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International travel policy for students

Last updated on 22 June 2023
This page provides practicalities to prepare for your stay abroad and what to do or whom to contact in case of a crisis.

Going abroad is a valuable experience, but a solid preparation is essential. Please carefully go over this checklist as a guideline to properly prepare yourself. In case of an unexpected termination of your stay abroad, we will do our utmost to support your return and avoid study delay as much as possible. Please note, VU Amsterdam is not financially responsible for any emergencies abroad.

VU Amsterdam follows the travel advice of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In case of code orange or red you are not allowed to travel abroad for study, work or research purposes. If the travel advice changes to code orange or red during your stay abroad, your immediate departure will be requested by your supervisor or the International Office ( 


  • Step 1: Registering your stay abroad

    When going on exchange, your details are already known by the Outgoing Exchange team and your stay is automatically registered, so you do not have to register online. However, please make sure to fill out your emergency contact details in your Mobility Online workflow. If you are planning to go abroad as a free mover, for a summer school, for an internship or fieldwork, you first have to register your stay abroad in your dashboard on Students can register in My Dashboard > Apps > Application exchange & registration internship/ free mover/ summer school abroad > Registration internship/free mover. If you are going abroad as a group, you need to register as well. If you forget to register your stay, VU Amsterdam will not be able to locate and contact you in case of emergency. 

    The registration in My Dashboard happens automatically. Allowances will only be paid if travelling is allowed (positive travel advice).

  • Step 2: Inform yourself about the travel advice and follow this advice

    If you travel abroad, it is compulsory to inform VU International Office. VU Amsterdam follows the travel advice of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MinBuZa). You can find the travel code of your destination here. The destinations for foreign stay are classified by VU Amsterdam in 4 categories, as shown below. 

    Please note that you always need approval of your supervisor to travel abroad. Supervisors need to consult the International Office in case of code orange. 

    Please sign up to receive regular travel advice updates via and download the Travel app of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for real-time security updates during your trip. Frequently check the travel advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and take measures if necessary. We also advise you to discuss safety measures with the party that is welcoming you abroad.  

    • a. Destinations with code green: no special safety risks.
      You can travel without major risks. The degree of safety risks are similar to the Netherlands. However, travellers must always be alert and make sure you keep yourself updated with the latest news and happenings.
    • b. Destinations with code yellow: safety risks
      There are safety risks in this country. Circumstances are different from the Netherlands. Prepare for this and take special care (politically, medically, etc.). Please also make sure you are aware of possible entry restrictions. Please discuss the risks with your manager or supervisor.
    • c. Destinations with code orange: travel only if necessary
      There are serious safety risks in this country or area and daily life could be disrupted. Circumstances could be dangerous. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises you only to travel to this destination if necessary.

      --> Travelling for study or research purposes is never considered necessary. Students cannot travel to this destination. If a student is already in an area that changes to code orange, his/her immediate departure will be requested by their supervisor or the International Office ( 

      In exceptional cases, such as related research to the region or if a student has chosen his home country to do his/her internship or research project, students will only get permission to travel to this destination or stay in this region after having consulted the International Office.

      Students going abroad for their internship or research need to contact their supervisor first. If their supervisor thinks an exception should be made, the supervisor needs to reach out to the International Office directly ( A conversation will take place in which possible risks will be discussed and an individual recommendation will be given. This recommendation is binding; without authorisation, students cannot travel. 
    • d. Destinations with code red: do not travel
      There is a clear safety risk in this region (eg. in case of war) with life-threatening circumstances. The security of students cannot be guaranteed, therefore the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises not to travel to this destination.

      --> Absolutely no student can get authorisation to depart to this destination. If a student is already in an area that changes to code red his/her immediate departure will be requested. 

    Note: different color codes can occur within one country/region. For further questions about the travel advice, please contact the International Office via or +31 (0)20 59 85745. Please also check for updates via

  • Step 3: Arrange your insurance

    • We advise you to carefully look into your health and liability insurance. Ask your medical insurance company if your policy covers overseas emergencies such as repatriation or hospitalisation during your entire stay abroad or if you need additional health care insurance. The same applies to your liability insurance, which is highly recommendable to arrange to cover incidents for which you can be held personally liable.
    • Check via Gabrielle Zegers if your travel is insured through the university’s insurance policy. For students travelling for study purposes it is obligatory to arrange your own travel insurance. Check whether the travel insurance covers financial and other support in the event of evacuation in crisis situations.  
    • If you are travelling within Europe, get the free European Health Insurance Card, issued by your national health insurance provider. It gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. Please note, it is not an alternative to travel insurance. 
  • Step 4: Practical matters

    • Educate yourself about the country that you will travel to. If you plan to travel around to several countries, do the same for the other countries you intend to visit.
    • In case you travel by yourself for an internship or research project, please discuss how to create a social safety net with your supervisor (in case of emergency, but also to prevent social isolation) by, for example, making specific agreements with the receiving organisation.
    • Check whether the host institution has a policy in place for their students regarding safety & security procedures and emergency measures. You need to familiarise yourself with these procedures and measures and comply with the security policy and instructions issued by the host institution and/or VU Amsterdam.
    • Register with the Dutch embassy or the embassy of your home country. The embassy can contact you in a crisis situation and will keep you up to date about the travel advice and possible evacuation.
    • Pre-program local emergency numbers into your cell phone, including your own In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact person, whom can be contacted by local emergency services under your ICE contacts of your phone (accessible without phone lock). Make sure you have registered your ICE contact in your student contact details as well. 
    • Make copies of important documents: passport, driving license, tickets, bank cards, insurance policies/health insurance card, proof of vaccination, medical statements, address and phone number of the Dutch Embassy in your host country. 
    • Bring enough medical supplies for the length of your visit and any unexpected delays if you have a medical condition. Medical supplies may be difficult to get in some countries and in remote areas. Do check the legal status of medicines and how medicines are regulated for the destinations(s) you're visiting.  
    • Check which vaccinations are required for the country you are travelling to. Please remember that during your period abroad you may also want to travel in the surrounding area. Don’t forget to bring your medical (GGD) passport with you during your time abroad.
    • Upon arrival, register with a local General Practitioner in case a care need arises or if it already exists.
    • Check the possibilities and nearest location for first AID in the area you are visiting and any other safety measures you can take through the website of the Dutch Embassy.  
    • Check the Nuffic website for additional tips for study and internships abroad.
    • All students going on exchange must attend the pre-departure sessions, including safety training, offered by the International Office. Students will also receive a pre-departure checklist with practical information.
  • In case of emergency or incident during your stay abroad

    In case of an emergency, first call the national emergency number of your host country. Take note that 112 is the number to contact the emergency services in any EU country and 911 in the Americas.

    Pre-program local emergency numbers into your cell phone, including your own In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact person, whom can be contacted by local emergency services under your ICE contacts of your phone (accessible without phone lock). Make sure you have registered your ICE contact in you student contact details as well. 

    Information or assistance from your travel insurer or the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    If you need more information or require assistance, please contact your travel insurer or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    • by telephone at +31 247 247 247
    • via Twitter at @24/7BZ

    Changes in travel advice
    What to do when the travel advice changes to code orange or red? Leave the country or area as soon and safely as possible. Follow the advice from your own embassy. See contact details of the Dutch Ministry of foreign affairs above.

  • Social safety during your stay abroad

    In case of an incident or experienced unwanted behaviour, contact your VU supervisor, your local supervisor and/or local international office for support and advice. For more information on unwanted behavior, please check our Social Safety website at

  • Useful contact information

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice 
    Via this link you will be able to find the travel advice for your destination

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
    This link provides an overview of all Dutch embassies and consulates abroad

    BZ 24/7 Contact Centre 
    If you need help and advice you can call +31247247247, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This is an initiative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

    Global Travel Warnings 
    Nations Online Project collects travel warnings on a global scale. This website provides regularly updated travel advice by the governments of various countries: 

    Travel applications for your mobile phone 
    A few useful travel apps: 

    • International SOS Assistance App: information about medical help and safety. 
    • Travel Safe Pro: collects all emergency contact numbers and embassy addresses for specific countries. 
    • Travel Smart: provides numbers for emergency services by destination and offers a comprehensive list of hospitals in 129 countries. 

    ANWB emergency centre 
    The Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB offers a wide range of services related to roadside assistance and medical and repatriation assistance abroad. Since 2012 the ANWB coordinates assistance in case of emergencies abroad when Dutch citizens are involved. 
    ANWB website (in Dutch)

    Health insurance abroad
    Nederland wereldwijd (in Dutch)

    GGD Reisvaccinaties (in Dutch)