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Information for international students

This section is aimed at all currently enrolled and prospective international students for our September 2021 intake at VU Amsterdam. To make sure you can make informed decisions, below you will find explanations of different scenarios and their consequences

In addition to these practical matters, we of course also care about your well-being. To make sure you can find the right support and services, we have created an overview of relevant contacts.

Important information regarding the September 2021 intake

  • Academic year 2021-2022: Welcome to Amsterdam

    VU Amsterdam expects everyone to attend classes on campus again as of September. Hence, we expect all students to be present in Amsterdam to be able to enjoy the benefits of meeting your fellow students as well as your teachers and experience face to face education. Although physical meeting remains central, in the future we will also focus on the benefits of blended learning. More detailed information on the academic year of 2021-2022 has been published on your student portal (VUnet).

    From September onwards, the 1.5m distance rule has been lifted and you will be required to wear a mask on campus. Once you sit down in the lecture hall or at your desk, you can remove your face mask.

    Students in higher education can order self-tests free of charge until the end of August at www.zelftestonderwijs.nl. You can log in using your VU-net ID. If you arranged housing via VU Amsterdam you will also receive a self-test there. Self-testing is voluntary. You do not have to show proof of a negative test result to gain access to the campus. 

    In case you are looking for information on the Dutch vaccine scheme for international students, please check the Q&A section or check the related webpage of the Dutch Government.

    We look forward to meeting you on campus!

  • From Bachelor's to Master's: Information on the transition ('Soft Cut' exception)

    Normally, students must have completed their Bachelor's or Pre-master's programmes to be allowed to start a Master's programme. We call this a ‘hard cut’. However, Covid-19 has caused some students to partially abandon their studies and suffer undesirable study delays. 

    To prevent students from getting stuck between a Bachelor's and Master's programme because of corona measures, VU Amsterdam is investigating how a ‘soft cut’ can be made for each Master's programme. This means that students who are missing one or more courses due to the corona crisis can, under certain conditions, still start their Master's programme at VU Amsterdam this year. The missing course(s) must be completed during the 2021-2022 academic year, so no later than 31 August 2022.

    The conditions for starting the programme are determined per programme

    We strongly advise students to do everything possible to complete their Bachelor’s or Premaster’s this academic year. In terms of study load, it is very difficult to complete missing courses during an already intensive Master's year.

    The above ‘soft cut' only applies to EU/EEA students who are starting a Master's or Premaster's programme in the 2021-2022 academic year.

  • Is your question not answered here?

    Current students: please contact studentdesk@vu.nl.

    If you have practical questions about your stay in the Netherlands or if you would just like to talk to someone from the International Office, you can come by the Global Room on Tuesday or Thursday between 1 PM-3PM. The Global Room is located in the Main Building (HG-1A36).

Moving and travelling to the Netherlands

  • Visa, immigration and visiting the campus

    I have already received the approval of my visa/residence permit procedure but I cannot travel to The Netherlands. What should I do?

    If you have already sent us your visa application (or if your application has already been sent to the IND), please pay attention to the following: when you need an entry visa (MVV) to enter the Netherlands, be aware that you have to collect this within 90 days – with a possible extension of 90 days. Once you’ve collected your MVV, the entry visa in your passport will be valid for another 90 days. Consult the webpage of your Dutch representation to see if it is possible to make an MVV appointment. This page will be updated as soon as the consular services and appointment options change. Non-EU citizens who do not need an entry visa (MVV)* can enter the Netherlands with their passport (and a valid Schengen permit, if applicable) once this is possible.

    Please check the Corona page on the website of the IND regularly.

    Can I travel to the Netherlands as an international student?

    We strongly advise you to look at this checklist before you decide to travel to the Netherlands. The information on this website will be updated regularly. In general, all non-EU students can travel to the Netherlands with a valid entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter (in Dutch: ‘kennisgevingsbrief’) stating that you will receive a residence permit.

    Did you already receive a message that your application has been approved but you do not hold the IND letter yet? Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl in that case.

    Lastly, be aware that there will be less flights or flights might be cancelled due to the (local) restrictions.

    What happens if I am not able to enter the Netherlands?

    Please be informed on the following when: you are not able to enter the Netherlands and your programme does not offer online alternatives. If you are unable to participate in on-campus education from September onwards due to strict travel restrictions, the following consequences will apply: 

    1. Unfortunately, you will not be able to start your programme this September. Instead, you will be asked to defer your admission. Your admission will remain valid for the next academic year (provided the admission requirements stay the same). 
    2. Any costs made up to this point, such as housing fees or any tuition fees already paid, will be refunded. To be eligible for a reimbursement of the paid tuition fees, you must deregister via Studielink before 31 August 2021.  
    3. The housing fee will be refunded to you. However, if you defer to the next academic year, it is also possible to keep the housing fee for next year. In both cases, please e-mail to studentaccommodation@vu.nl to inform us. Payments for administration costs you paid already to the housing provider are non-refundable. 
    4. Visa application fees are non-refundable. But the payment of this fee will remain valid for next year's visa application. Please e-mail to studentimmigration@vu.nl to inform us. 
    5. If you do not wish to defer and therefore decide to cancel your admission all together, the same arrangement as mentioned in point 3 will apply. 

    What happens if I cannot collect my visa (mvv) in time?

    Please note if the following applies to you: your entry visa (mvv) is not issued in time, or you are unable to collect your entry visa (mvv) due to local travel restrictions, in this case your study programme may temporarily offer online alternatives during the first month(s). 

    Please contact your International Student Advisor.

    Where can I find up to date information about the Dutch measures against the corona virus?

    On this website from the Dutch government you can find the most recent information.

    Is the visa fee non refundable?

    Important message for users of our immigration platform “VisaCare”: as soon as you’ve submitted your personal details and have started the application, we assume that you wish to apply for a student visa/residence permit. If you decide to cancel your application throughout the process (i.e. before completing all of the required steps), you need to pay a handling fee of €85. We will deduct the €85 from the visa fee you transferred already.

    If you haven’t paid your visa fee to VU Amsterdam yet, you must pay the €85 handling fee to the VU. We will send you the instructions how to pay this.

    The total visa fee of €275 is non-refundable if we’ve already sent your application to the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND).

    My question was not answered here, how can I contact you?

    E-mail: studentimmigration@vu.nl
    Phone: Please schedule an appointment in our online tool

  • Measures for travelling

    Most recent update on the Dutch government measures

    The most up-to-date information about the Dutch measures can be found on this website.

    Non-EU students who wish to travel to the Netherlands:

    • You can travel to the Netherlands with a valid entry visa (MVV) or the IND approval letter stating that you will receive a residence permit. (In Dutch: ‘kennisgevingsbrief’). Did you already receive a message that your application has been approved but you do not hold the IND letter yet? Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl in that case.
    • Be aware that there will be less flights or flights might be cancelled due to the restrictions. We strongly advise you to look at this checklist before you decide to travel to the Netherlands. 

    Measures before and after travelling to the Netherlands

    In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Netherlands the Dutch government has decided to implement measures for passengers travelling to the Netherlands from areas with many coronavirus infections by means of a health declaration form and self-quarantine. Please note that from September 22 onwards quarantine is no longer mandatory for vaccinated passengers travelling from very high risk areas. 

    What measures do I need to take before travelling to The Netherlands?

    • Check the status of the area you are traveling from here. We advise you to consult this page regularly for updates. 
    • Check here which documents you need to take with you when travelling to the Netherlands: This depends on whether you are travelling from a EU/Schengen country or not, and if your country is classified as a safe country or not.
    • Students and staff coming from areas that are not classified as safe by the Dutch government are advised to take extra care two weeks prior to their departure to the Netherlands and avoid (risky) social activities. This includes visiting bars, (departure) parties and large gatherings. Do not travel if you have any symptoms!
    • Purchase or make face-masks to use in public transport / taxi etc. after arriving in the Netherlands.
    • Fill out and print a health declaration form. You need to show it upon request on the airport.
    • Apply for a health insurance for your stay in the Netherlands: see the information page about insurance in The Netherlands. If you apply in advance, the insurance will also cover the travel days.
    • We advise you to bring a valid credit card so that you have access to money as long as you do not have a Dutch bank account.
    • For more information, check here.

    I want to fly to the Netherlands. Do I need a negative coronavirus test?
    This depends on the status of the country you are travelling from. Please, check here for information on when the negative test result requirement applies. In certain cases a proof of vaccination may be sufficient (not all vaccines are approved, see here), while in other cases a negative test result is required even if you are fully vaccinated. Therefore please read this checklist carefully to see if you need to have a negative test result and/or completed health declaration.

    What should I do when I arrive at the airport in the Netherlands?

    • On the airport maintain a distance of 1,5 meters from others, also at the luggage belt.
    • At Schiphol airport, a free Covid-19 self-test is available for passengers. Be aware that a negative self-test does not replace the self-quarantine requirement. Please see further guidelines on the self-test here.
    • More information about the COVID-19 rules at the airport is available here.

    How do I go to my student accommodation from the airport or train station?

    • You will have to arrange your transport to your accommodation yourself. Route descriptions for public transport will be available soon. It is also possible to make a reservation for a taxi in advance. 
    • To travel to your accommodation from the airport, you can use a taxi or the public transport. For both, you will need a non-medical face mask.

    Do I need to wear a face mask?
    Wearing a face mask is mandatory in our buildings. The moment you sit down, in a lecture hall or at your desk, you may remove your face mask. When travelling by public transport, taxi, coach or car, you must wear a face-mask. A non-medical face mask that does not have a filter and is made of a material such as cotton is enough. These types of face mask are sold in places like supermarkets and pharmacies. You can also make your own.

    You may not use a scarf, face shield/visor, snood, bandanna, the collar of a jacket, or a non-medical face mask made from a sock, for instance. Gas masks should also not be used.

    All passengers aged 13 and over are required to wear a non-medical face mask. The fine for not wearing a non-medical face mask is €95. It is advised to wear a non-medical face mask in closed spaces such as shops and supermarkets. Information how to use a non-medical face mask can be found here

    How do I get the key of my room?

    • If you rent an accommodation via VU Amsterdam, the housing providers will inform you how and where you will receive the key of your room.
    • If you rent an accommodation on the private market, you will have to make arrangements with your landlord yourself. 
  • Questions and information about quarantine and living together with other students

    Should I go into self-quarantine?
    Whether the mandatory quarantine applies to you depends on the status of the country you travel from. Travellers from certain areas could be exempted from the self-quarantine requirement. Please check here for the status of your country and if you are required to self-quarantine. The rules on self-quarantine can be found here.

    What are the general rules for self-quarantine?
    The rules on self-quarantine are published here by the Dutch government.

    In short:

    • We expect you to have to stay in your room for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands.
    • Quarantine is also applicable if you tested negative in your home country or short after your arrival in the Netherlands.   
    • During the self-quarantine period do not travel or go to another location in the Netherlands.
    • You may not return to your country of origin.
    • You cannot go to a grocery store for food.
    • If you need medical assistance do not go to your General Practitioner or the hospital, but phone the doctor instead.
    • Nobody may visit you (except a medical doctor)
    • You can sit outside if you have a garden or balcony.
    • If you do not develop any symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19, you can end the self-quarantine after 10 days.

    How do I get groceries in self-quarantine?
    For students who need to order food or other essentials during quarantine, we created an information sheet on how and where to do so.

    We advise you to try to get in touch with students living in the same housing facility, for example through organized WhatsApp groups. Your fellow students who do not need to do the quarantine period might be willingly to help you with groceries. Be aware to hold on to the COVID rules when you get some help!

    Can I go to the municipality to register and get a BSN number during the quarantine time?
    Make sure to plan your appointment at the municipality as soon as your self-quarantine ends. For more information, see here.

    Can I go to a bank to open a bank account during the quarantine time?
    You can not go tot the bank office during quarantine time. But alternative options are possible, check here

    How do I get in contact with the university during the quarantine time?
    The International office is available for questions. Please check here how you can contact us.

    How do I get in contact with other students during the self-quarantine period?

    • If you live in student housing, we advise every unit to set up a WhatsApp group to connect with your flatmates!
    • In some accommodation buildings, Residence Assistants will be available to chat with or to ask questions.

    What about quarantine if I live in a room with shared facilities?
    Students who reserved a room in a building with shared bathroom and shared kitchen, or only a shared kitchen might have challenges with social distancing and keeping with the rules of self-quarantine. Be aware that not all students on your floor will come from orange /red countries, so quarantine will not be necessary for everyone.

    However, we ask all students for their understanding, respect, cooperation and solidarity towards each other and hope that you will find a way all together to make it possible maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

    We advise you to make agreements with your floormates about the following topics:

    • Limit the use of shared spaces as much as possible, so stay in your room!
    • Protect yourself and each other by keeping  1.5 metres distance in common areas
    • Create a WhatsApp group with your flatmates to keep in contact with each other
    • Make schedules for cooking, use of bathroom. The maximum number of students must be restricted so everyone can keep the 1,5 meters distance
    • Check out how you can help each other with groceries
    • Make schedules for cleaning the common areas
    • Use of face-masks in common areas
    • Do not invite students from other flats
    • It is not allowed to organise parties during quarantine time
    • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups or eating utensils
    • Follow the general rules on hygiene: wash your hands frequently and cough and sneeze into your elbow.
    • Check on your flatmates in quarantine and ask if you can help them

    I suspect I might have contracted COVID-19, what do I need to do?
    In case you suspect you might have contracted COVID-19, please read the guidelines of RIVM  for steps you need to take to get appropriate health care and to minimize infecting others. Clear information for students can be found on the website of the Amsterdam Public Health Services on how to proceed.

    If you are not registered at a GP (huisarts) yet, please do so as soon as possible as this is your first point of contact in case you are in need of medical help. Information about health care, health insurance and contact information of GP’s can be found here. It’s also possible to register at the GP’s office of the Amsterdam University Medical Center.

    What to do if my housemate has corona?
    The municipality created an overview what to do when your housemate has been tested, or has corona. See for more information this poster. More information on rules and regulations for student houses can be found on the website of the Amsterdam Public Health Services.

  • Vaccinations in the Netherlands

    In terms of vaccinations, all students living in the Netherlands, both Dutch and International, and after being registered with the municipality (getting a BSN/BRP registration) are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Here you can find the vaccine scheme of the Dutch Government. We made a PDF with the directions from VU Amsterdam to the vaccination location most nearby, which is called Amsterdam RAI.

    We advise you to register a.s.a.p. after a possible quarantine period. If the registration for some reason takes longer than expected, international students are advised to register in the Non-residents Records Database (RNI). Once you have done so, you can fill in a declaration giving the government permission to contact you by email about the coronavirus situation and the possibility of making a vaccination appointment. We advise all international students to register with a GP as soon as you arrive. This will speed up medical assistance when needed or you could ask for advice concerning vaccines and other healthcare related issues. As an international student at VU Amsterdam, you can register at the University General PracticeThe Public Health Service of Amsterdam also offers specific information for students regarding the coronavirus.

    Students that received their first vaccination abroad and need a second jab can fill in this application form from the Dutch government, after sending this form you will receive a confirmation. If you are entitled to a second vaccination, you will receive a written invitation to make an appointment at one of the GGD vaccination locations. This will be one of the following vaccins: Astra-Zeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech en ModeRNA.

    For general questions please call 0800-1351 (available between 8 AM and 8 PM) or call the Public Health Service of Amsterdam on 020 - 555 5202 (available between 8 AM and 8 PM)

Education, health and well-being

  • Questions regarding enrolment for current students

    My current residence permit will expire soon. What can I do?

    If your current study permit will expire within three months, you can apply for an extension. You need to be re-enrolled for the academic year 2021-2022 and you need to have obtained a sufficient amount of study credits (please see “Satisfactory Academic Progress” on this website).

    During the first week of September, the International Office will send you an instruction email about the extension procedure. Please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl if you have any questions or concerns about this matter.

    Will the BSA standard remain in place for the first year?

    For the academic year 2020-2021, it has been decided to lower the standard for the BSA by 6 EC for all first-year students, due to the Corona measures. So if the standard of your study program is 42 EC, this will now be 36 EC. If it is 48 EC, this will be 42 EC.

    For the academic year 2021-2022 the regular BSA standard is in place again.

    I already have a postponed BSA, does the new BSA standard also apply to me?

    No, the new BSA standard does not apply to students who have already been granted an extension. The standard that applied in their first year of study before a postponement was granted, applies to them.

    I am an international Bachelor's/Master's student and I want to terminate my enrolment. What can I do?

    Degree students can request to terminate their enrolment via www.studielink.nl. These requests will be approved by the Student Administration starting on the last day of the month in which the request was received. Should you decide to terminate your enrolment you can do so per 1 April, 1 May, 1 June, 1 July or 1 August.

    More information about terminating your enrolment can be found on VUnet or contact studentdesk@vu.nl.

    If I terminate the enrolment will I receive part of my tuition fees back?

    Yes. You are entitled to a partial restitution of the tuition fee if the request is received by May 31st (date of de-enrolment no later than May 31st). You are not eligible for restitution if you de-enrol in June, July, or August.

    After terminating the enrolment can I still take classes online?

    No. Terminating your enrolment means that you will no longer be able to take any classes online or otherwise. You will be able to re-enrol for the upcoming academic year starting on 1 September (deadline re-enrolment is 31 August).

    Can I re-enrol and resume with the programme at any given time?

    No. In the Netherlands you can only enrol for the starting period of 1 September (and 1 February for a few programmes).

    What happens if I do stay enrolled?

    If you decide to remain enrolled you can follow remote classes while being at home and return to Amsterdam when possible. More information can be found on Canvas.

    Will I have to pay an additional amount for the tuition fee if I do not graduate in time?

    This depends on your personal situation. After you have completed your studies (and the graduation date has officially been set) you can request a reimbursement of the overpayment of the tuition fee. You can submit the request with the Student Administration via studentdesk@vu.nl. Please always mention your student number and include proof where applicable.

    Will I get my proof of enrolment?

    You can download a Declaration of Registration (proof of enrolment) from your VUnet Status Overview.

  • Information about travelling abroad and internships for current students

    I'm traveling abroad soon for VU Amsterdam. Are there any restrictions due to the coronavirus, should I cancel my trip?

    Travel is only possible to areas that have positive (green or yellow) travel advice. However, in the context of Corona, there are still many uncertainties that could potentially lead to rapid and unexpected changes in travel advice which can lead to an early return. It is therefore advisable with travel advice yellow to only cross the border if a trip is necessary and cannot be postponed. Students (research, internships, fieldwork, etc.) and researchers who still want to go abroad with code yellow need the approval of their tutor or supervisor. Any costs in the event of cancellation or early return due to a new outbreak will not be reimbursed from central means. For exchange programmes the previously communicated guidelines will continue to apply. Employees can contact their supervisor for advice, students can contact the International Office (international@vu.nl).

    See specific information about VU travel policy on VUnet.

    Does this also apply to private journeys?

    It is important to carefully follow RIVM and local guidelines during your holiday. Just before departure, consult the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the specific Q&A of the central government for travel to and from abroad. Some destinations are subject to quarantine regulations upon return to the Netherlands, please keep this in mind. After returning from abroad, we appeal to your own responsibility regarding coming to campus to prevent any possible spread of the coronavirus. At all times: if you suffer from a cold, or a roommate has a fever and/or is stuffy, stay at home and do not come to VU Amsterdam.

    Employees and students of ACTA and VUmc School of Medical Sciences are subject to the guidelines and information of ACTA and Amsterdam UMC.

    If I return to my home country, do I have to deregister at the municipality where I lived?

    If you cancel your room and return to your home country, you must deregister from the municipality where you lived.

    I have a (foreign) internship planned. Are there any restrictions due to the coronavirus?

    VU Amsterdam follows the guidelines of the RIVM. If the company where you are going to do your internship is working on location, it is allowed to do your internship on location again. If this is not the case, please contact your internship coordinator.

    For internships abroad it is only possible to travel to areas that have a positive (green or yellow) travel advice. In the context of corona, however, there are still many uncertainties that may lead to rapid and unexpected changes in travel advice resulting in early return. In the case of travel advice yellow should therefore only cross the border if a trip is necessary and cannot be postponed. Students who want to go abroad in case of code yellow must discuss this with their tutor.

  • Healthcare and health insurance

    I’m an EU student and I have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Does the EHIC cover COVID-19 related medical costs?

    EU students with a valid EHIC have a right to basic health care in the host country. In the Netherlands this also means that emergency costs, such as hospitalization, are covered. Even if similar costs would not be covered in your home country, they will be covered during your stay here according to Dutch law. If you need to go to the hospital, you can show your valid EHIC and your hospital bills will be sent directly to Zilveren Kruis, our national insurance body appointed by the Dutch government to arrange reimbursements from abroad. Zilveren Kruis will then take care of the reimbursements from the insurance company in your home country.

    I’m an EU student but I don’t have any insurance. What should I do?

    If you’re an EU student and you are not insured or your EHIC is expired, it is very important that you apply for an EHIC or extend your contract as soon as possible in your home country. If this is not possible, you can apply for a private insurance in the Netherlands.

    I’m an EU or non-EU student with a valid private insurance from my home country. Does this cover COVID-19 related medical costs?

    Please check with your own insurance provider which costs are covered during your stay in the Netherlands. If you need extra coverage, you can apply for additional private insurance in the Netherlands. You can contact Aon in case you need additional insurance. Please note certain conditions may apply when registering for additional insurance.

    I’m an EU or non-EU student with a valid Aon student insurance. Does this cover COVID-19 related medical costs?

    With the Aon Complete+ insurance package you are covered for treatments for COVID-19, including hospitalization. Hospital bills will be sent directly to Aon.

    If you have returned to your home country, are a registered VU student following online education there, and you haven’t cancelled your Aon insurance, you will be covered for medical costs in your home country up to 8 weeks under the Aon Student Insurance.

    I cannot find my question here. What do I need to do?

    We recommend reading our information sheet on health care and health insurance in the Netherlands.

  • Mental health

    I’m struggling to adapt to this situation and change in lifestyle. What are some tips and tricks to help me adjust?

    Our student psychologists have set up some tips and tricks for you to help you cope with the changes in your daily life. In this document, you can also find some apps and websites for extra help.

    I need someone to talk to, advice or some extra help because of quarantine or self-isolation.

    Red Cross Helpline can help you with questions and advice regarding the Corona virus and measures that have been taken. You can call them at 070 4455888. Most volunteers speak English, or they will try to find someone within their team as soon as possible.

    If you wish to talk to a mental health professional you can call 0900 1450 (15ct p/minute) or use chat, Whatsapp or e-mail services. Most mental health professionals speak English, or they will try to find someone within their team as soon as possible.

    Furthermore, Therapieland offers free online modules (in English) to help you cope with the stress and anxiety during the corona-outbreak.

    I have study-related issues like stress, a low mood, concentration issues or worries about others. Who can I contact for help?

    Please send an e-mail to the student psychological counsellors (psychologists@vu.nl). They will contact you and discuss with you the type of help they can provide.

    I’m experiencing psychological issues or have questions about psychological issues. Where can I find help?

    You may want to look for an online treatment by a psychologist. There are online treatments available (E-health), and several psychologists offer online treatment. I-practice offers a telephone consultation hour for questions about mental health and Corona (www.ipractice.nl).

    Another possibility in Amsterdam is InterBeing, a group of international psychologists who are specialized in supporting international students in the Netherlands. They are also offering online sessions.

    In case you are already receiving treatment for your issues, or have received treatment before, contact your (previous) therapist or GP.

    If you have thoughts about death or suicide, or worry about somebody you know, call 0900-0113, or visit www.113.nl/english for help with suicide prevention 24/7.

  • Financial issues

    If you have financial problems resulting from the corona crisis, for example because you no longer have a part-time job, we advise you to consult the information on VUnet.