This section is aimed at all international students currently enrolled at VU Amsterdam and prospective master students applying for the September 2021 intake. 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.
This section is aimed at all international students currently enrolled at VU Amsterdam and prospective master students applying for the September 2021 intake. To make sure you can make informed decisions, below you will find explanations of different scenarios and their consequences.
General questions and information about the VU Campus
Through Canvas and rooster.vu.nl students are informed about this. All other students are requested not to come to the campus yet and to abide by the national measures.
If you can't study at home or take an exam, there are a limited number of places available on campus. These are specifically designated places on campus for students who really don't have the opportunity to study. If you have a cold (such as sniffing, sneezing, sore throat, high sore throat, etc.) or more serious complaints, stay at home. If you have a roommate with more serious complaints, stay at home. You can read more information about the possibilities here.
- Mail for general questions to [email protected].
- Questions about Pure can be sent to UBVU PURE Support via [email protected]
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.
Education, Lectures & Exams
Teaching activities and exams take place in principle online. Now that the national measures are more flexible, a start can be made from 15 June with education that really has to take place on campus. Think of practicals. Students will be informed about this via Canvas. All other students are requested not to come to the campus yet and to adhere to the measures of the central government.
First semester new academic year
No decision has been made yet on the format of education for the first semester of the cohort 2021-2022. An official decision will hopefully be made by the university in May.
The timetables for September and October (period 1) are available mid-July here.
All exams will be held remotely. That way, we can keep the campus space free for education that has to take place on campus. Students that cannot be physically present can then also participate. Another opportunity for resits will be planned within this academic year.
The course coordinators will provide more clarity on education and exams via Canvas.
It is still necessary to sign up for your exams and the regular registration term applies, so two weeks before the exam date. Please make sure to register.
Tip: you can set Canvas to notify you when there are updates!
Exams continue to take place remotely. Only for students who really can't take an exam at home or in their own environment, the VU offers a limited number of exam places. We assume that you make a careful assessment yourself and only use these places if there are insurmountable obstacles in your private environment. Please follow the national instructions.
All the information below can be found extensively on VUnet.
If you decide to take your exam at the VU, you need to register in advance to make sure there is a place available. Please register at least 3 working days in advance via this registration form. Make sure you mention all the details. Then you will receive a confirmation of the exam spot and the assigned location. Do you have any questions? Send an email to [email protected].
We assume that you will be bringing your own laptop to take the exam. If you do not own a laptop, try to borrow or rent one. If this not an option, please indicate this on your application. If this is the case, we will provide you with a VU laptop. Please note that availability is limited.
If your exam includes online invigilation, this will also be the case if you make use of one of the exam spots on campus.
The spots are available Monday through Friday during regular exam times to VU students only.
VU Amsterdam will only use remote assessment with online monitoring (online proctoring) if the Examination Board has deemed it necessary. You do not need to consent to the use of online monitoring. This is because the university has a legitimate interest in using online monitoring while students cannot come to the university and in cases where the Examination Board has ruled that there is no other alternative.
We understand that this raises questions regarding privacy. We take these concerns very seriously, and will make every effort to ensure that all personal data is handled carefully and securely. When using new educational tools, we will therefore consider in advance whether these are appropriate and, if so, under what circumstances and conditions. A tool will only be used if it meets the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and meets the needs of both students and teaching staff.
Everything about taking exams with online proctoring can be found on this page. This site contains detailed instructions on procedures to follow, taking a test exam, equipment to use, what to do if there are problems and privacy.
This Microsoft Office 365 for Students package contains the well-known Office 365 applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. You also get access to Microsoft Teams to chat and collaborate live in documents with fellow students. The advantage of this package is that it is an online cloud service, so you always have access to your files and the latest version of the Office programs.
You can download the package in the following way:
1. Go to https://portal.office.com
2. Log in with your VU email address ([email protected] or [email protected]) and password.
3. Download Microsoft Office 365 for students
For a more detailed explanation on the installation of Microsoft Office 365 for Students, see the Office 365 for Students page on the askIT services portal.
Please note: if you have already purchased Microsoft Office 365 via SURFspot, you will need to log in once again to one of the Office 365 for Students applications (such as Word) with your VU email address.
Student Wellbeing - Healthcare and Health insurance
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 canceled your Aon insurance, you will be covered for medical costs in your home country up to 8 weeks under the Aon Student Insurance.
Student Wellbeing - Mental Health
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.
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.
Please send an e-mail to the student psychological counsellors ([email protected]). They will contact you and discuss with you the type of help they can provide.
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
Travel abroad & Internships
See specific information about VU travel policy on vunet.
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 cramped, stay at home and do not come to the VU.
Employees and students of ACTA and VUmc School of Medical Sciences are subject to the guidelines and information of ACTA and Amsterdam UMC.
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.
There is no deadline for applying for our housing service. Accommodation will be assigned on a first-paid, first-served basis. The date on which VU Amsterdam receives the housing fee payment will determine your place in the queue.
Are there still rooms available during the second semester of 2020/21?
We have a limited selection of rooms available during the second semester of 2020/21. If you are still looking for accommodation from January until August 2021, please send a message to [email protected]. We will then manually create a housing application, after which you can pay the 250 EUR housing fee.
Cancellation and refund of the VU housing fee
The VU housing fee becomes non-refundable once we have offered you accommodation. For questions about your current rental contract, please send a message to [email protected].
Visa & Immigration
VU Amsterdam will apply for a visa/residence permit on your behalf after you have been (conditionally) admitted. The visa/residence permit application procedure for the academic year 2021-2022 will open in VUnet 28 April 2021. Please note that it is not possible to apply for a visa and/or residence permit before 28 April 2021.
The deadline for uploading the documents for your visa/residence permit application procedure is 1 June for the first (September) semester.
Please keep in mind that the application procedure takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Especially during these unpredictable times, we advise our students to start the immigration procedure in time.
On our website you can find a detailed timeline of the total procedure.
Prospective students who wish to start the academic year 2021-2022 in September in Amsterdam, are advised to start their visa/residence permit application procedure before June 1st.
It is always possible to cancel your visa / residence permit application (e.g. because of future travel restrictions or local measures against the corona virus in your home country for instance). As soon as you can travel to the Netherlands again, we will submit a new visa application for you to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND). You might have to pay for the visa fee again in this case.
If the University has already applied for your visa/residence permit when you wish to cancel your application, the visa fee is non-refundable. The fee is only refundable if you cancel your application before the VU submits your visa/residence permit application to the IND.
Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about your cancellation.
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.
possible. Please check the Corona page on the website of the IND regularly.
Please contact [email protected] if you decide not to come. Briefly explain your situation:
-Why did you decide to stay in your home country?
-Are you still enrolled for one of our study programmes and are you following classes online? Or did you cancel your enrolment?
-When do you expect to travel to the Netherlands
If applicable: did you collect the entry visa at the embassy/consulate already? If so, what is the expiry date of your MVV?
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 [email protected] in that case.
Lastly, be aware that there will be less flights or flights might be cancelled due to the (local) restrictions.
-When did you leave the Netherlands?
-Did you inform us back then?
-Did you deregister yourself from the municipality (BRP)? If so, when?
-When do you expect to return to the Netherlands?
Students with a Dutch residence permit are expected to have their main residence in the Netherlands. When the main residence is moved to a place outside the Netherlands then the residence permit can be revoked.
Please be aware that you are allowed to stay outside the Netherlands for a limited period of time:
• If you left the Netherlands before September 2020 then you must return within 12 months of your departure for your residence permit to remain valid.
• If you left the Netherlands between September 2020 and 1 March 2021 then you must return before 1 September 2021 for your residence permit to remain valid.
• If you left (will leave) the Netherlands after 1 March 2021 then you must return to the Netherlands within 6 months of your departure for your residence permit to remain valid.
If you reside outside of the Netherlands for a longer period, then we would have to deregister your study permit at the IND. This won’t jeopardize your enrolment status, but you do have to apply for a new visa/residence permit procedure if you want to return to the Netherlands in the (near) future.
Please contact [email protected] so that we can look at your specific situation.
On this website from the Dutch government you can find the most recent information.
Measures for travelling, living, quarantine and vaccinations
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.
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.
- Students and staff coming from red or orange areas 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!
- Buy/ 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?
From 15 December 2020 6:00 PM, some travelers must show a negative coronavirus test result when they enter the Netherlands. And a statement about the test, which travelers have to complete themselves. This does not apply to everyone. For example not to students who hold a valid long stay visa (MVV) or students who hold a letter of notification from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Read who exactly should have a negative coronavirus test on the website of the Dutch government.
If you do not hold the IND letter yet, please contact [email protected].
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 test is available for passengers from orange/red countries. Be aware that a negative test does not replace the self-quarantine periode.
- 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 in the Netherlands?
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.
Should I go into self-quarantine?
Students travelling from red or orange areas need to go in self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands, check here. Some areas are exempted, please check the following page of the Dutch government for actual information.
It does not matter whether an area has an orange /red travel advice or if this changes during the first weeks after you arrived in the Netherlands. In both cases you must self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands. If a country has an orange travel advice for reasons other than health, you do not need to self-quarantine.
What are the general rules for self-quarantine?
The rules on self-quarantine are published here by the Dutch government.
- We expect you to have to stay in your room for 10 days after arriving in The Netherland.
- 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!
If you cannot find a fellow student to help you out, please contact ESN-VU Amsterdam for help: ESN WhatsApp chat group.
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.
- Contact ESN VU Amsterdam via their WhatsAppgroup:
ESN VU Amsterdam aims to create a platform for international students and intercultural awareness. They do this by hosting different events (parties, game nights, pub quizzes, city tours, etc.), as well as sharing valuable content on their social media. Are you coming to Amsterdam and looking for a safe international community? Looking to connect with local and international students?
Got any questions regarding university/Amsterdam/life? Need support in quarantine? ESN is here for you! Join their WhatsApp chat, and feel free to tell them about yourself and to ask any questions or requests you might need help with, including doing your groceries! Please note you will need a PayPal account for their grocery services.
ESN WhatsApp chat group
Follow ESN on Instagram for updates and join their Facebook group
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 meters 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
Flight bans for students/staff travelling from South Africa, Cabo Verde, The Dominican Republic and all the countries in South America.
- A flight ban is in force for passenger flights from the following other countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
- At present the flight ban is expected to remain in force until at least April 1st.
- More information can be found here.
Students travelling from other countries than South Africa and South America
- Students from other non-EU countries 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 [email protected] 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.
Required Covid-19 tests
The Dutch government requires passengers from high-risk countries (that are not on the EU list of safe countries) to show a double negative Covid-19 test result before travelling to the Netherlands:
-You are required to show a negative PCR COVID-19 test result if you are travelling to the Netherlands which is not older than 72 hours.
-And passengers travelling to the Netherlands must also provide proof that they have tested negative for coronavirus following a rapid test directly before departure (not older than 4 hours before departure). Information about both tests can be found here.
Flight bans for students/staff tr-Students travelling from a safe country, where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low, do not need to show a negative test result when travelling to the Netherlands.
-Please check the Safe / Unsafe country list regularly, the status of countries may change.
All persons living in the Netherlands and registered with the municipality are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, also international students and staff. We advise you to register a.s.a.p. after the quarantine period.
At the moment, priority is given to start with the most vulnerable in society. Starting from May 2021, people from 18-60 are planned to be vaccinated. More information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme can be found here.
International students who follow an internship / work in the medical field are advised to contact the specific organization to know more about the COVID-19 vaccination.
In specific cases, a general practitioner may inform the student directly about a COVID-19 vaccination.
February intake 2021 - (pre)master students
Our education will continue as a combination of on campus and online education. We strongly advise all of our students to join us in Amsterdam.
We would obviously like to provide more physical education, at the same time safety is paramount and the available space on campus is limited due to the corona measures. This means that, as long as the situation allows, we will make room on campus for small-scale education, study and student guidance. Much of the education will be provided online.
If students are unable to come to VU Amsterdam for scheduled courses on campus because of corona measures, we will offer alternative online educational opportunities. Unfortunately, an online alternative is not possible for location-based education, such as practicals or teaching in laboratories.
On https://rooster.vu.nl/schedule you can check your schedule. The schedule shows you which educational activities will be held on campus. The schedule shows you which educational activities will be held on campus. If your schedule does not show a location, the programme will be offered online. Your teachers will use Canvas to provide you with further information on the content of your courses.
For the most recent updates regarding the corona measures and subsequent changes to education at VU Amsterdam please keep an eye on this page.
Prospective degree students (Bachelor and Master) – September 2021 intake
A certified copy means that the copy of the actual diploma needs to bear an original stamp and signature of an authorized person or institution or an employee of your high school or university. The stamp and signature indicate that it is a genuine copy of the actual diploma.
The certified diploma copy can be sent to the following address:
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
If your diploma is not issued in English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Latin, please also submit an English translation by a sworn translator.
Please note that you only need to send us this document in case you gain admission. Additional information can also be found on our What happens after admission page.
You can already apply online even if you did not take an English language test yet. This is not part of the initial application. In case you gain admission we will need to receive the results before June (non-EU students) or in August (EU students). You can send the results via email to your International Student Advisor(s). Their contact details can be found here.
Please note that for the academic year 2021-2022 we are also accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. The test is available everywhere that TOEFL iBT testing is normally available, with the exception of Mainland China and Iran.
Spring intake 2021 Semester in Amsterdam students
Spring intake 2021 Exchange students
Is your question not answered here?
Please send an e-mail to the incoming exchange team ([email protected]) or visit the exchange website: www.vu.nl/exchange.