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Frequently Asked Questions

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 IN Amsterdam's procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions


Topics

Registration and BSN

What is a BSN (citizen service number)?

Everyone in the Netherlands has a registration number: the citizen service number (burgerservicenummer, BSN) assigned to Dutch citizens at birth. Those newly arriving in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands will need to apply for a BSN. A BSN 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.

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How do I get a CSN?

Internationals receive a BSN 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.

Regular registration

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 IN Amsterdam and will receive a BSN during the appointment. Why choose the streamlined services of IN Amsterdam?

  • 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).

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How do I register?

You will need to register with the municipality (gemeente) if you plan to live or work in the Netherlands. You will receive your BSN number as a result. The municipality regularly informs all registered inhabitants of local events and helps with official matters.

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Immigration

How do I get a residence permit?

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).

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What do EU citizens need to know?

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 IN Amsterdam.

To register, EU citizens will need to bring:

  • valid identification (passport or identity card)
  • a current work contract
  • an original birth certificate in Dutch, English, French or German (or a translation by a sworn translator) and authenticated if required *
  • if applicable, an original marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption certificate, family book (Daftar or Livret dÉtat Civil) or former residence permit (translated and authenticated where required) *
  • one of the following documents:
    • a rental/ tenancy agreement (huurovereenkomst)
    • a recent house deed or home purchase agreement 
    • written permission from the main tenant of the house, along with a copy of the main tenant's valid passport or identity card

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

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Recent graduates

Can I stay in the Netherlands after I graduate?

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. 

 

Driving Licence

Can I exchange my driving licence?

You can exchange your licence for a Dutch one if you meet ALL of the following conditions:
  • You live in the Netherlands and are registered with your local municipality.
  • You are from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland OR are from a country with a special agreement (see Exceptions) OR you have the 30% ruling.
  • You have a valid residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland).
  • Your current driving licence is valid.
  • Your current driving licence, if issued in a country outside the EU, was issued after being a resident of that country for at least 185 days.

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).

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How do I apply for a Dutch driving licence?

If you meet the above conditions for exchanging your driving licence, you must submit your application at your local district council office (stadsloket) with the following:

  • Colour passport photograph.
  • Your foreign driving licence.
  • Your residence permit (unless you are a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland).
  • Statement of 30% ruling (if applicable).
  • Certificate of fitness.

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.

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Deregistration

Do I need to deregister if I am leaving the Netherlands?

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.

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How do I deregister?

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.

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Self-employed or freelance

How do I start a business in the Netherlands?

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.

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How can I work as a freelancer or ZZPer?

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.

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IN Amsterdam procedure

What is a highly skilled migrant?

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) developed the Expatcenter Procedure, an entry procedure specifically for highly skilled migrants or ‘knowledge migrants’ via IN Amsterdam.

Information for expat employees

You can visit the Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) website to learn more about:

  • Entry procedure for highly skilled migrants and labour migrants (IND website).
  • Organisations and companies who are participating in the special entry procedure for highly skilled migrants.

Please note: highly skilled migrants must earn a minimum salary in order to qualify for the entry procedure.

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How does the IN Amsterdam procedure work?

Utilising IN Amsterdam's 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 IN Amsterdam’s (formerly 'Expatcenter Amsterdam') services and sends the completed form to the IND. Approximately four weeks later, the highly-skilled migrant can visit the IN Amsterdam office to collect his or her residence permit and register with the municipality.

Advantages of IN Amsterdam

By submitting one single form, the employer can initiate the necessary official procedures while the employee is still abroad, and schedule an appointment with IN Amsterdam 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 IN Amsterdam.

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How do I apply for the IN Amsterdam procedure (as an employer)?

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 IN Amsterdam (formerly 'Expactcenter Amsterdam') on the application form (please take into consideration that IN Amsterdam charges fees for its services).

4) Send the application along with the requested appendix to the IND at the following address:

IND
T.a.v. Klantdirectie Regulier Economisch 
Postbus 245 
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.

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What are the costs of the IN Amsterdam procedure?

IN 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 IN Amsterdam 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.

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Living in Amsterdam

Where can I learn about housing in Amsterdam?

Whether you are looking to find rental accommodation, to buy a house, or even to understand your housing rights, I amsterdam's Living portal hosts a site dedicated to housing in Amsterdam.

It's also a great spot to learn more about the different neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.

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Where can I find out about work and employment?

I amsterdam has a site dedicated to working in Amsterdam. Here you can find key topics such as:

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Where can I find out what's on in Amsterdam?

I amsterdam can connect you to a whole host of cultural and entertainment activities. Whether you're looking for cool concerts or festivals and events, there's always lots going on in Amsterdam.

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Additional assistance

Contact

If you are not able to find the answer to your questions in the above list, please feel free to contact us for more information.

IN Amsterdam (formerly 'Expatcenter Amsterdam')
World Trade Center Amsterdam
I-Tower, ground floor (entrance via Zuidplein)
Strawinskylaan 1767
1077 XX Amsterdam
Email: [email protected] 
Telephone +31 (0)20 254 7999

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