One of the first steps you should take into account when thinking about relocating and working in the Netherlands is to make sure you obtain a BSN number (Burger Service Nummer). Your BSN number is your personal identification number, and everyone who lives in the Netherlands is required to have one. It allows you to: open up a bank account, and to pay your taxes over your income, which are essentials before starting employment. 

Your BSN number also will enable you to be able to use the healthcare system, apply for benefits and declare any change of address. 

It is important to note here that having a BSN number does not automatically grant expats the right to work in the Netherlands. Indeed, you might need to apply for a work permit as an extra step (this varies depending on your country of origin). 

You will receive a BSN Number when you register at the municipality (or 'gemeente' in Dutch) . Everyone who moves to the Netherlands and plans to stay longer than four months is required to register themselves at the municipality within the first 5 days after arrival. 

In order to obtain the BSN, there are a few documents that you are required to provide: 

  • A valid passport (please note that a driver's license is not enough!)
  • Non-EU members also need to bring a residence permit and employment contract if applicable
  • An address to register as your home address

Some municipalities only process registrations via a pre-scheduled appointment. Getting one can take a few weeks and delay the process of getting a BSN Number. We therefore advise you to make an appointment as soon as possible upon arrival.

Please note that depending on the municipality, you might require additional documents.

If you are living outside of the Netherlands or if you are planning to live in the Netherlands for less than 4 months (for work or study), you can register in the Non-residents Records Database (RNI) in order to receive a BSN.

The RNI is a register of people who do not live in the Netherlands, no longer live in the Netherlands, or live in the Netherlands for less than 4 months. After you register in person at one of the 19 municipalities with an RNI-desk in the Netherlands, you will be given a BSN.

If you require a BSN number urgently and cannot wait for a municipality appointment, and you possess one of the following permits: highly-skilled migrant, researcher, Blue Card, search year/orientation year, there is an alternative solution. The IN Amsterdam center can issue BSN numbers immediately. Please note that there is a fee associated with this service.