Universiteit Leiden

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Corona measures

If you are planning on studying abroad, the coronavirus situation can certainly be a cause for uncertainty. By following the advice and guidelines on the Health and Safety page, you can minimise any potential (financial) risks as much as possible. Still unsure whether it’s a good idea to study abroad at the moment? Read the university’s advice.

Also take a look at the study abroad and corona FAQs.

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.

Request permission

If you want to study abroad independently as a free mover, you must first obtain permission from your international coordinator. To do so, please send an e-mail to exchangepsy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl in which you give a short description of your plan, including: 

  • The name and website of the university you wish to study at,
  • A preliminary study plan with courses you would like to take (After you received permission you will need to draw up a final learning agreement in order to have your courses approved). 

Please note that your host university has to be a university-level institution.  
Within four weeks after sending your request, you will receive a decision per e-mail. When you have been granted permission you can start applying at the host university. After you have been admitted to the host university you will also have to register in the Study Abroad Portal (see Registration below).


Have your courses approved

If you would like the credits you earn abroad to count towards your studies in Leiden, you must have your courses approved in advance. 

Course requirements
In general, courses that meet the following requirements can be approved:

  • No overlap with courses included in your bachelor’s;
  • No English language courses;
  • Courses must be at an academic level.

Extra-curricular courses
The courses you take abroad will always be extra-curricular. It is not possible to take your elective credits abroad. If you want to study at an university abroad for a semester, you must allow for an extra semester on your master’s programme.

Course approval
Your international exchange coordinator can approve your course selection before you leave on behalf of the Board of Examiners. You are required to complete a learning agreement before you go and discuss this with your international coordinator.

Compulsory number of credits
Students must register for a minimum of 20 EC when studying abroad. Are you studying outside of Europe? Make sure you check carefully how many of the overseas credits equate to this. Questions? Contact your international coordinator.

Grade conversion
If necessary, the credits obtained abroad will be converted to the ECTS upon your return. Grades obtained abroad will not be converted to the Leiden University Grading System. Passed grades will appear as a ‘Pass’ in uSis. If you want, you can request an official grade list from the host university on which the actual grades are displayed in the grading system of that university.

Allow plenty of time
If you need a signature for a scholarship application, a learning agreement or public transport allowance form, make sure you get everything signed off in good time by the international coordinator.

Changes to the Learning Agreement
Have there been changes to your curriculum at the start of or during your stay? If so, you must have the courses approved again by your international coordinator. You can do this by completing the second section (During Mobility) of the Learning Agreement and by sending it to your international coordinator. This way, you can be sure that the credits you earn during your exchange can be recognised upon your return.

Recognition of credits
On your return, it is the Psychology student's own responsibility to request recognition of the credits achieved while studying abroad in good time.

Register in Study Abroad portal

By registering in the Study Abroad portal, you enable Leiden University to make sure 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 activity abroad, registration in the study abroad portal is obligatory.  

You must register in the Study Abroad portal as soon as you receive approval from your study programme for your independent studies abroad - and at least 2 weeks before departure. If you will go abroad within 2 weeks, contact your International Exchange Coordinator for instructions.


  • Log into uSis > click on the Study Abroad tile > select ‘Register a period of independent study abroad’.
  • Enter the requested data, upload your ‘approval document’ (see next section) and submit your registration request.
  • If you have the necessary approval from your study programme and your destination is safe, the university will approve your registration. You may then depart for your independent studies abroad. Remember to check the travel advice before departure in case the situation changes.
  • As soon as possible, enter your contact details abroad in the Study Abroad portal - in the ‘During your stay’ section. You will receive instructions by email shortly before departure. Remember to keep your contact details updated whilst abroad so we can reach you in case of emergencies. > End shared content block

Approval document

When registering in the study abroad portal you will be asked to upload an ‘approval document’. You can upload the e-mail you received from your International coordinator in which have your been granted permission for your independent study abroad (see Request Permission above). 

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