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Checklist for international students

Upon arrival in Amsterdam
  • Step 1: Transport when you arrive in Amsterdam

    Amsterdam has an extensive public transport system, including trams, busses, trains, metros and ferries. The GVB operates most public transport in Amsterdam, and the NS operates most of the trains in the Netherlands.

    OVpay
    As of 2023, the public transport companies of the Netherlands have introduced a new way for commuters to check in and out while travelling. You can now check in and check out of public transport the way you prefer with your contactless debit card, credit card or mobile phone (including Apple Pay or Google Wallet). You choose what suits you best. You can find out how this works on the OVpay website.

    OV chipcards
    The GVB in Amsterdam and the Dutch National Railways (NS) are not the same operators. If you do not wish to use the OVpay function, you can buy single tickets, but travelling using an OV chip card is easier. With this card you can travel by train, bus, tram and metro - one card covers all possibilities!

    An OV chip card is a smart card which you load with travel credit. You can buy one at the ticket office of major train stations or at the yellow ticket machines. These ticket machines accept payment by debit and credit cards (V-Pay, Maestro, Mastercard, Visa and American Express) using a PIN or contactless. The machines do not accept banknotes.

    To travel by train, your OV-chip card needs a minimum credit of €20. For other public transport, no minimum amount is required.

    Student mobility
    Student Mobility is an independent organisation (not related to the UvA) offering a customised public transport card (+ an ISIC Student-ID) with special discounts to international students! You can use this card for all forms of public transport in the Netherlands: train, tram, metro and bus. Furthermore, upon arrival in the Netherlands, Student Mobility offers you a train ticket at a reduced rate. And finally, they also have a programme to rent or buy a bike.

    Plan your route
    Need some help planning your route? Visit https://9292.nl/en to see what route is best! This website covers all modes of transport. The Google Maps and Apple Maps apps have also integrated Dutch public transport timetables if you wish to use those.

  • Step 2: Collect your keys for UvA housing

    If you have arranged housing through the UvA, our housing partners will personally welcome you to your new home.

    Rental contracts start on Friday, 18 August 2023. From this day on, you can collect your key and move in. Some partners offer a room check-in service directly at your new address, while other providers hand out the room keys near the location of your new address or at their office.

    Your housing provider will inform you about the details in due time. You can also check the details here:

    Please note:

    • You are obliged to collect your room key in person. You cannot have someone else do it for you.
    • Announce your arrival date and time at your housing provider (find contact info via the links above).
    • Changed travel plans or delays? Inform your housing provider (find contact info via the links above).
    • Key pick-up is possible during specific hours, mainly during office hours on weekdays. You might need to stay in a hostel or hotel at your own expense if you arrive outside these hours.
    • Some housing providers do no longer hand out keys, but offer keyless rooms (access by mobile device). Your housing provider will inform you about this if this is the case for your room. Check-in at a keyless room is possible from 15:00hrs on 18 August 2023.

    No housing yet? Check out our tips and tricks.

  • Step 3: Register with the municipality

    As an international student, you must register as a resident if you plan to stay in the Netherlands for longer than four months. In addition, you must register in the town where you are going to live.

    Important for Non-EU students in possession of a residence permit on the basis of study:
    If you do not register with the municipality, you risk losing your residence permit.

    Citizen service number (BSN)
    Once you've registered, you'll be given a citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, BSN). A BSN is required for many things in the Netherlands, including opening a bank account, visiting a doctor or getting hospital treatment.

    Registration arriving students February 2024

    Municipality of Amsterdam

    It is only possible to register in person and only on or after the start date of your rental contract, not before this date.

    Registration days 2024

    You can choose to go to the municipality of Amsterdam between 9:00-16:00 on one of these specific dates without making an appointment. Please note that 31 January and 5 February are the busiest days. You might consider coming on a different day to avoid long queues.

    • Wednesday, 31 January
    • Thursday, 1 February
    • Friday, 2 February
    • Monday, 5 February
    • Tuesday, 6 February
    • Wednesday, 7 February
    • Thursday, 8 February
    • Friday, 9 February

    You need to bring:

    • your valid passport (or European Union ID card)
    • a printed copy of the identity details pages (personal details & photo) of your passport or copy of your EU ID card. NOTE: if you have more than one nationality and more than one passport, you are required to bring all your passports.
    • a printed copy of your rental contract
    • a printed copy of your student ID card or proof of enrollment at the UvA
    • NOTE: You do NOT need to bring your birth certificate, despite the fact that this is mentioned on the official website of the municipality. Our students are exempted from this.

    Location
    Bos en Lommerplein 176
    1055 RW Amsterdam
    Check location in Google Maps

    Printing documents
    Please note that if you do not print out the rental contract or bring a copy of your passport, you cannot be registered that day and you will have to come back another day. There are no printing facilities available at the municipality’s office. In UvA buildings, printing is possible with your studentcard. Other options include commercial printing shops like the Printerette.

    No rental contract?
    If you do not have a rental contract, because you stay in the house of a friend or relative, the landlord/primary occupant/home owner needs to fill out and sign a permission to register at address form. You need to bring this document as well to your appointment, including a copy of their proof of identity.
    Note: This form is for the municipality of Amsterdam only. For other municipalities, please check their procedure yourself.

    Couples room
    If you rent a couples room through the UvA, only one of you is mentioned on the rental contract. In order to get you both registered at the municipality, you need to fill out the permission to register at address form as well. It also helps if you go to register together at the municipality.
    Download the form for permission to register at someone else's address

    Municipality of Diemen

    If you are going to live at Rode Kruislaan (Lieven De Key) or OurCampus, you will have to register at the municipality of Diemen (in Dutch: Gemeente Diemen), a neighbouring town of Amsterdam.

    You need to bring:

    • your passport (or European Union ID card)
    • printed copy of your rental contract
    • students who require visa: your residence permit. If you did not collect your permit yet, you can bring your IND decision letter. Please contact the Immigration Office if you need this letter.
    • printed copy of the completed registration form of the Municipality of Diemen
    • NOTE: You do NOT need to bring your birth certificate, despite the fact that this is mentioned on the official website. Our students are exempted from this.

    Make a regular appointment with Civil Affairs by calling:
    From abroad: 0031 20 314 4888
    In the Netherlands: 020 314 4888

    Opening hours:
    Monday 8:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 15:30
    Tuesday 8:30 - 12:30
    Wednesday 8:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 15:30
    Thursday 8:30 - 12:30 and 17:30 - 19:30
    Friday 8:30 - 12:30

    Diemen municipality address:
    D.J. den Hartoglaan 1
    1111 ZB Diemen
    Check location in Google Maps

  • Step 4: Open a Dutch bank account

    Once in the Netherlands, it’s helpful to open a Dutch bank account. There are several reasons to do so:

    • International money transfers are usually costly and take several days to process.
    • Credit cards are not widely accepted. The debit card you receive when opening a Dutch bank account is easy and free of charge to pay at supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants.
    • A Dutch bank account offers the option to pay through the iDeal payment method, used in Dutch webshops and to pay energy bills, payment requests etc.

    Read more about which banks to choose from, and how to open an account

  • Step 5: Collect your student card

    How to apply for your student card
    First, upload a picture of your student card. When your student card is ready for pick-up, you will receive an email where to collect it. You need to bring valid proof of identity (ID card or passport) when collecting your card.

    Go to the Student ID card page for more information about your student card.

  • Step 6: Make an appointment to have your biometrics taken

    Update 15 December 2023:

    Instructions for students starting their programme in February or students returning after a gap/study break:
    The IND requires a passport photo, fingerprints, and a signature to produce your residence permit card. If you have submitted a VVR application and have not provided your biometrics yet or you have received a notification from the Immigration office that you need to provide them again, you can make an appointment on the IND’s website. Students that have submitted an MVV application will provide their biometrics at the embassy when collecting their MVV/entry visa.

    Please note when submitting your biometrics that it is very important to submit an ID-photo that fulfills all the IND's strict requirements, which can be found here. Failing to do so will delay the process of collecting your permit as you will most likely need to submit your biometrics to the IND again. The IND has specifically asked us to remind students to submit a proper ID-photo as this is the most common cause of delays in the residence permit collection process.

    You can check if the IND still needs your biometrics to make your card by logging into your MyIND portal with your DigiD and checking the status of your permit there once the Immigration office has informed you that your application has been approved. You may provide your biometrics at any of the location in the Netherlands with a bookable time slot but you will only be able to collect your permit card at the IND office in Amsterdam.

    Instructions for students that submitted an extension application:
    Often, the IND can use the same biometrics which you provided to them the first time you applied for a permit. In some cases, though, the IND will require for you to provide your biometrics again for them to be able to produce your extended permit.

    You can check if the IND needs your biometrics again by logging into your MyIND portal with your DigiD and checking the status of your extended permit there once the Immigration office has informed you that your extension application has been approved. If needed, please make an appointment to provide your biometrics again. You may provide your biometrics at any of the location in the Netherlands with a bookable time slot but you will only be able to collect your permit card at the IND office in Amsterdam.

  • Step 7: Collect your residence permit

    Update 15 December 2023:

    Instructions for all non-EU students that applied for a residence permit for the purpose of study (including Extension applications):
    The Immigration Office will not send you a separate notification to inform you when your residence permit is ready to be collected. As a general rule, your residence permit should be ready for collection about three weeks after submitting your biometrics to the IND, either at the embassy (MVV students) or at the IND office in Amsterdam (VVR students). Therefore, you will have to make an appointment at the IND office in Amsterdam to collect your permit three weeks after having provided your biometrics. It is important to be aware of your applications status.

    Check the status of your residence permit card using the MyIND portal:
    If you are registered with the municipality and you have a BSN number, you can check the status of your residence permit yourself by checking your MyIND account:

    1. To access your MyIND, you need a DigiD account
    2. To obtain a DigiD account, you need your BSN number (which is your Dutch citizen service number; check Step 3 of this checklist for more information)
    3. Go to digid.nl/en to apply for your DigiD account with your BSN number
    4. Once your Digid account is activated, you can login to MyIND
    5. Check what your permits’ status is
    6. Either provide your biometrics (again) of required or make an appointment to collect your residence permit in Amsterdam

    Please note that you have legal residence in the Netherlands even if you have yet to collect your residence permit (and your MVV has expired).

  • Step 8: Arrange your health insurance

    Dutch law requires all international students to have appropriate health insurance for their entire stay in the Netherlands. Allow enough time to do research on this topic, especially when you have pre-existing conditions.

    Before coming to the Netherlands

    • Check whether your current insurance will cover your total stay and what type of coverage it consists of.

    • Make sure you have health insurance coverage from the moment you arrive in the Netherlands.

    Note: The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) available for EU-students may not cover all you need.

    More information
    You'll find more information about EHIC and the pros and cons of different insurance options on the page about health insurance for international students.

    If you have questions about your health insurance and whether it offers enough coverage, check out these frequently asked questions from the zorgverzekeringslijn, an organisation specialising in health insurance for international students.

    Webinar Aon Student Insurance

    To provide more information about their Student Insurance in particular, Aon hosts webinars for both EEA students and non-EEA students. The next webinars will take place during the summer. More information will become available on this page.

    Previous webinars:

    Webinar Aon Student Insurance for EEA students
    9 January 2024, 11:00-12:00 CEST.
    A link to this recording will be posted soon

    Webinar Aon Student Insurance for non-EEA students
    9 January 2024, 14:00-15:00 CEST.
    A link to this recording will be posted soon

    Webinar Aon Student Insurance for EEA Students
    15 August 2023, 11:00-12:00 CEST - 669 students attended
    Watch the recording of this webinar

    Webinar Aon Student Insurance for Non-EEA Students
    15 August 2023, 14:00-15:00 CEST - 902 students attended
    Watch the recording of this webinar