Information for international PhD candidates

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

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 arrange this?

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): immigration@vu.nl.

VU Amsterdam provides accommodation service for international and visiting PhDs and their families.

Once your supervisor at VU Amsterdam registered you as an international PhD candidate, or if you are a visiting PhD, you will receive an offer letter in the form of an email. It will explain how to apply for accommodation via our International Office. If you do not receive this offer letter via email please contact us at accommodation@vu.nl and ask for the application form.

***If you are looking for alternative accommodation, please be aware of the scams and never make payments before you see the room and checking the key is really opening your apartment’s door.

Types on offer

We have two types of accommodation, short stay (up to one year) and long stay PhD housing for the whole duration of your PhD trajectory (up to 5 years). 

An example of pricing:

Cost of accomodation in Amsterdam

Vu accomodation
Free market
Room in a shared flatWe don't offer shared rooms
€500 - €900
Studio for one person
€550 - €750
€900 - €1500
Studio for a couple
€750 - €790
€900 - €1800
Family flat
€910 - €950 (only short stay)
€1500 - €4000

Long term accommodation

Limited number of studios and small apartments are available that can be rented for the complete period of the PhD project with a maximum of 5 years. This type of accommodation generally concerns unfurnished studios with private facilities. More information about the different apartments in PhD housing. The current average waiting time for this type of accommodation is 18 months. Therefore, most international PhD candidates first live in our Short Stay housing. More information about the studios in Short Stay housing.

Short term accommodation

Most international and visiting PhD students live in our Short Stay housing. Depending on the availability, we can offer accommodation in Short Stay housing for a minimum period of one month and a maximum period of one year. This type of accommodation generally concerns complete furnished studios with private facilities. More information about the studios in Short Stay housing.

For more information about accommodation for PhD students, check our website.

Family accommodation

We only provide SHORT TERM ACCOMMODATION for families.

Should you arrive as a family it is recommended to keep your eyes open for alternative accommodation as well. We do not have any PhD housing available for families.

At the VU we provide intensive Dutch language courses for students. There are daytime and evening courses as well as a course on Saturdays. Please consult their 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.

Orientation offers students an opportunity to meet graduate students and faculty, gain valuable information about the doctoral training and supervision, research and academic integrity, funding resources, and obtain information about VU in general, the city of Amsterdam, its culture and the community.

For all new PhD candidates the International Staff Network organizes introduction seminars. International Staff Network is a platform to gain knowledge, to exchange mutual experiences and to connect with foreign colleagues.

Want to join the International Staff Network? Please register in meetup.com with the group ‘VU International Staff’. Then you can join and initiate events yourself.

A number of faculties organize orientation courses throughout the year as well, and especially geared towards international candidates. For more information on how to take part and apply please contact your faculty and/or respective graduate school or send an email directly to phd@vu.nl.