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Checklist for international students

upon arrival in Amsterdam

The following steps are a useful checklist upon arrival. Please note that some of these steps are mandatory.

  • Step 1: Transport when you arrive in Amsterdam

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

    OV chipcards
    The GVB in Amsterdam and the Dutch National Railways (NS) are not the same operators. 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.

  • 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, 19 August 2022. 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.
  • Step 3: Register with the municipality

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

    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.

    Municipality of Amsterdam

    Registration arriving students August 2022

    The UvA has specific arrangements with the municipality of Amsterdam for easy registration of our students in August and September 2022. These days are especially for UvA students only. This means that you do not have to make an appointment within 5 days of arrival; you will be registered (in some cases retrospectively) from the date your rental contract starts.

    Registration days

    You can choose to go to the municipality of Amsterdam on one of these specific dates between 9:00-16:00hrs without making an appointment:

    • Monday 22 August
    • Tuesday 23 August
    • Wednesday 24 August
    • Thursday 25 August
    • Friday 26 August
    • Monday 29 August
    • Tuesday 30 August
    • Wednesday 31 August
    • Thursday 1 September

    Arriving after Thursday 1 September?

    If you cannot make it on one of the above dates, there are extra registration days. Please note that these days are for all students in Amsterdam, not just specifically for UvA students.

    You can go on one of these specific days to the municipality between 09:00-16:00hrs, without making an appointment:

    • Friday 2 September
    • Monday 5 September
    • Tuesday 6 September
    • Wednesday 7 September
    • Thursday 8 September
    • Friday 9 September
    • Tuesday 13 September
    • Wednesday 14 September
    • Friday 23 September

    If many students arrive at the desk at the same time, queues or waiting time could occur. Therefore we strongly advise you to go early in the morning, since early mornings are known to be less crowded.

    Address municipality Amsterdam:

    Amsterdam Bos en Lommerplein 176

    Check location in Google Maps or download the flyer with directions.

    You will 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.
      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
    • 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. Our students are exempted from this.

    Please note that if you do not print out the rental contract or bring a copy or your passport, you cannot be registered that day and you will have to come back another day.

    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.
    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

    Arriving after 23 september?

    Make an appointment by calling +31 20 624 1111. Find more information on the website of the municipality.

    Changing address within Amsterdam?

    Notify the municipality on time if you change address.

    Municipality of Diemen

    If you are going to live at Rode Kruislaan (De Key) or OurCampus, you will have to register at the municipality of Diemen, a neighbouring town of Amsterdam. The UvA has specific arrangements with the municipality of Diemen for easy registration of our students in August and September 2022.

    Registration days

    You can choose to go to the municipality of Diemen on one of these specific dates between 9:00-16:00hrs without making an apppointment:

    • Tuesday 23 August
    • Thursday 25 August
    • Tuesday 30 August
    • Thursday 1 September

    You need to bring:

    • your passport (or European Union ID card)
    • printed copy of the identity details pages of your passport or copy of your EU 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 . VVR students will receive this letter after their application has been approved. MVV students will receive this letter after 20 August 2022.
    • printed copy of the completed registration form of the Municipality of Diemen

    Address municipality Diemen:

    D.J. Den Hartoglaan 1
    1111 ZB Diemen

    Check location in Google Maps.

    Arriving after 1 September 2022?

    Make an appointment by calling:

    Regular opening hours:

    • Monday 8:30 - 12:30hrs and 13:30 - 15:30hrs
    • Tuesday 8:30 - 12:30hrs
    • Wednesday 8:30 - 12:30hrs and 13:30 - 15:30hrs
    • Thursday 8:30 - 12:30hrs and 17:30 - 19:30hrs
    • Friday 8:30 - 12:30hrs
  • Step 4: Open a Dutch bank account

    Once in the Netherlands, it’s helpful to open a Dutch bank account. International money transfers are usually costly and take days to process. Also, 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.

    Choose a bank

    You can open a student bank account at several banks in the Netherlands.

    ABN AMRO
    The easiest and quickest way to open a bank account with ABN AMRO is via their app (about one working day). You will need:

    • A valid passport
    • Proof of enrolment or your student card
    • Your BSN number

    To open a bank account with a European ID card, you will have to complete your identification by appointment. This option will take about a week. You will also need your proof of enrollment and your BSN number.

    Please note: you can only open a bank account with ABN AMRO if you live in the Netherlands for at least 6 months.

    ING
    To open a bank account with ING you must visit one of the ING service points.

    • A valid passport
    • Proof of enrolment
    • An original extract from the Personal Records Database (BRP)
    • Your BSN, or if you do not have one, your Tax Identification Number

    Bunq
    At Bunq, you can make an appointment online. Video verification is used to open your bank account.  You'll need the following documents to complete the verification:

  • 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 e-mail 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

    Only applicable if you have the nationality of one of the following countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Monaco, Vatican City, USA, South Korea or are in possession of a valid Schengen-residence permit.

    The IND requires a passport photo, fingerprints, and a signature for your residence permit. You can make an appointment after you have received an e-mail that says that the IND needs your biometrics.

    Leading up to the start of each semester, the IND desks can be busier than usual. Due to the high number of applications and shortage of staff at the IND desk, there is a limited number of timeslots available and some days they are no timeslots. The UvA as well as the IND are aware of this issue, and are working towards a solution.

    Please keep an eye on the website of the IND to see if new timeslots become available. In any case, please do not worry if you cannot make an appointment, or if your appointment is a few weeks in the future. Your legal residency in the Netherlands will remain, even if you have not been able to submit your biometric data.

  • Step 7: Collect your residence permit

    The IND is organising central collection days in the Hague together with the UvA for international students to collect their residence permit. When your card is ready you will receive an e-mail from the Immigration department and you can make an appointment to collect your residence permit on one of the following days:

    • Saturday, 17 September 2022
    • Saturday, 24 September 2022

    Please ensure to keep these dates available in your calendar.

    The UvA will be informed by the IND when a student's residence permit card is ready for collection. As soon as we have received that information, the immigration team will inform you via email about this. We will then send you a link to our booking system which will allow you to select a timeslot on one of the collection days. These collection days will be located in the Hague, near train station The Hague Holland Spoor.

    We will be inviting students to the booking system from mid August until 23 September 2022, so your patience is much appreciated. We understand that this situation is not ideal but this is the only solution to ensure our students are able to receive their permits within the first few weeks after their arrival to the Netherlands. If you have not been invited to book a timeslot by 23 September, or are unable to travel to the Hague on either of the collection days, the normal residence permit collection process will apply and you will be required to make an appointment at the IND office in Amsterdam which may not be available for a few weeks/months as they are currently very busy.

    You will still have valid residency status in the Netherlands until you are able to collect your permit. We appreciate your understanding and please make sure to keep an eye on your student email and our Upon Arrival website website for updates.

  • Step 8: Arrange your health insurance

    Dutch law requires all international students to have appropriate health insurance for their entire stay in the Netherlands.

    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.

    More information
    You'll find more information 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 two days of webinars:

    Tuesday, 2 August 2022:

    • EEA Students: 11:00-12:00 CET.

    • Non-EEA students: 14:00-15:00 CET.

    Tuesday, 6 September

    • EEA Students: 11:00-12:00 CET.

    • Non-EEA students: 14:00-15:00 CET.

    Sign up for a Student Insurance webinar by Aon

    Mark these dates in your calendar.