Step-by-step plan for studying abroad
If you are going abroad to do vocational training or a higher education course, this step-by-step plan tells you what arrangements you will need to make with the Dutch authorities.
1. Before you leave
6-12 months before you leave
Do you need a visa?
This will depend on your host country.
- Within the EU or Schengen area: you do not need a visa.
- If you are going to a country outside the EU or Schengen area: you might need a visa. Check this with the embassy of your host country.
Applying for a visa
If you need a visa to study abroad, you should apply for one in good time. The documents needed for a visa application and how long an application takes vary from country to country. Apply for a visa at the embassy of your host country in the Netherlands.
Find out whether you can get student finance from DUO (the Education Executive Agency) or can keep your student finance while abroad.
A scholarship might be a useful source of extra funding during your study abroad.
- Go to Wilweg.nl for an overview of available scholarships (information in Dutch)
The educational institution where you will be studying may be able to help you find accommodation.
- Go to Wilweg.nl to find out more about accommodation abroad (information in Dutch)
You will need to be vaccinated against certain diseases before going to some countries. If that is the case, get your jabs on time.
- Find out whether you will need vaccinations for your host country (information in Dutch)
2-6 months before you leave
If you don’t already have one, apply for a DigiD before deregistering from your municipality. It’s easier to apply for a DigiD from the Netherlands than from abroad. You can use your DigiD to log in to Dutch government websites, even from abroad.
When you are abroad, you cannot always receive the SMS DigiD verification code needed to log in to the websites of Dutch government organisations. With the DigiD app you can log in without an SMS verification code. So download and activate the app before you leave. Then you will be sure that you can log in.
Check when your passport or identity card is due to expire. Some countries have specific requirements for the validity of your passport or identity card. You will find this information in the travel advice for the country in question.
- Go to travel advice (information in Dutch)
You can apply for a new passport or identity card through your municipality.
Check whether you can enter your host country with a Dutch identity card. If that is not the case, you will need to apply for a passport through your municipality.
Find out whether you can get student finance to study abroad or keep it while you’re there. And because you cannot use your student travel product outside the Netherlands, you can probably get a public transport allowance.
Educational institutions abroad often ask for more information about your Dutch diplomas or certificates. You may have to get them legalised or provide a description of their contents.
1 month before you leave
If you are going to study abroad for more than 8 months you will need to deregister from your municipality. Do this in the last 5 days before you leave.
Dutch health insurance
If you go abroad to study, you will usually keep your Dutch health insurance. Remember to inform your health insurer that you will be living abroad for a while.
Whether you can keep your Dutch health insurance will depend on how long you stay abroad, and whether you work while you study.
If you have Dutch health insurance during your stay abroad, you can usually keep your healthcare benefit. Go to the Mijn Toeslagen portal on the Tax Administration website to inform the tax authorities of your new address. You will need your DigiD. If you do not have a DigiD, apply for one before you leave.
- Go to Mijn Toeslagen to provide your address abroad (information in Dutch)
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are going to study within Europe, you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card will entitle you to essential medical care abroad. You will receive the card by post within 7 working days of applying.
You cannot use your student travel product outside the Netherlands, but you can apply to DUO for a public transport allowance. Before you leave, you will need to cancel your public transport smart card at a ticket machine. If you don’t, you may receive a fine.
To make sure you do not miss any messages from DUO, check that it has an email address you use regularly.
Look at the checklist for travelling abroad or download the Travel App. Here you will find information on your baggage, your bank card and carrying medicines, for example.
- Check what you need to travel to the Netherlands
- Download the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Customs Travel App (information in Dutch)
Regularly check the travel advice for your destination. A change in colour code may have consequences for your studies abroad.
- Check the travel advice (information in Dutch)
Keep up to date on the security situation in your country
- Register for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information service (information in Dutch)
2. When you’re abroad
If you study abroad, there are still some things you will need to arrange with the Dutch authorities. Find out what you can arrange with the Dutch authorities from abroad.
If you end up staying abroad for longer than originally planned, you will need to arrange a number of things.
Deregister from your municipality
If you are going to be outside the Netherlands for more than 8 months you will need to deregister from your municipality.
Check your visa
If you have a visa and wish to stay longer than expected, check that your visa allows this. Find out more from the embassy or consulate of your host country.
If you did not initially require a visa, you may require one to stay longer. Find out more from the embassy or consulate of your host country.
Student finance and student travel product
If you initially informed DUO of the date you would return to the Netherlands and you now wish to stay abroad for longer, you will need to provide DUO with your new return date.
- Inform DUO of a change in your situation (information in Dutch)
If you are finished – or almost finished – studying or if you will be leaving your course, there are a number of things you will need to arrange.
Check the validity of your passport or ID card
If you are staying abroad for longer, check that your passport or ID card is valid for long enough. Some countries have special requirements in this regard. You can apply for a new Dutch passport or new Dutch ID card in your host country.
3. Returning to the Netherlands
If you deregistered from your municipality before you left, you should register with the municipality where you are going to live within five days of your return to the Netherlands.
Inform DUO of your return to the Netherlands.
- Log in to Mijn DUO (information in Dutch)
Student travel product
If before you went abroad you informed DUO of the date of your return to the Netherlands you can activate your student travel product as soon as you get back.
If you did not inform DUO of this date, or if you have returned earlier or later than planned, you will need to re-apply for a student travel product.
Once you have re-applied through Mijn DUO for a student travel product, you can activate it at a ticket machine. Your public transport allowance will stop automatically.
Preparing your diploma or certificate for use in the Netherlands
If you were awarded a diploma or certificate abroad, Dutch educational institutions and employers will often ask for more information about it. You might need to have it legalised or evaluated.
If you have finished or almost finished your studies you will need to arrange a few things with DUO.
Dutch health insurance
If you kept your Dutch health insurance while you were abroad, inform your insurer of your return to the Netherlands.
If you cancelled your Dutch health insurance before you left, you will have to take out new insurance.
If you received healthcare benefit during your stay abroad, log in to the Mijn Toeslagen portal on the Tax Administration website to inform the tax authorities of your new address.
- Log in to Mijn Toeslagen (information in Dutch)
If you registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information service, you will need to deregister on your return so that the embassy or consulate knows you are no longer in the country in question.
- Deregister from the information service (information in Dutch)