Information about Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. There is currently a transition period until 31 December 2020. During this period, nothing will change for VU Amsterdam, or for its students and staff. What the situation will be after 31 December 2020 is not yet entirely clear, however. This will depend on the outcome of the negotiations that are underway between the EU and the UK.

Despite this lack of clarity, we want to prepare the university and its students and staff for the situation after 31 December 2020 as fully as we can. On this web page, we will briefly clarify what the outlook is with regard to a number of important matters. 

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. 
  2. Apply for a residence document as soon as possible but no later than 20 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.
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.
Before 31 December 2020 
During the transition period (until 31 December 2020), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will invite British citizens and their family members to submit an application for a permanent residence permit. The same residence conditions will apply to the granting of these residence permits as for EU citizens. This means that British citizens who are lawfully resident in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 can continue to live, study and work here.

After 31 December 2020
It is not yet clear what the exact consequences will be for British citizens who come to the Netherlands after 31 December 2020. This will depend on the outcome of the negotiations that are underway between the EU and the UK. There are two possible scenarios:
  1. ‘Hard Brexit’
    If the UK and the EU fail to reach an agreement (and there is a ‘hard Brexit’), British citizens who want to work at VU Amsterdam (whether on the basis of an employment contract or as a guest) will need a residence permit and a work permit. Applications will be handled by the university’s International Office. 
  2. Agreement
    If the EU and the UK reach an agreement, different rules may apply. In this event, further information will be provided as soon as it is available.
The UK has remained its participation in Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) until the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). Projects funded through Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) can be completed after the end of the transition period. The UK will discontinue to participate in Erasmus+ (2021-2027) and will install its own programme instead for British students. The UK will participate in Horizon Europe (2021-2027) but the conditions have not yet been set.
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].