Find answers to all our frequently asked questions about moving to and living in Amsterdam, such as registration in the city, information about permits, how to start a new business and questions related to the Expatcenter's procedures.
Everyone in the Netherlands has a registration number: the citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, CSN) assigned to Dutch citizens at birth. Those newly arriving in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands will need to apply for a CSN. A CSN is required in order to be permitted to work; open a bank account; make use of a health care institution (a doctor or hospital); and to apply for benefit or an allowance.
Internationals receive a CSN upon registration with the municipality (gemeente). Where one registers is dependent on the length of their stay in the Netherlands:
Short stay migrants
If resident for four months or less, see the registration procedures for short stay migrants. Please note: as of 6 January 2014, short stay migrants are no longer required to request a BSN from the Dutch Tax Office (Belastingdienst), but will instead receive it when registering their residence.
For internationals who will be a resident for more than four months, the following methods are available:
Those who have come to the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant can arrange registration at the Expatcenter and will receive a CSN number during the appointment. Why choose the streamlined services of the Expatcenter?
Those not coming to the Netherlands as a skilled migrant can arrange a BSN when they register with the municipality in which they will be resident (such as the district office at Amsterdam City Hall).
A stay of three months or less
If your stay in the Netherlands is for three months or less, your situation may require a tourist visa. This visa grants you the right to stay in the Netherlands. Learn more about obtaining a tourist visa for the Netherlands.
A stay of longer than three months
If you want to stay in Amsterdam for longer than three months, you have to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning).
An EU citizen living in the Netherlands is legally required to register with the municipality. If the EU citizen is going to work for a company that is officially recognised as a sponsor by the IND, he or she should register at the Expatcenter.
To register, EU citizens will need to bring:
All EU citizens are required to register. Citizens of the EU and EEA do not need a residence permit (with the exception of individuals from Croatia).
* these certificates can be submitted within three months of the appointment
The Orientation year permit allows recent graduates from non-EU countries to remain in the Netherlands for up to 12 months while they seek employment.
Best of all, once you have found employment, you can convert this to the residence permit for highly skilled migrants. The income threshold you are required to meet is lower for graduates on an Orientation year permit.
If you do not meet the conditions you cannot exchange your licence for a Dutch one. This means you will need to take a standard theory and practical test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR).
If you meet the above conditions for exchanging your driving licence, you must submit your application at your local district council office (stadsdeelkantoor) with the following:
An application is submitted to the Government Road Transportation Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer, RDW) and the appraisal process takes approximately two weeks. You are not permitted to drive while your application is being processed.
Before leaving the Netherlands, a number of matters need to be dealt with. One is deregistering from the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). The municipality removes your personal details from the database and informs other government authorities of your departure.
You can deregister a month before leaving the Netherlands and are required to indicate your date of departure. If you deregister by post and do not provide a date of departure, the date the municipality receives your written notice will be adopted as your date of departure. If you provide your notice of departure in person, without providing a date of departure, that day is considered your departure date. If your partner or child(ren) leave the Netherlands, they must also deregister.
From business plan to execution, it's not difficult to start a new business in the Netherlands. However, it's essential to complete a lot of advance research to ensure that the business can legally proceed and to make it a success.
In the Netherlands, freelancers, entrepreneurs and one-man start-ups are recognised as ZZP’ers (zelfstandige zonder personeel) or self-employed without employees. As such, the procedure is very similar to that of anyone starting a business or registering a company. To become a ZZP'er you will need to have certain documentation (residence permit, address, etc.) among other essentials. The IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) and the Chamber of Commerce can advise you on your individual situation.
Information for expat employees
You can visit the Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) website to learn more about:
Please note: highly skilled migrants must earn a minimum salary in order to qualify for the entry procedure.
Utilising the Expatcenter services begins with the completion of the appropriate application form from the IND website. On the form, the employer indicates that he would like to use the Expatcenter’s services and sends the completed form to the IND. Approximately four weeks later, the highly-skilled migrant can visit the Expatcenter to collect his or her residence permit and register with the municipality.Advantages of the Expatcenter
By submitting one single form, the employer can initiate the necessary official procedures while the employee is still abroad, and schedule an appointment with the Expatcenter for their arrival. Once the employee is in the Netherlands, all documents will be in place, allowing the employee to start work immediately after their visit to the Expatcenter.
1) Make sure your company holds recognised sponsor status with the IND. If you need assistance, please let us help you.
2) Download and complete the applicable IND form (please note: there are separate forms for the highly skilled migrants, scientific researchers and the family members of applicants).
3) Complete the form selecting the appropriate procedure. Make sure the direct debit form and the antecedents certificate have been signed and you have attached the necessary documents.
Select the Expatcenter Amsterdam on the application form (please take into consideration that the Expatcenter charges fees for its services).
4) Send the application along with the requested appendix to the IND at the following address:
T.a.v. Klantdirectie Regulier Economisch
7600 AE Almelo
5) The IND will send a confirmation letter once the completed application has been received. If your application is incomplete the IND will indicate which items are missing and are required for re-submission.
The Expatcenter Amsterdam is a service point where highly skilled migrants can arrange all their formal affairs in one place upon arrival in the Netherlands. The services carried out by the Expatcenter result in a substantial reduction of the administrative burden for employers and highly skilled migrants entering the Netherlands.
Which services are charged for?
Services which are in addition to those of the IND and the Municipal Personal Records Database now incur a fee. The application fees for the standard permit provision by the IND will remain consistent and the registration for the Municipal Personal Records Database at Amsterdam City Hall will continue to be free of charge. To further strengthen Amsterdam's investment climate, new businesses will be excluded from paying fees during their first year of residence in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area or for their first 10 employee applications, whichever occurs first.