Insurance options foreign students

As a foreign student in The Netherlands, it’s not always clear what kind of healthcare insurance you need. You might need to take out Dutch (or private) healthcare insurance, although it is also perfectly possible you can keep your home country’s healthcare insurance. How to find out which situation applies to you? That depends, on your country of origin, age and activities in the Netherlands. On this page, we will give you a detailed description of the different possible situations.

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Why do I need healthcare insurance?

When you are a foreign student, you need decent healthcare insurance since Dutch healthcare costs are above average. With basic healthcare insurance, you are covered for medical costs during your stay in The Netherlands. If you’re not sufficiently insured on time, you will be registered with the government as a defaulter. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you are sufficiently insured.

When do I need to take out Dutch healthcare insurance?

Are you planning to work in the Netherlands? Then you are obliged to take out insurance with a Dutch health insurer from the day you come to work in the Netherlands. You must also register with a Dutch municipality. Even if you have not yet taken out health insurance. Have you already registered with a municipality but not yet with a health insurer? You will receive a letter about this from the CAK. The CAK ensures that everyone in the Netherlands has health insurance. Do not wait too long to take out health insurance: you have 4 months to take out health insurance. If you take out your healthcare insurance within these 4 months, you are retrospectively insured for the months you did not yet take out your insurance. Did you not take out healthcare insurance after 4 months? Then you are uninsured.

Conditions and rules

Always make sure that you choose the right insurance for your situation. What insurance suits your situation depends on:

  • If you are working in The Netherlands (including part-time and zero-hour/casual contracts and work as a freelancer);
  • Your country of origin;
  • Your age;
  • If you are doing a paid internship (receiving at least minimum wage and/or expenses);

Dutch basic healthcare insurance

Every Dutch citizen is obliged to take out basic healthcare insurance. This is an obligatory package compiled by the government which covers the most important basic medical care. Examples are visits to the general practitioner or the hospital. For coverage of additional medical care, like a visit to the dentist or physiotherapist, supplementary insurances are available. When you are temporarily studying in The Netherlands you will only need Dutch basic healthcare insurance when you are working or doing a paid internship (earning at least the minimum wage).

You can find more detailed information on our page about basic healthcare insurance.

Private healthcare insurance

When you are planning to study in The Netherlands and you’re from a non-European country you might have to take out private healthcare insurance. Especially if you can’t keep your home country’s insurance or in case the coverage is insufficient. Private international healthcare insurance is designed for foreign students who are legally not allowed to get Dutch basic healthcare insurance. To be eligible for this insurance you have to be an unemployed student in The Netherlands.

More information and private health care insurance companies can be found on our page covering private student healthcare insurance.

Home country insurance

If you are a citizen of the European Union, The European Economic Area or Switzerland you can probably keep your home country’s health care insurance. The only condition is that your stay in the Netherlands is temporary and you’re not working or doing a paid internship (receiving the minimum wage). Make sure to check if your home country’s insurance covers medical care living abroad. If this is the case, you can apply for an EHIC card. The card, issued by your home country’s health insurance provider, proves that you are sufficiently insured in your home country. Subsequently, it will give you access to all necessary Dutch medical care during your stay.

Read more detailed information about the validity of your home country insurance in The Netherlands.


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linda van ReenenThe information on this page has been verified by
Linda van Reenen. She is a specialist in the field of student insurance and has been working for for over five years.

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