Information about Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. On this webpage, we will clarify the consequences for students and staff for the situation after 31 December 2020 as fully as we can. 

If you are already living in the Netherlands (registered at the BRP) on or before 31 December 2020 
You fall under the Withdrawal Agreement and you will still be entitled to receive student finance and to pay statutory fees if you meet all the other conditions. This applies even if you are not yet studying.

Not meeting all of the requirements below may affect your tuition fee.

What do you need to do to meet the Withdrawal Agreement requirements:

  1. Register in the BRP before 31 December 2020 23:59h.  
  2. Apply for a residence document as soon as possible but no later than 30 June 2021. You need this document to continue your stay in the Netherlands. Please be informed that you can arrange your residence at the IND.

If you come to live and study in the Netherlands after 31 December 2020
In this case, you do not fall under the Withdrawal Agreement. To live and study in the Netherlands you will need to apply for a residence permit via the VU immigration office. The institutional fee applies in your situation. 

Q: I am registered in the BRP before 31st of December but due to Covid-19 I have temporarily returned to the UK. Do I still fall under the withdrawal agreement? 
A: Make sure that you return to the Netherlands no later than 30 June 2021 and apply for a residence permit to still fall under the withdrawal agreement. You can apply for the permit from the UK but to finalize the procedure you must be in the Netherlands. 

Q: How can I apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office? 
A: When you need to apply for a study permit, we advise you to carefully read the information on this website (under ‘residence permit procedure’) to find out more about the immigration procedure. Do not hesitate to contact [email protected] if you have any other questions or concerns. 

Q: Will I have access to Dutch healthcare from the 1st of January? 
A: It is important that you are properly insured during your time in the Netherlands.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all incoming international students to be properly insured by an internationally recognized insurance agency for the duration of their stay (this is also required by Dutch law). Your insurance policy should cover all costs related to sudden illness, accident or death.

To simplify the business of arranging suitable insurance during your time in the Netherlands, it is advisable to consult your insurance company and explain that you will be studying abroad for a semester or an entire academic year. If your insurance company is unable to meet your needs, then you may want to consult one of the companies which offer packages specifically tailored to the needs of international students. More information can be found on this website.

Healthcare for UK nationals visiting the EU
Please visit this website of the British government to find out more about EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and GHIC (UK Global Health Insurance Card).

Q: When to apply for a (free) UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?
A: Please follow the instructions as outlined on this website.

The Netherlands has no power to influence the tuition fees applied in the UK for EU students. The UK government has not yet made a decision on these fees.

Q: Will Brexit affect student exchanges from VU Amsterdam with partner universities in the UK?
A: In the coming academic year (2021-2022), the current regulations regarding student exchange and the Erasmus grant will apply. For the following years, a sustainable solution will be sought in the coming year whereby VU Amsterdam can continue to exchange students with our partners in the United Kingdom in the long term.

Q: Will I be properly insured when I reside in the United Kingdom after January 1st 2021?
A: Please find more information about this topic on the website of the Dutch government (in Dutch)

In case you arrived in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021
On 31 January 2020 the UK left the European Union with a deal. The agreements made are set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. In order to continue to live, study and work in the Netherlands a residence document is required. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) has invited all British citizens and their family members who were lawful residents in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 to apply for a residence document. The final deadline to apply is 30 June 2021. For more information please see Living in the Netherlands after Brexit - IND.

In case you’ll arrive in the Netherlands after 1 January 2021
In order to come work and reside in the Netherlands a residence permit is required. The International Office can assist you in the application process. Please contact your supervisor to start the application. For more information on the process please contact the International Office at [email protected].

Q: Will I have access to Dutch healthcare from the 1st of January?
A: Everyone living in the Netherlands is legally obliged to have health insurance. The health care system in the Netherlands is a social provision, which means that everyone has health care insurance and access to care. Carefully read the information on this website to find out more about your insurance.
The UK has remained its participation in Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 (2014-2020). Projects funded through Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) can be completed after 31 December 2020. The UK discontinued its participation in Erasmus+ (2021-2027) and will install its own Turing programme instead for outgoing British students (but not staff). The UK will participate in Horizon Europe (2021-2027) in almost all grant schemes but not EIC Equity and some specific call topics (indicated in the call topic text). In practice, UK organisations can e.g. be beneficiary both as partner or as coordinator in consortium project proposals, or full applicant in ERC and MSCA proposals.
In the Brexit deal of December 24, 2020, it was agreed that the transfer of personal data to the United Kingdom will remain possible for the first four months in 2021, without additional measures. It is required that the United Kingdom does not change the rules for the protection of personal data during this period. This exceptional situation can be extended for another 2 months. The period of four months can be extended by another two months.)

The hope and expectation is that the European Commission (EC) will make an adequacy decision during the transition period and designate the UK as a country with an adequate level of protection.

      > What if this succeeds?
If the European Commission (EC) designates the United Kingdom as a country with an adequate level of data protection, this means that no additional measures will be required for the transfer of personal data from European member states to the United Kingdom. Of course, the same measures will have to be taken as for data processing within the European Union (such as: DPIAs, (processor) agreements, privacy notices). 

      > What if this fails?
If the EC doesn't make an adequacy decision within four or six months, the UK will be a 'third country' without an adequate level of protection. This means that personal data can no longer be transferred to the UK without additional measures. Additional measures will then be required to be able to transfer personal data to the UK. In particular, one can think of using the model agreement approved by European Commission (standard contractual clauses) with the British party receiving personal data from the VU (SCCs), in combination with implementing additional safeguards such as encrypting the personal data.

In short: at the moment, no additional measures need to be taken for the transfer of personal data to the United Kingdom. On 1 May 2021 (or after extension on 1 July 2021) it will become clear what the final situation will be. The Department of Institutional and Legal Affairs of the VU (BJZ) is closely following the developments and will keep you informed. If you have any questions about this, please contact [email protected].


You can find extensive information about Brexit on the website of the Government of the Netherlands

If you have any questions regarding the content of this letter or if you need further clarification, the Brexit working group can be contacted through Henny Smit of the International Office at [email protected] or Lisette Flohil of Administrative and Legal Affairs at [email protected].