for DUO?

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Ilaria
    9 months ago

    Dear Ilaria,
    The study finance can be obtained with retroactive effect within the same study year for the months in which you were economically active. We would need more information on your position with ELS to give you sound advice on the student finance topic. Don’t hesitate to give us a call.
     

    Davia
    Davia
    9 months ago

    Hello, I am an EU student in the Netherlands and i have a 2 months contract starting September. This contract is for aprox 22 hours of paid work per month, for 2 months. I plan on also starting another job in October for a longer period of time, but i do not have any contract yet for that one since it is not sure. Am I eligible to ask for a student financing from now, with this contract starting in september? Thank you

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Davia
    9 months ago

    Dear Davia,
    Thank you for reaching out. To assess your eligibility for the study finance we would need to review your labor contract. The hours alone cannot be a decisive factor. Feel free to submit your contract or give us a call to discuss the ins and outs of your case.

    Annika
    Annika
    10 months ago

    Thanks a lot for this article! I have a question regarding my own situation: I have been living in the Netherlands for 5 years now and I requested only the travel product. Now I got a letter from DUO stating that I have to work here in order to fulfill the requirement (I have an internship here, but that is not payed). Can this also be a case of “they want to safe money”?
    Thanks for your answer!

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Annika
    10 months ago

    Dear Annika,
    The only thing you can do is be truthful and complete in the information that you provide to DUO. Respond to their requests by providing them with all the information they request, even if you think their request is nonsense. That way, it cannot be used against you later that you were incomplete or dishonest in the information that you provided.
    DUO must then take a decision based on the information you provided. If DUO rejects your application, contact us and we will help you fight it if possible.

    Leo
    Leo
    10 months ago

    Hi!
    I’ve been receiving student finance for three years. I always met the requirements (56h). However, this has been an organisational horror since the beginning (also because DUO asks me every year to re-send all my payslips again and again). After reading this article, I am thinking about working less hours. Which steps should I take? Just work less and send my payslips as usual and contact you when they want the money back?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Leo
    10 months ago

    Dear Leo,

    We understand your desire to work fewer hours. A lot of students have difficulty meeting the 56h requirement because of their demanding and time consuming studies.
    You can simply start working fewer hours. Make sure that you keep a good administration of the hours you worked and the payments you received. Continue to send DUO all the information that they request. Do not try to hide that you are working fewer hours because it is not necessary to hide it and dishonesty may be used against you. It is very likely that DUO will try to revoke your study finance for any months in which you did not meet the 56 hour criterium. You therefore must keep good track of any mails or letters you receive from DUO. Once you receive the decision you can contact us and we can give you advice or help you file a complaint if necessary.

    Deyvid
    Deyvid
    10 months ago

    My Brother has been living in The Netherlands for 8 years and He is working full time. We are both EU citizens and I am 18 years old. He is not a “parent or a partner”. Can I still apply for a study financing without having to work 56 hours a week ?

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Deyvid
    10 months ago

    Dear Deyvid,

    EU law stipulates that family members of workers enjoy the same rights. Directive 2004/38 provides a definition of family member. Siblings are, however, not mentioned in Article 2 of the Directive. Meaning that you are not entitled to student finance by means of the status that your brother has acquired.

    Andriana
    Andriana
    10 months ago

    Hello,

    I am doing an unpaid internship/graduation project an an academic institution. Does that not count as being a worker?

    Ta.

    Gor Gabrelian
    Reply to  Andriana
    10 months ago

    Dear Andriana,

    Indeed, one of the elements is that remuneration is received. That is not to say the a specific threshold has to be met. However, an unpaid internship does not qualify.

    Kushina
    Kushina
    10 months ago

    What is the case for graduation projects?
    I received DUO financing during my first internship since I am following a HBO education I have another internship – graduation project.
    I was told that I cannot use the hours from my graduation projects/internship. Is that correct?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Kushina
    10 months ago

    Dear Kushina,

    As the article says, as long as the internship meets the criteria (effective activities, under the supervision of another, for monetary compensation), you are eligible.
    The fact that it is a graduation project that is a mandatory part of the curriculum does not matter.
    If you have received a rejection from DUO please contact us directly so we can give you advice for your individual situation.

    TOMAS
    TOMAS
    Reply to  Kushina
    10 months ago

    Dear Patrick,

    I have a similar situation as Kushina. I have a graduation project which is a three party contract between me, the university, and the company. I am being paid 420 Euros/month by the company. The graduation project agreements does not state how many hours I am working, but on my payslips it states that I work 40 hours/week so the 56 hour/month condition is satisfied. However, the problem is that when I called the DUO office to ask whether I am eligible for student finance, they told me that since my income is less than 562 Euros/month (witch I was told is half of the minimum unemployment benefits) I would be denied. Would you think it is still worth it to apply in my situation and go through the application denial/appeal process?

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  TOMAS
    10 months ago

    Dear Tomas,

    Thank you for your detailed question. Ultimately your eligibility depends on whether you meet the three criteria set by the European Court of Justice: effective activities, under the supervision of another, for monetary compensation. That you are working so many hours is a strong indication in your favor. The fact that you don’t make much money does not mean that the work you perform is not genuine, even if your salary (or whatever it is called in your contract, the name does not matter) is insufficient to meet all your costs of living (see paragraph 6 of the article). Therefore, based on the information you provided here, I think you are eligible for the study finance. Definitely apply for it! The article contains some instructions on filing an application. Contact us through e-mail or by phone if you receive a rejection from DUO or if you need any further help.

    Miklos
    Miklos
    11 months ago

    Hi! I am an EU citizen working in the Netherlands full time. My wife has a Belarusian passport, but has a “family member of an EU citizen” residency permit for 5 years. She got accepted to university. Does she meet the nationality requirement with this visa? As she should have the same rights as any EU citizen. However, it is not clear with DUO.

    Patrick Folsche
    Reply to  Miklos
    11 months ago

    Dear Miklos,
    Thank you for your message. Since you are working in the Netherlands you are entitled to equal treatment under art. 45 TFEU. Your wife is entitled to residence under art. 7(d) of Directive 2004/38/EG and to equal treatment under art. 24 of that same directive. Therefore, your wife meets the nationality requirement for study finance. If DUO rejects her application, contact me directly through e-mail or by phone.

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