Universiteit Leiden

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Check with your study programme

Don’t start applying until you have discussed your plans with your study programme and obtained any necessary permission. See your faculty or study programme tab for details.

Have your courses approved

Would you like the credits you earn abroad to count towards your studies in Leiden? If so, you must have your courses approved in advance. In most cases, you will need to request approval from your programme’s board of examiners. However, for some programmes you must instead contact your international exchange coordinator. Ask your study adviser what steps you need to take.  

Mandatory number of credits

Do you have to earn a mandatory number of credits during your studies abroad? If so, check carefully on your host university’s website how many courses you will need to follow.

Start early

Have your courses approved well in advance. You can only be certain that your credits will be recognised if your courses have been approved before you start them. It can take some time to receive approval, so submit your request as possible. You can find instructions on our faculty or study programme tab.


As a free mover you must arrange your own application to the university abroad. Leiden University is unable to assist you with your application. Check the application procedures and deadlines with your host university.

Register in Study Abroad portal

Once you have gained approval from your study programme for your studies abroad, you must register in the study abroad portal. This enables Leiden University to check that you have selected a safe destination, and to contact you in case of an emergency abroad. If you will receive study credits or university funding for your independent studies abroad, registration in the study abroad portal is obligatory.

See your faculty or study programme tab for instructions.  


  • Find out if you need a visa. Your host university will usually let you know. Alternatively, you can request information from your destination country’s embassy or consulate.
  • You can only request a visa once you have been admitted by your host university.
  • Wait until your visa has been approved before buying your flight ticket, or make sure your ticket can be cancelled or changed.


Ask your host university whether they offer assistance in finding accommodation. Remember to enter your contact details abroad in the study abroad portal as soon as you have them and keep them updated throughout your stay abroad. You will receive instructions by email shortly before departure.


Via HousingAnywhere you can search for sublet accommodation, or sublet your own room whilst you are abroad. Always request advance permission from your landlord.


  • Find out about language requirements. For some universities you will need to take a language test such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Are you unsure if you speak a language well enough? The Academic Language Centre offers online tests to determine your level.
  • A great way to improve your language skills is to travel to your destination early and follow a language course there. Alternatively, you can follow a language course at the Academic Language Centre.


  • Check with your health insurance provider whether you are fully covered for your period of study abroad, or whether top-up insurance is required. Be aware that some countries require you to take out local health insurance.
  • Consider taking out travel and cancellation insurance to cover, for example, luggage, additional health costs, legal aid and liability. AON Student Insurance is a good example.
  • Find out if your insurance company has an emergency phone number. If so, keep it somewhere handy.

Health and safety

Carefully read the health and safety information and take any necessary steps before departure.

International student?

If you are an international student, you must also do the following before departure.

  • Contact the town hall where you are currently registered to ask if you need to cancel your registration.
  • Ask the Visa Team whether your stay abroad will have consequences for your Dutch residence permit (if applicable).
  • Ask your destination country’s embassy or consulate what visa procedures apply to you. Procedures for international students may not be the same as those for Dutch students.

International Discount Card

With an International Student Identity Card (ISIC card) you can get discount on a range of products and services in more than 130 countries, including flight tickets. Purchase your card from ISIC Netherlands.

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