IND visits Leiden University
As part of a pilot scheme international students are now able to apply for residence permits while still in their home country, and so will also be able to collect their permits shortly after arrival, rather than having to wait 8 to 12 weeks. Representatives of the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) visited Leiden on 23 February to issue permits to new international students.
The visit to Leiden by IND represents a very customer-friendly new service and it means that students no longer have to travel all the way to an IND office in Amsterdam or Rijswijk to collect their permits. Residence permits are always only issued in person by an IND officer and can never be sent by post or issued to a third person.
The big day was 23 February. Two IND officers visited Leiden and installed themselves behind one of the desks in Plexus Student Centre for an hour and a half. The session was scheduled during lunch time in the hope that as many students as possible would be able to attend without missing their classes. Fortunately only four students were unable to make it. They were therefore asked to travel to Rijswijk the following week to pick up their residence permits.
It was interesting to note how surprised many international students were by the casual dress and friendly faces of the IND officers. Most of them expected to see stern expressions, stiff uniforms and a lot of official stamps. One unforeseen consequence was that some students went on to ask the officers where they could get a LU card or even buy a Pepsi!
In spite of this minor hitch, both the IND and the students were very pleased with this new set-up. Hopefully we can organise the same service for our new students this coming September.
(15 March 2012)