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Visa, housing & orientation

What to do if you're an international PhD applicant or a visiting PhD candidate?

All you need to know if you are an international PhD applicant or a visiting PhD candidate/student.

Visa, housing, language & orientation

  • Visa and Immigration

    The International Office is happy to help in arranging visa and immigration formalities for international PhDs. This information is also applicable for visiting PhDs.

    As procedures for foreign nationals can be quite lengthy, the International Office would like to receive the application in VUnet at least two months prior to the intended start date.

    How can you arange this?
    The first step in the process is to initiate the hospitality agreement or employment contract in VUnet. Your supervisor has to do this for you. Depending on your nationality and period, the International Office will contact you with information regarding the immigration procedure applicable to the situation (in the form of the offer letter). If necessary, the International Office will apply for the required permits. Please note that you can only start your research activities when the respective authorities have issued the permits.

    European Union and EEA Citizens
    No permits are required for this group.

    Short stay of maximum 90 days
    PhDs who will stay no longer than 90 days in the Netherlands do not require a residence permit. Depending on their nationality, they are either allowed to stay here on their passport or they need to apply for a short stay visa at the Dutch representation in their home country. Unfortunately, a short stay visa needs to be arranged by the foreign national; the International Office cannot assist in this matter. In many cases, a work permit is required as well but, again, here are some exceptions as well. The International Office will therefore judge the application and provide advice on the matter.

    Long stay of more than 90 days.
    Generally PhDs with a Non-EU nationality will require a Dutch residence permit. Depending on the nationality, the person may require an entry visa and residence permit or only a residence permit. Usually, the type of permit we have to apply for includes a work permit exemption. The International Office will apply for the required visa and/or residence permit.

    For inquiries please contact (note that you can only arrange your visa after your supervisor has started the admission process):

  • Housing / accommodation

  • Dutch language courses

    At VU Amsterdam we provide intensive Dutch language courses for students. There are daytime and evening courses as well as a course on Saturdays. Please consult their NT2 website for more information on application as well as fee. Fee reduction is possible for doctoral candidates.

    Alternatively, there is Taalcentrum-VU which focuses on language training, education and translation. They provide language courses for a variety of languages and translations from and into any language.

  • Bridging programme

    VU International Office is organizing an intensive two-WEEK ONLINE Bridging Programme aimed to better prepare new incoming (international and Dutch) PhD candidates for their PhD trajectories. The programme counts on the participation of  professors from the Graduate School of Social Sciences, VU Library as well as CIS-Center for International Cooperation.

    It contains 4 modules, each containing training elements and awarding credits. The programme is scheduled for October 2020, lasts for 2 weeks online and PhD candidates can earn maximum 5.5 ECs. (see below) 

    When: 26 October -6 November 2020
    Where: online
    Who: all new and incoming PhD candidates

    Module 1: Orientation Session1 (INCLUDES Welcome Programme; Navigating Dutch Academia Workshop; VU Library Research Data Management Training) (0.5 EC)
    Module 2: Soft Skills Module (1 EC)
    Module 3: Developing Academic Competencies (2 EC)
    Module 4: Academic English Writing (2 EC) (includes individual online sessions)

    The fee for the bridging program is 150 Euro per credit per candidate for participation ; Module 1 is free of charge.
    Combination of 2 modules (either Module 2,3,4): 150 Euros discount
    Combination of 3 modules (Module 2,3,4): 200 Euros discount.
    Participation in full programme 750 Euros. 
    (please note that discounts are non-cumulative)

    NOTE:  Please inquire via your supervisor and the respective graduate school about the possibilities of participation and reimbursement. 

    Coordinator: Sandra Hasanefendic, Director International PhD Recruitment and Promotion, VU International Office,