The adventure begins: your employer assigned you to a project overseas, in this country: the Netherlands.

Or, you are studying in the Netherlands and plan to stay after graduation. Or you have accompanied your partner to the Netherlands and now, after settling in, you want to embark on a career of your own: perhaps start up a Dutch business?

Adventures are fun, but you do not want to be adventurous in all aspects. Where the stakes are high, you want a reliable service provider.

Besides immigration formalities, moving to another country brings a lot of red tape and practical issues to deal with. Even more so, if you migrate with family members. Below we describe some official issues that you may encounter during your immigration.

In case you are a Human Resources manager of a Dutch company that employs foreign employees, you might find some useful information here too.

At the end of this article, you will find some links to resources, expat media and organizations for expats that can support you with practical matters.

Legalization and translation of documents
A number of official documents need to be authenticated and translated for the purpose of your immigration procedure.

In general, it concerns the following documents:

  • Birth certificates of all family members
  • Marriage certificate

There are other possible requirements in individual cases, always consult with your case lawyer before you leave for the Netherlands.

  • Divorce certificate
  • Single Status certificate
  • Graduate certificates
  • Adoption papers

We can provide information about the competent authority for legalization, or in case an Apostille treaty is in place, on how to obtain an Apostille in your country. For documents in other languages than Dutch, English, German or French a sworn translation is required, which we can arrange for in the Netherlands. In case you need documents legalized in the Netherlands for use abroad, we can visit the court or Ministry of Foreign Affairs (CDC) on your behalf.

Please bear in mind legalization of documents can be a lenghty process, so put things in motion timely, preferably a few months before your scheduled travel.

Town Hall and IND visit

We owe it to Napoleon that our municipalities keep records of all births, deaths and marriages in a ‘population register’. So when you take up residency in the Netherlands for more than 4 months, you are required by law to register your personal details and address at the town hall or local municipality, in the centralized database also referred to as the Civil Registry.

For your registration, you will need to bring your original birth certificate and marriage certificate, legalized or stamped with an Apostille. You will also need a signed lease to prove you can legally reside at your accomodation.

Your registration allows the municipal office to provide you with their services. Furthermore, several other governmental agencies and organizations, eg IND and the Tax Office, rely on the information contained in the municipal records database.

Most importantly for you, registration will generate your personal tax identification number (BSN), which you will need to open a bank account in the Netherlands.

In most municipalities, an appointment must be made in order to register as a newcomer from abroad. In case you need to register your partner and children as well, keep in mind that they must accompany you in person. Should they be arriving at a later date, they will need to make a separate visit with you.

When you move address within the Netherlands, you are obliged to amend your registration accordingly. This is a much simpler formality, which can be handled online if you have a DigiD, the Dutch digital identification login for government website access. You can apply for a DigiD here

30% Tax Benefit
The Dutch tax authorities have established a special facility for foreign employees hired from abroad to work in the Netherlands. This special tax rule implies that approximately 30% of the income tax base of your Dutch salary can be paid tax-free.

Some of the conditions to be granted this benefit are:

  • you have been recruited from abroad
  • your gross annual salary demonstrates you have specific expertise which is not or scarcely availble in the Dutch labour market
  • you have not lived or worked in the Netherlands in recent years
  • you have a BSN number
  • you and your employer have agreed to apply for the 30% tax benefit

A detailed application needs to be filed with the tax authorities, with the required materials as proof of eligibility. Ask your employer or HR if you feel you may be eligible.

Read more on the website of the tax authorities.

Changing your residence permit
For expats who decide to make the Netherlands their permanent home after 5 years of uninterrupted legal stay, there are several options to change their residence permit to a different, more permanent type of permit. We explain each one in detail on the pages linked below:

If you have plans to become self-employed or start up a business:

Read more on this topic in our article about self employment on the IamExpat website here.

Loss or theft of your residence permit
We definitely hope it doesn’t happen to you, but the day might come that your residence permit ID card is stolen, gets lost or damaged. What to do?
The first action to undertake is to report the theft or loss of your residence card to the police. You need your V-number to do so. Make sure the loss of your residence permit ID card is mentioned explicitly in the police report, not just, for example: ‘my wallet’.

If the theft happens abroad, you may need a visa to re-enter the Netherlands. Contact the Dutch embassy or consulate in the country of your stay.

You can apply for a new card, submitting a copy of the police report.
The application is reasonably straightforward. You can find the form on the IND website here. You will be charged government filing fees for the application, payable when you collect the new card at the IND desk.

Obligations when leaving the Netherlands
For most expats, the day will come that you will leave the Netherlands, to go back to your home country or perhaps a secondment elsewhere.
There are a few formalities you must take care of before you leave.

  • You should deregister from the municipal database of your Dutch home town. This can be done in person at the town hall, online if you have a DigiD, or in writing. Ask for a certificate of deregistration as proof, you may need it later. We can handle this formality for you as a paid service. Contact us for details.
  • You must return your residence permit ID documents to the authorities if they are still valid. You can hand in the card(s) at customs when you leave the Schengen area.
  • If you were work authorized by a work permit and leave before the expiration date, it should be returned to the labour authorities.

Expat Community & Events
Expat Events
Chinese New Year (Rotterdam)
Diwali Festival Amsterdam
India Cricket Day at the VRA Cricket Club
Sakura - Cherry Blossom Festival (The Japan Women’s Club)
American Women’s Club
Canadian Club of the Netherlands
Bridging the Gap – Indian Expats
British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands
Dutch-Japanese Trade Federation
The Netherlands India Chamber of Commerce & Trade
Assocham Netherlands - Association of Indian Chambers and Trade Organisations
Holland Alumni network
Amsterdam Expat Meet-up network
Expats Meetup Twitter

Services / authorities
Tax Service - 30% Facility
Chamber of Commerce/Trade register
DigiD, the Dutch digital identification login for government website access

Expat portals
Dispatches Europe

Dutch news in English
News from the Dutch government in English
NL Times
Holland Times
Dutch News
Dutch Daily News

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