1. I have lived in the Netherlands, but need to change my address. How do I do this?
If you have a Dutch passport and BSN number and have lived in The Netherlands before coming here then you can change your address online using the Municipality (‘Gemeente’) Utrecht website.
You will need a DigiD for this. Make sure to bring: valid identification (passport) and proof of housing (will be given to you by UCU).
2. I am moving in from abroad, how do I register with the municipality?
If you are moving to Utrecht from abroad you will need to make an appointment at the Government Building of the Municipality Utrecht
in order to register/change your address. Make sure to bring: valid identification (passport), proof of housing (will be given to you by UCU), a residence permit, provisional residence permit or evidence of application for a residence permit. If you have not received your residence permit yet you will need to show the confirmation email from the Visa Office (“Visa/residence permit application submitted to the IND”).
Address: Stadskantoor, Stadsplateau 1, 3521 AZ Utrecht (Right next to Utrecht Central Station)
Need some help?
1. Burgerzaken = civil affairs
2. Verhuizing vanuit buitenland = Moving in from abroad
3. Aantal = how many appointments you are asking for (for this you only need one)
4. Locatie = where you want your appointment (Stadskantoor is closest as it is right next to Utrecht Central train station).
3. How/where do I get a bank account?
If you are looking for banks that support sustainability and apply ethical banking principles, you can check out ASN Bank and Triodos Bank. Note that these banks do not have offices and their websites are in Dutch, so help from a Dutch-speaking person is recommended. If you come from abroad it is possible to get a Dutch bank account. This is recommended, in particular for degree students, as it will give you the opportunity to pay with a Dutch bank card at almost any store and the possibility to pay with iDEAL, the default way of making online payments in The Netherlands. Since the requirements for setting up a bank account can differ depending on the bank or your nationality, it’s best to contact the bank personally. Some bigger banks have offices in Utrecht where you can make an appointment: ING, Rabobank, ABN Amro and SNS Bank.
Once you have chosen your bank, it’s time to make an appointment to set up your account. NOTE: You have to have been registered with Municipality Utrecht before you can set up your account. Depending on the bank appointments can be made online or on the phone. (The vast majority of employees here speak English so don’t worry about communication). Make sure to bring the following to your appointment: proof of address, valid ID like a passport, for EU/Non-EU bring both passport and a residence permit, and a valid phone number (can be international, but preferably Dutch if you already have a Dutch number)
4. How and where do I get a Dutch phone number?
Popular providers include Tele2, Vodafone, T-mobile, KPN, AH-mobile and Simpel. Like with any provider, there are many contracts to choose from. Prepay, BillPay with phone or Sim only. There are some things to remember when setting up your contract. To set up a contract you need to be 18, you will need to bring valid ID (passport), proof of address or residence permit (Non EU). If you plan to get a new phone with a contract you will need to be able to share your income/expenses with your provider as they need to know whether you will be able to afford the loan. Note that most websites to sign up are in Dutch, and you will need a Dutch bank account to process monthly payments. If you are looking for a prepaid SIM card, you can simply go to a supermarket and buy an anonymous SIM card at the register.
5. How do I get a health insurance?
Choosing your Health insurer is very personal, and so research is needed. Your choice will depend on a lot of things. Ask yourself first what you want to pay per month, what medicines or health care you need covered, whether you will even need more than a doctor and dentist or whether you will need more help with a disability or chronic illness. There are many insurers to choose from.
Important things to note:
1. A ‘basisverzekering’, or basic health insurance (without extras) is a legal requirement in The Netherlands and failure to apply for this creates severe legal consequences with significant fines. You must have health insurance, from what company is up to you. You will need to contact the insurer you have chosen and set up an appointment. The process of setting up your insurance will depend per insurer, some might require you to come in person, others might be able to be done online. See what UCU advises for health insurance: https://students.uu.nl/en/university-college-utrecht/student-life/health-and-wellbeing/health-insurance.
2. If you wish to add extras, this is called “aanvullende verzekering” and is NOT a requirement. This is recommended in the case you need any extras like dental extraction, orthodontics, physiotherapy etc. but you can discuss this with your insurer.
3. Some people choose to use their EU health insurance card instead of opting for new insurance, but you must check online what this will cover.
6. Am I able to get an OV-chipkaart to travel with public transport?
In the Netherlands our transport system uses a travel card called an OV-chipkaart. These can be used for the bus, tram, train and any other OV services. There are two types, an anonymous card, and a personal one. Both can be ordered online
. An anonymous OV-chipkaart can be purchased: in stations, at various newsagents (such as Primera), at various supermarkets, at some Bruna shops, at OVshop, the Chipbizz webshop (new window) and at a public transport company’s counter. A personal OV can only be bought online. The benefit of having a personal card is that you can add products and discounts, and if you lose it you won’t lose the credit on it because you can make an online account.
7. How do I top-up my OV chip card?
You can top-up your OV chip card at a ticket machine at any train station. Some stores also have a machine for topping up. The closest one to campus can be found in Plus. For journeys by bus, you need to have at least €4 balance on your OV chip card. For journeys by train, you need at least €20 when checking in, so it’s a good practice to check your balance before travelling by train, especially if you want to make a return journey.
8. Where is the best place to get a bike? Is it better to buy one or rent one?
Buying a bike is usually cheaper than renting it, as you can sell your bike when you’re leaving Utrecht. The most important thing is to buy a good chain lock with your bike so it doesn’t get stolen, as bike thieves are almost as abundant as bikes in The Netherlands. You can buy a decent second-hand bike at one of the many bike stores in Utrecht. Check your bike thoroughly before buying, as bike sellers are notorious for giving the crappiest bikes to international students. Alternatively, you can buy your bike second hand online from private sellers at Marktplaats.nl. If you want to rent a bike, Swapfiets is a very popular option. An advantage of renting a bike is that you get free maintenance if something is broken.
10. Can I apply for a student loan as a non-Dutch citizen?
Applying for a student loan in The Netherlands as a non-Dutch citizen is only possible under specific conditions, which can be found here. If you qualify for a student loan, you are also eligible for a supplementary grant depending on the income of your parents. If you are an EU citizen, you can apply for a tuition fee loan. More information can be found here.