Information for Prospective students

This section is intended for all international students who are considering applying to VU Amsterdam, who are in the process of applying or who have already been admitted. As you are trying to complete your application and enrolment, we know that you might be facing some hurdles due to the current circumstances. Below you will find updates regarding application deadlines, submitting your English language test results and certified copy of diploma, visa and housing and other relevant topics.

Admission and application

I have applied for a Bachelor’s programme, but I haven’t received a response yet.
At the moment the International Office works remotely, following the guidelines of our National Institute for Public Health and Environment. We do our best to process your application as soon as possible, but it might take a bit longer than usual.

Will the application deadline be extended for Bachelor’s programmes?
Yes. The application deadline for EU/EEA students has been extended from 1 May to 1 June.
The application deadline for non-EU/EEA students has been extended from 1 April to 1 May.

Please note that the application deadline for the Psychology Bachelor’s programme has already passed due to the Numerus Fixus procedure. Applications for 2021/2022 can be submitted from October 2020 onwards.

My secondary education final exams have been cancelled. Can I still be admitted to a Bachelor’s programme?
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is aware that the corona virus is causing problems for many secondary education students who are supposed to graduate this year. We are staying on top of the latest developments regarding cancellations of final exams and will do our best to support you in these extraordinary circumstances.
We will, in principle, be accepting secondary education diplomas - if accredited by an official accreditation body - as being on an equivalent level as the regular diplomas listed here. This includes IB diplomas and A-levels. In case specific exam grades are required to meet the admission requirements we will assess your qualifications on a case-by-case basis. If you have any concerns make sure to contact your International Student Advisor.  

I have sent a certified copy of my diploma to VU Amsterdam, but I have not received a confirmation of receipt/verification.
Our staff works remotely until at least 1 June. This results in a longer processing time of hard copy documents. We will do our best to verify your documents as soon as possible and update your VUnet applications status.

My conditional admission letter stated I need to take an entrance examination for admission in the Netherlands. What will happen if I won’t be able to take this test in time?
If you have applied for the Psychology Bachelor’s programme and you only need to take the mathematics entrance exam, an online test has been made available. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to take part in this exam.
If you have applied for any other Bachelor’s programme and need to take exams in mathematics or history, in many cases you can take these tests online (please check the application website of your programme or your admission letter about the test options). If you have to take a test in a different subject (e.g. Biology, Physics, etc.), unfortunately there is no alternative means of testing available. Please keep an eye on the Boswell-Bèta and CCVX websites for any new updates. This means you still need to take the entrance test(s) in the Netherlands before the required deadline to be able to start your studies in September.

Please note that the deadline for submitting test results has been extended to July 1st for non-EU/EEA students who need to apply for a study visa. This deadline remains August 31st for EU/EEA students. For questions you can contact your International Student Advisor.

I’m not able to submit the required documents for application because my school/university is closed.
Please contact your International Student Advisor for advice about your specific situation. Please note that at the moment of applying, you do not need to hand in your English test results and copy of your diploma. We also accept an unofficial transcript of records for the application procedure.

I’m not able to take the English language test in my country because test centers are closed.
EU students have until August 31st to obtain their English test results. Therefore there are no exemptions for this group yet. For non-EU students, the deadline to submit English language test results has been extended to July 1st. We are now 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.

I might not be able to travel to the Netherlands for the start of the academic year 2020-2021 due to the current situation.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is aware that there are currently travel restrictions active that could make it difficult for you to travel to the Netherlands. We are staying on top of the latest developments and will actively inform you by means of newsletters and Q&A's on how to proceed. Please get in touch with your International Student Advisor if you would like to discuss your personal situation.

I’m a Chinese national and have to apply for the Nuffic certificate, but am not able to take the English test.
At the moment you can apply for the certificate without your English test results. Once you obtain the results of your English test you can send it to your International Student Advisor and add them to your Nuffic application.

I would like to make use of the VU housing services, but am still in the process of my application.
There is no deadline for applying for our housing service, as we process on a first paid, first served basis. The option to apply will become visible in VUnet once you are eligible, i.e. you don’t have any remaining deficiencies.

Due to the current situation I am not sure if I can commence my studies in September, but I’ve already made use of the VU housing service.
Students commencing their studies in 2020-2021 can cancel their housing option until August 1st without any costs incurred. After this date, the housing fee will become non-refundable if you have received an accommodation offer from VU.

I am a non-EU student and need a study visa.
The deadline for handing in your visa application has been extended to July 1st. You’ll be able to start this procedure on the 1st of April in VUnet. You can find information about the procedure here.

Is your question not answered here?

General emails can be sent to [email protected]. If you are already in the process of applying, please get in touch with your International Student Advisor. Their contact details can be found here.

I have applied for a Master’s programme, but I haven’t received a response yet.
At the moment the International Office works remotely, following the guidelines of our National Institute for Public Health and Environment. We do our best to process your application as soon as possible, but it might take a bit longer than usual.

Will the application deadline be extended for Master’s programmes?
The application deadline for non-EU/EEA students has been extended from 1 April to 1 May.
The application deadline for EU/EEA students remains unchanged: 1 June or 15 July, depending on the programme you are applying for. Check the programme page to find out what the application deadline is for your programme.

I’m not able to submit the required documents for application because my school/university is closed.
Please contact your International Student Advisor for advice about your specific situation. Please note that at the moment of applying, you do not need to hand in your Tish test results and copy of your diploma. We also accept an unofficial transcript of records for the application procedure.

My exams are postponed until further notice. I might not able to send my diploma in time.
You don’t need to send in your diploma during the application process. If you have difficulties with handing in your certified copy of diploma before the deadline of August 31st, please contact your International Student Advisor about this matter as it may complicate the commencement of your studies.

I’m not able to take the English language test in my country because test centers are closed.
EU students have until August 31st to obtain their English test results. Therefore there are no exemptions for this group yet. For non-EU students the deadline to submit English language test results has been extended to July 1st. We are now 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.

I sent a certified copy of my diploma to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, but I have not received a confirmation on this.
Our staff works remotely until at least 1 June. This results in a longer processing time of hard copy documents. We will do our best to verify your documents as soon as possible and update your VUnet applications status. Please be aware that only the certified copy of your diploma has to be sent via postal mail. Other documents (i.e. English test) can be sent via email.

I might not be able to travel to the Netherlands for the start of the academic year 2020-2021 due to the current situation.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is aware that there are currently travel restrictions active that could make it difficult for you to travel to the Netherlands. We are staying on top of the latest developments and will actively inform you by means of newsletters and Q&A's on how to proceed. Please get in touch with your International Student Advisor if you would like to discuss your personal situation.

I’m a Chinese national and have to apply for the Nuffic certificate, but am not able to take the English test.
At the moment you can apply for the certificate without your English test results. Once you obtain the results of your English test you can send it to your International Student Advisor and add them to your Nuffic application.

I would like to make use of the VU housing services, but am still in the process of my application.
There is no deadline for applying for our housing service, as we process on a first paid, first served basis. The option to apply will become visible in VUnet once you are conditionally accepted.

Due to the current situation I’m not sure if I can commence my studies in September, but I’ve already made use of the VU housing service.
Students commencing their studies in 2020-2021 can cancel their housing option until August 1st without any costs incurred. After this date, the housing fee will become non-refundable if you have received an accommodation offer from the VU.

I am a non-EU student and need a study visa.
The deadline for handing in your visa application has been extended to July 1st. You’ll be able to start this procedure on the 1st of April in VUnet. You can find information about the procedure here.

I have been selected for a scholarship (VUFP, HSP, OTS), but I am not sure if I should accept. I don’t know yet if I can come to the Netherlands.
If you are planning to start at VU coming September, please confirm your selection in VUnet for now. Please let us know if you need to cancel your study programme at VU by sending an email to: [email protected]

I need to cancel my scholarship offer (VUFP, HSP, OTS). Can I defer my scholarship to 2021/2022?
No, it is not possible to defer your scholarship offer (but you can of course apply again next year).

Is your question not answered here?
General emails can be sent to [email protected]. If you are already in the process of applying, please get in touch with your International Student Advisor. Their contact details can be found here.






General Questions

What will the first (Fall) semester of 2020/21 look like?


Introduction programme
AugustWe will offer an alternative programme online.
Period 1September / OctoberAll courses and exams will be offered online only.
Period 2November / DecemberThe university will make a final decision on 1 July. Most if not all courses will most likely be offered online. There is a chance that the university opts for a hybrid form, whereby some components of courses (for example tutorial groups) are offered on-campus. In the case of hybrid education, you will have to travel to Amsterdam.
Period 3JanuaryThe university has not yet made a final decision. Most if not all courses will most likely be offered online. There is a chance that the university opts for a hybrid form, whereby some components of courses (for example tutorial groups) are offered on-campus. In the case of hybrid education, you will have to travel to Amsterdam.

How will the Introduction programme be organized in Fall?
The Introduction programme normally takes place in the last two weeks of August. This year no physical activities in Amsterdam are planned and instead we will organize an alternative online introduction. You will be informed as soon as we have a schedule.

How will the Buddy programme be organized in Fall?
The Buddy programme will probably be organized in an alternative online way, however the details still have to be worked out.

When will the exchange study guide 2020/2021 be published online?
We are experiencing technical difficulties with the unfortunate result that we are currently unable to publish next year’s exchange study guide. This issue will most likely take another few weeks and in the worst case we will only be able to publish the new exchange study guide at the end of June.
For now, please consult the current exchange study guide. Most of the courses will still be offered next year, however note that we cannot offer any guarantees.
The minor list on www.vu.nl/exchange is up-to-date.

When does course selection and registration start?
Course registration for Fall starts mid-July, most likely on Monday 13 July. Around that time, the exchange study guide and class schedules will be available online as well.
By early July, you will be informed of the course selection and course registration procedure.

Do class schedules take into account the time difference?
The university has not yet made a final decision in this matter, however it is highly likely that all classes and exams will be scheduled on Dutch standard time. This means that if you are a non-EU student, you will most likely have your classes and exams at unusual hours (early morning, late evening, or night time).

Can I defer to the second (Spring) semester?
You have to discuss this matter with your home university and they need to formally nominate you again. However, please note that we are currently not accepting any additional nominations for Spring semester. For the moment, we only accept the regular nominations for Spring semester.

I have been nominated and accepted for the entire academic year. Can I still come in Spring semester?
Yes, this would indeed be possible. However, you will still have to decide whether you wish to remain enrolled during first semester and follow online courses at VU Amsterdam during fall semester. Make sure to consult your home university about this. If requested, we can change your registration from the entire academic year to spring semester only.

Is it possible to continue my exchange online?
Unfortunately, that depends on the travel advice as issued by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The number of exchange students we can accept is directly linked to the number of VU students undertaking their exchange. If the travel advice for your respective country changes in a negative sense, it is very likely that we will have to cancel the option of being enrolled for remote education. More information about this will be offered after July 1st.

I need to have documents signed, such as my learning agreement. Is this possible?
Due to the high workload at the moment, we would prefer to sign your learning agreement at a later stage. In addition, the exchange study guide will not be published until July, and we would prefer to sign Erasmus documents after the course selection has been published on our website, to avoid later amendments.

I have decided to continue with my exchange programme. When can I receive an acceptance letter?
Acceptance letters will be issued mid-July.

If travel restrictions are lifted, is it possible for me to travel to the Netherlands and follow courses online while living in the Netherlands?
This is indeed an option, however, please keep in mind that you would not experience the exchange as you might have envisioned. The Netherlands as a society is still subject to a high number of restrictions. You will not have the opportunity to meet other international students like you would in a normal situation. Nightlife, festivals and other large events have been banned until at least September 1st and it’s likely that this measure will be extended.
Is it possible to do part of the exchange from my home country, and part of the exchange from Amsterdam?
That is indeed an option. If you wish to follow the initial period of your education online and from your home country and move to Amsterdam later, this is an option. However, please note that if you wish to come to Amsterdam later and make use of our housing facilities, you will still have to transfer the housing fee of 250 euro. This amount remains the same regardless of whether you stay in Amsterdam for the entire duration of the semester or only a part thereof.

Questions concerning accommodation

Can I get a housing refund should I decide to cancel my exchange at VU?
Students commencing their studies in 2020/21 can cancel their housing option until 1 August without any costs incurred. After this date, the housing fee will become non-refundable if you have received an accommodation offer from the VU.

Will I still be able to apply for housing if I miss the application deadline?
There is no deadline for applying for our housing service, as we process on a first paid, first served basis. The option to apply will become visible in VUnet when the incoming exchange team has reviewed and accepted your exchange application.

More specific questions?
For all other questions regarding accommodation and refunds of the housing fees which you might have already paid, please contact our colleagues via: [email protected]

Questions concerning visa and immigration

I’m still unsure whether I can to travel to the Netherlands. Until when can I apply for the student visa?
Depending on your country of origin and the travel restrictions announced by the governments, the exchange might still be cancelled. The visa deadline remains July 1st.
For all students who decide to continue with the exchange, and for whom travel restrictions have been lifted by June 29th, our international office will apply for a student visa on your behalf. Students whose exchange cannot take place, will be notified. Their visa fees will be reimbursed.

If I decide to cancel my exchange, will I be reimbursed for the visa fees I transferred?
Students who have uploaded al required documents and transferred the visa fees, can contact [email protected] in case they decide not to travel to Amsterdam. If you do this before June 26th, the visa fees will be reimbursed.

What is the procedure with regard to visa/ residence permit?
For all other questions regarding visa and refunds of the visa fees which you might have already paid, please contact our colleagues via: [email protected]

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.

General Questions

Am I a prospective Semester in Amsterdam student?
Semester in Amsterdam is a specific study abroad programme which serves as the alternative to the Exchange Programme at VU Amsterdam. If you have been nominated by your home university to participate in Exchange at VU Amsterdam and your university has an official partnership agreement, please see the answers for Incoming Exchange instead.  

What is the position of VU Amsterdam with regard to the coronavirus?
VU Amsterdam follows the advice of the RIVM for public health and the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for travel abroad. Together with other Dutch universities, VU Amsterdam keeps a close eye on these advices and communicates if there are any updates for students, staff and visitors.

Questions about the Fall 2020 Semester and Online Courses

Will the Fall 2020 Semester go on as planned?
All courses during period 1 of the Fall 2020 semester will be offered online only.  During the first week of July it will be announced whether or not period 2 courses will also be online.  There is a chance that the university will choose a hybrid form for period 2 whereby some components of courses (for example tutorial and work groups) are offered on campus but large main lectures are offered online.  Please keep checking vu.nl/coronavirus for the latest updates. 

Can I still apply to the Semester in Amsterdam Programme?
The deadline for the Fall 2020 semester has passed. For EU applicants who do not need a visa and applicants coming through a provider, we may still be able to accept you. Please contact us or your provider if this situation applies to you. 

I have been accepted to the Semester in Amsterdam Programme, but due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, I do not know if I will be able to come to Amsterdam in time.  Should I still make the first payment?
You must make the first payment by 1 June in order to secure your housing and visa. All fees except visa fees are refundable until 15 July.

Can I defer to the second (Spring) semester?
Yes, please let us know if you wish to defer to the spring semester. 

If travel restrictions are lifted, is it possible for me to travel to the Netherlands and follow courses online while living in the Netherlands?
Yes, as long as the travel regulations from both your home country and the Netherlands permit it, you can spend the semester in Amsterdam following courses online.  The Semester in Amsterdam housing will remain open.  However, please be aware that the Netherlands is still currently subject to a high number of restrictions. You may not have the opportunity to meet other international students like you would in a normal situation. Nightlife, festivals, and other large events have been banned until at least 1 September. 

I want to continue with my Semester in Amsterdam even if courses are online for the whole semester, but I am currently not allowed to travel to the Netherlands due to travel restrictions.  What should I do?
All programme and housing fees are completely refundable until 15 July.  Once you submit documents for your visa application in June, your visa fee of 250.00 is non-refundable.  By 15 July, it should be clear whether or not you can come to Amsterdam for the start of the semester on 31 August.  If you cannot come to Amsterdam for the start of the semester due to travel restrictions, you should consider whether or not you wish to continue with online courses at VU Amsterdam in your own country, or you wish to cancel your semester.  Our cancellation deadline is 15 July.  It is always possible that you will still be able to travel to Amsterdam later in the semester for period 2 or period 3, but we have no way of knowing this and you should be prepared for the possibility that travel restrictions will not allow it.

How will the introduction programme be organized this Fall?
The introduction programme normally takes place in the last two weeks of August. This year no physical activities in Amsterdam are planned and instead we will organize an alternative online introduction. You will be informed as soon as we have a schedule.

How will the Buddy programme be organized in Fall?
The Buddy programme will probably be organized in an alternative online way, however the details still have to be worked out. 

Will there be a social programme this fall?
We are currently looking into what is possible.  If government restrictions allow, we would like to plan outside activities with small groups of students so that you still have opportunities to interact and get to know each other.  We will incorporate online activities as well.

When will the exchange study guide 2020/2021 be published online?
We are unfortunately currently experiencing technical difficulties with the study guide.  We expect the study guide to be published by 1 July.  
For now, please consult the current exchange study guide. Most of the courses will still be offered next year, however note that we cannot offer any guarantees. The minor list is up-to-date.

When does course selection and registration start?
Course registration for Fall will begin as soon as the timetable is posted online, most likely on Monday, 13 July.  As soon as the timetables are posted, we will ask you to check to make sure that your courses do not overlap.  In early July you will receive more information about of the course registration procedure.  Please keep an eye on your mail during this time.

Do class schedules take into account the differences in time zones?
The university has not yet made a final decision in this matter, however it is highly likely that all classes and exams will be scheduled on Dutch standard time. This means that if you are a non-EU student, you will most likely have your classes and exams at unusual hours (early morning, late evening, or night time).
   
Visa-Related Questions

I am a non-EU student and need a study visa.
We will apply for your visa on your behalf. We will contact you about the process of applying for your visa after 1 June.

What happens if I already paid for my visa but government restrictions make it impossible to come to VU Amsterdam?
The visa fee of 250.00 is non-refundable after 1 June if you wish to arrive in Amsterdam in August or September.  Once you submit visa documents to immigration and we apply for your visa, the visa fee is non-refundable. No other cancellation fees will be charged until after 15 July.

Questions about the Required Documents

I have sent a certified copy of my diploma or transcripts to VU Amsterdam, but I have not received a confirmation of receipt/verification.
Our staff is currently working remotely. This results in a longer processing time of hard copy documents. We will do our best to verify your documents as soon as possible.

I’m not able to submit the required documents for application because my university is closed.
Please contact us for advice about your specific situation. Please note that you are NOT required to submit English language test scores or a certified transcript with your application. We will accept an unofficial transcript of records for the application procedure.

I’m not able to take the English language test in my country because test centers are closed.
English language test results are not required for Semester in Amsterdam bachelor-level applicants. You only need to submit English language test scores if you wish to follow Master-level courses.

EU students have until 31 August to obtain their English test results. Therefore, there are no exemptions for this group yet. For non-EU students, the deadline to submit English language test results has been extended to 1 July.  We are now 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.

Questions about Housing 

How will the housing process work?
You are free to request or cancel your housing through Semester in Amsterdam until 15 July.  You will also only pay for housing for the months you are in Amsterdam, so if you only come for Period 2 you will only pay for November and December.

Do I get my housing costs refunded if I decide to cancel my Semester in Amsterdam application due to the coronavirus?
Housing costs are refundable until 15 July. After 15 July, housing costs are non-refundable.

Questions about Cancellation

I might not be able to travel to the Netherlands for the start of the Fall semester due to the current situation.
You might be able to defer your Semester in Amsterdam to the spring semester (starting the end of January). You are also free to cancel with no fees until 1 June. Between 1 June and 15 July, only the non-refundable visa fee applies.

What is the cancellation deadline of the Semester in Amsterdam Programme?
The deadline for cancellation is 15 July.

Do I get a refund if I decide to cancel my application for the Semester in Amsterdam after the cancellation deadline of 15 July?
A cancellation fee of 1000.00 may be charged for cancellations after 15 July. Housing refunds can also no longer be guaranteed after 15 July.