Before you arrive

There are various practical matters that must be dealt with before beginning your Master’s degree programme at VU Amsterdam.

  • Accommodation: Information on accommodation at VU Amsterdam.
  • Visa/residence permit: Find out if you require a visa/residence permit and how this will be arranged.
  • Pathfinder: Fill in the Pathfinder and you will find all the relevant practical information for your situation.

Accommodation

The International Office offers accommodation to participants in international Master’s programmes. There are furnished and unfurnished rooms with private or shared facilities. The number of rooms available is limited, so we cannot guarantee accommodation for every student, but the International Office will do its utmost best to find suitable accommodation for everyone. In order to improve your chances of obtaining accommodation you are strongly advised to apply well in advance.

If you have any questions about accommodation, please send an email to studentaccommodation@vu.nl.
In case you would like to meet up with us to discuss your accommodation, please call T +31 (0)20 59 84691 to make an appointment.
Rules and regulations.

All students who have been accepted (conditionally and otherwise) receive an invitation to confirm their participation in VUnet. Once your application has been accepted, you will also be able to apply for accommodation in VUnet. You can only apply for accommodation from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as an international Master’s student with a nationality from outside the Netherlands. The deadline for housing applications is 1 June 2017. Please indicate if you want Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to help you find accommodation and the maximum rental price that you are prepared to pay.

We strive to accommodate all students who apply for accommodation in VUnet and pay the housing fee before the deadline of 1 June 2017. Should we not be able to accommodate you directly after June 1st you will be offered accommodation based on availability or you will be placed on the waiting list and will be informed when there is a cancellation immediately.

More information on how to navigate in VUnet.

If you wish to obtain accommodation through from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, then you must pay a fee. The housing fee is charged to cover our costs in providing housing services to international students. For Master’s students the fee is €400 for the entire academic year. You must pay this fee by 1 June 2017 at the very latest. Applications for accommodation will not be dealt with until the university has received this sum. Payment details of this fee will be included in the email that you will receive from VU Amsterdam.

Refund
If you cancel your application before 11 July 2017, your housing fee can be refunded. We will need your address and bank account details. You can email this information to studentaccommodation@vu.nl.

Accommodation consists of furnished (single) rooms with private or shared facilities. Some rooms can be reserved in one of our student dorms with shared shower and toilet. Students usually have their own bedroom. In most cases, bathroom, kitchen and living room must be shared with other students. It is common that men and women live together in the same student house. Given the shortage of good accommodation, you may find the room you get is rather small and not of the standard you had expected. Accommodation in Amsterdam is not only limited, but can also be more expensive than at home. Thinking about these things in advance could help avoid unpleasant surprises later.

For our 1 year Master programme students, we have reserved Accommodate rooms.
For our 2 year Master programme students, we have reserved Campus Contract Rooms.

Rental prices

The rental prices mentioned are per month and services costs (water, electricity, cable internet etc.) are included in the price. All prices mentioned are subject to change, and as such you cannot derive a right from these prices.

If you are staying in the Netherlands for more than four months then you need to register with the local authorities (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP) at the municipality office.

Finding a place to live in Amsterdam is not easy, as there is a serious shortage of accommodation for students. Although the International Office of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will do its utmost best to arrange suitable accommodation for everyone, in the following cases VU Amsterdam may not provide accommodation:

  • If you are staying with a family
  • Housing requests that have been received after the deadline might not be granted 
  • If your preferences do not need the accommodation on offer from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

If you fit in one of these categories, we strongly advise you to have a look at the following accommodation alternatives. There are various Dutch websites that offer housing in Amsterdam and they provide useful information on finding accommodation.
Be aware that when responding to adverts offering accommodation, there may be some fraudulent operators around. Please look out for scams. VU Amsterdam cannot be held responsible for the services delivered by any provider of alternative accommodation. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Visa and residence permit

VU Amsterdam will apply for a visa and/or residence permit on your behalf after you have been (conditionally) admitted and after you have confirmed your participation in the Master's programme. The deadlines for completing your visa application are 1 June (1st semester) and 1 December (2nd semester).

If you are from a country for which the Netherlands requires an entry visa and will stay for a period longer than 3 months, then you are required to obtain a permit for temporary stay (MVV - Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) in order to enter the Netherlands.

Before starting the MVV visa procedure, payment of a handling fee of €350 is required.

The following rules apply to Master's students:

Country of originVisa/residence permit needed?
  • EU countries
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
No visa or residence permit required
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City State
Visa (MVV) not required, residence permit (VVR) required
  • All other countries
Visa (MVV) and residence permit (VVR) required

These rules apply to you if you are travelling to the Netherlands to study towards a Master's degree as a degree-seeking student, you are staying more than 90 days and you are a citizen of one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City State

If you are neither a citizen of the above countries nor an EU/EEA student, please see Visa required, residence permit required.

Required documents and information

We will need the following documents from you in order to process your residence permit application. You will need to submit all these documents in VUnet.

Required stepsWhen required
  • 1st semester - before 1 June
  • 2nd semester - before 1 December

If you submit the documents after the deadline, then it is possible that your residence permit will not be available by the time your course starts. The procedure usually takes 4 weeks, although this can be considerably longer during the summer months.

Since January 2014 the procedure has changed. You no longer need to send the original documents by post to VU Amsterdam. You must only upload the documents in VUnet and your contact person of the Services team will handle the application for your residence permit. Please bring the original documents with you when you travel to Amsterdam.

Tuberculosis test

A tuberculosis (TB) test may be part of your application for a residence permit. This only applies to you if you are a citizen of:

  • South Korea

If you need to be tested, then this must be indicated on the TBC form. It is important to have yourself tested as soon as possible in order to prevent delay in the procedure of your residence permit. You do not need to make an appointment. You can visit during consulting hours at the address and hours below. You will be tested immediately. Please make sure you visit the GGD within 3 months of your arrival.

GG&GD (TBC test)  
Nieuwe Achtergracht 100  
Time: Mon, Tue, Fri: 13.00-15.00.  

Public Transport:  
Take tram 51 from Boelelaan and get off at Weesperplein. From there the GG&GD office is within walking distance.

Costs

  • Residence permit (VVR) are €350
  • Change of Purpose €350
  • There are no costs involved if you have a valid residence permit for study until August or December 2016.

These fees are valid as of 1 February 2015 and subject to change.

You need to transfer this amount to VU Amsterdam before we can start the residence permit application procedure. Payment details will be included in the email that you will receive from VU Amsterdam after you have accepted your participation in VUnet. In case the email does not reach you, the bank details are as follows:

Account name:Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Name of bank:Deutsche Bank
Address of bank:De Entree 99-197, 1101 HE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
IBAN:NL49DEUT0488004470
BIC:DEUTNL2N

Please state your name and S+ student number (e.g. s1234567). When paid from abroad, all banking costs are to be paid by the applicant.

After arrival

After your arrival in Amsterdam you need to go the Dutch Immigration Services to have your biometrics (photo and fingerprints) taken. Your residence permit will be ready two weeks after your first visit to the Dutch Immigration Office. We will inform you when your residence permit is ready.

Strict requirements of the IND

As an educational institution, we are entitled to apply for entry visas and residence permits on behalf of all our international students (with the sole purpose of study). 
Although we apply on your behalf, we are bound by the strict and specific requirements set by the Dutch Immigration Services (IND). Not meeting these requirements means we will not submit your application, since it may be rejected. In that case, your fee will not be refunded. So please make sure that your application is both valid and complete!

These rules apply to you if you are travelling to the Netherlands to study towards a Master's degree as a degree-seeking student, you are staying more than 90 days and you are a citizen of a country for which a visa is required.

Required documents

We will need the following documents from you in order to process your residence permit application. You will need to submit all these documents in VUnet.

Required stepsWhen required
  • 1st semester - before 1 June
  • 2nd semester - before 1 December

Additionally, regarding the preferred embassy or consulate, please indicate:

  • Country and city in which you will collect the entry visa
  • Please check if your embassy or consulate is entitled to issue visas

If you submit the documents after the deadline, then it is possible that your residence permit will not be available by the time your course starts. The procedure usually takes 4 weeks, although this can be considerably longer during the summer months.

Since January 2014 the procedure has changed. You no longer need to send the original documents by post to VU Amsterdam. You must only upload the documents in VUnet and your contact person of the Services team will handle the application for your residence permit. Please bring the original documents with you when you travel to Amsterdam.

Tuberculosis test

A tuberculosis (TB) test may be part of your application for a residence permit. If you require a visa to enter the Netherlands, then you will need to take the test unless you are citizen of:

  • Surinam

If you need to be tested, then this must be indicated on the TBC form. It is important to have yourself tested as soon as possible in order to prevent delay in the procedure of your residence permit. You do not need to make an appointment. You can visit during consulting hours at the address and hours below. You will be tested immediately. Please make sure you visit the GGD within 3 months of your arrival.

GG&GD (TBC test)  
Nieuwe Achtergracht 100  
Time: Mon, Tue, Fri: 13.00-15.00.  

Public Transport:  
Take tram 51 from Boelelaan and get off at Weesperplein. From there the GG&GD office is within walking distance.

Costs

  • Entry visa (MVV) and residence permit (VVR) €350
  • Residence permit (VVR) €350
  • Change of purpose €350

These fees are valid as of 1 February 2015 and subject to change

You need to transfer this amount to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam before we can start the residence permit application procedure. Payment details will be included in the email that you will receive from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after you have accepted your participation in VUnet. In case the email does not reach you, the bank details are as follows:

Account name:Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Name of bank:Deutsche Bank
Address of bank:De Entree 99-197, 1101 HE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
IBAN:NL49DEUT0488004470
BIC:DEUTNL2N

Please state your name and S+student number (e.g. s1234567). When paid from abroad, all banking costs are to be paid by the applicant. 

Approval of your entry visa

Your contact person of the Services team at the International Office will inform you when your entry visa is approved by the Dutch Immigration Authorities. You need to contact the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in your country (or third country if you have a valid residence permit for another country) to make an appointment for your entry visa. Please bring a valid passport and a photo (see requirements) to the appointment. In some cases you will receive your entry visa immediatel. It may also be possible that you need to hand in your passport. In the latter case it may take up to 2 weeks before your entry visa will be ready).

After arrival

If you arrive on the Arrival Days and your residence permit is ready, you will be able to visit the IND stand on the Arrival Days. Otherwise your contact person of the Services team at the International Office will notify you when your residence permit is ready.

Strict requirements of the IND

As an educational institution, we are entitled to apply for entry visas and residence permits on behalf of all our international students (with the sole purpose of study). 
Although we apply on your behalf, we are bound by the strict and specific requirements set by the Dutch Immigration Services (IND). Not meeting these requirements means we will not submit your application, since it may be rejected. In that case, your fee will not be refunded. So please make sure that your application is both valid and complete!

If you have a residence permit for study purposes, then you are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward your degree requirements for each academic year in which you are enrolled and to be in good standing (i.e. you must pay tuition fees on time and meet other university requirements). This policy applies if you are a non-EU/EEA student with a residence permit for study purposes. 

Basic Standard for Satisfactory Performance 

You must meet the following requirements for minimum satisfactory performance each academic year:

  • A minimum completion rate of at least half of the ECTS credits (50% of 60 ECTS in a academic year = 30 ECTS).
  • There is a maximum time frame determined by the Immigration Authorities (IND) in which you must complete your studies. If you have studied in the Netherlands before, or if you take longer to complete your studies, then you should be aware that this may affect the maximum amount of time that you can legally reside in the Netherlands.

Relevant courses

The credits that are relevant for this regulation are credits that are part of the curriculum: credits that are obtained outside the curriculum do not count. Exceptions can be made if you are ahead of the nominal schedule or when you take extra courses instead of exemptions. For a course that is repeated, credits can only be counted once. A failed course does not earn any credits.

Withdrawal of residence permit

If you do not meet the requirements for satisfactory academic progress, then VU Amsterdam must report this to the Immigration Authorities (IND). The IND will then proceed to withdraw your residence permit. The consequence of this is that you will not be able to continue studying at VU Amsterdam during the following academic year.

What if you have not passed enough courses or believe that you will not pass enough courses? 

If you have failed components of your study program, then the International Office advises you to investigate the reasons for not passing the examinations as soon as possible. Your study advisor(s) may be able to help you with this and prepare a realistic study plan together with you.

The International Office advises you to do so, especially if personal circumstances (see below) are the reason that your performance is below the required standard. You can make an appointment for this with one of the study advisors and/or the Student’s General Counsellors at the study and career centre. Please do not wait until May or June to visit the study advisor; make an appointment as soon as possible.

The following are considered to be personal circumstances in this regard: illness, disability, pregnancy, exceptional family circumstances, board membership activities. For detailed information, see article 2.1 of the implementation decree of the Higher Education and Research Act (WHW).

Time schedule

May each academic year
The International Office will check the study results of all students with residence permits for study. We will send this list to the Study Advisors (and to the Student General Counsellors). Students will be informed about the outcome by e-mail. If you do not meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress, then you will be informed that you will receive a negative advice regarding continuation of your studies at VU Amsterdam for the next academic year if you do not obtain at least 30 credits by 23 August.

May–23 August:
If you did not obtain enough credits, then you are advised to consult your Study Advisor about the reasons for not passing the courses. It may for example be possible that not all acquired credits have been processed in the student information system. You may also have a valid reason for not having passed the examinations. In both cases, the Study Advisor or Student’s General Counsellor will inform the International Office (without violating your privacy). The consequence is that the International Office will not report the negative advice status to the IND and that you can keep your residence permit. If you do not have a valid reason and all credits are registered, then the Study Advisors can advise and help you to make a realistic study plan before the deadline of 23 August. If the Study Advisor has already been informed at an earlier stage, then it is not necessary to make a  new appointment.

23 August each academic year:
You must have completed 30 ECTS credits before 23 August. If you fail to do so, then you cannot re-register for the next academic year. VU Amsterdam must then report your status to the Immigration Authorities (IND), who will proceed to withdraw your residence permit. The International Office will inform you if you are reported to the Immigration Authorities (IND).

Appeal Process

Appeals against cancellation of the Residence Permit can be made with the Immigration Authorities (IND). Please be aware that retroactive registration is not possible at VU Amsterdam.

FAQ Satisfactory Academic Progress

Answers to specific questions can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions on Satisfactory Academic Progress.

1. Do I need to extend my residence permit?

If your student residence permit is not valid until the end of next academic year (30 August 2017) we will apply for an extension in the following situations:

  • You do not expect to complete your study programme at VU Amsterdam on time;
  • Your current residence permit is valid until 1 December 2016 and will not finish your study before 1 December 2016;
  • You have a valid student residence permit, obtained via another Dutch Institution, which is due to expire before the end of the current academic year or before 1 December 2016 and you have decided to start a degree programme at VU Amsterdam.

Note: if you have finished a study programme at VU Amsterdam (Bachelor or Master's or exchange) and you will apply for a new degree programme at VU Amsterdam you need to apply for the extension of your residence permit for study via your VUnet account. In that case you first need to confirm you participation to the study programme and complete the visa page in VUnet indicate that you need a residence permit.

Note: you can only apply for an extension of your residence permit if you have obtained at least 50% of the required ECTS credits per academic year (see for more information Satisfactory Academic Progress).  

Note: if you currently hold a student residence permit obtained via another Dutch university, but this permit is not due to expire before the end of next academic year, please follow the procedure in VUnet.

2. How can I extend my residence permit?

We will apply for an extension of your residence permit after you have submitted the extension request and have transferred the fee of €175 to the bank account of VU Amsterdam.

Please fill out the application for the extension of your residence permit and press SUBMIT. Do not forget to include a copy of your current residence permit (front and back).

3. Payment


For the extension of your residence permit you need to transfer €175 to the bank account of VU Amsterdam:

Account holder:Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Student Affairs
Name of bank:Deutsche Bank Nederland NV
Address of bank:De Entree 99-197, 1101 HE Amsterdam
IBAN:NL49DEUT0488004470
BIC:DEUTNL2N
  • Do not forget to state “S” + your student number (e.g. S2533077).
  • Keep in mind that you are responsible for the payment of any foreign bank charges associated with the transaction(s). Ensure that the bank charges are added to the amount to be transferred. 
  • Inform studentimmigration@vu.nl once you have transferred the fee.

4. How to collect your new residence permit

We will inform you when the extension has been approved. It takes two steps to obtain the new residence permit:

  • You must visit the IND in order to have your photo and fingerprints taken. You can do so without an appointment. Please bring your passport and current residence permit.
  • After you have received confirmation from VU Amsterdam that your new residence permit is ready, you can go to the IND office to collect the new residence permit. You do not have to make an appointment. Please bring your passport and current residence permit.

IND Office Amsterdam
Stadhouderskade 85
1073 AT Amsterdam
Tram 16 and 24 (direction central station); stop Stadhouderskade
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9.00- 12.30 hours and 13.00 - 16.00 hours

5. What else do I need to know?

Holding a valid residence permit is your own responsibility 
You are responsible for ensuring that your residence permit is extended on time. If you don’t know whether you need to extend your permit, please contact your programme coordinator. He or she will know whether you are expected to finish your studies by the end of the current academic year.

The IND may request proof of financial resources 
If necessary, the IND is authorised to request documentary proof of your financial situation. In this case, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds per months at your disposal (€900,- per month).

Inform the municipality of any address changes 
The IND will send all correspondence to the address at which you are registered with your local municipality (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). Always make sure that you inform the municipality of any change in your address.

You cannot re-enter the Netherlands with an expired residence permit 
If you plan to go abroad but your new permit has not yet been issued, make sure you return before your current permit expires. If this is not possible, you will need to request a return visa before leaving the Netherlands. Please call the IND (0900 1234561) and make an appointment to arrange a return visa.

Extending your stay after graduation 
If you plan to stay in the Netherlands after graduation, you have the possibility to apply for a residence permit under the ‘Orientation Year for Graduates Seeking Employment’.

Biometrics
As of January 2014, all non EU students who need a visa and or residence permit have to have their photograph and fingerprints taken for their residence document. See for more information.

6. Contact

If you have questions please contact studentimmigration@vu.nl

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Pathfinder

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