Visa, residence permit and city registration
An entry visa (MVV in Dutch) is a sticker in your passport issued by the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your home country (or the country in which you legally reside) which you might need to enter the Netherlands. A residence permit is a card which allows you to legally reside in the Netherlands.
Who needs a visa/ residence permit
Whether you'll need an entry visa and/or a residence permit depends on your nationality. As a residence permit for study purposes is valid for a certain number of years, the university monitors the study progress of all non-EU/EEA students to make sure they can complete their studies within the allowed time frame.
Registration with the city
In the Netherlands, all citizens are registered in a national database. This is required by Dutch law. Once you register with the city you will automatically receive a BSN (Burger Service Number), which you may need to open a bank account or apply for a work permit. All students who are staying in the Netherlands for more than 4 months are required by law to register.