Living in the Netherlands
Information for British nationals visiting or living in the Netherlands.
Entry and residency requirements
If you are a British citizen or British subject with the right of abode in the United Kingdom, you do not require a visa to enter the Netherlands. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Dutch embassy.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from the Netherlands. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
If your passport appears to be damaged the Dutch immigration police may deny you entry into the Netherlands.
EU citizens planning to reside in the Netherlands for more than 3 months should register with the Municipality Administration (GBA) where you live. You will be required to provide documentation in order to register. For more information contact the local Town Hall (Gemeentehuis) where you plan to reside.
Please note that it is a legal requirement to carry photographic ID at all times ie valid passport/Dutch residence permit/Dutch driving licence.
Within a four month period of arriving in the Netherlands it is mandatory to purchase health care coverage. The basic Dutch health insurance (basis verzekering) will cover general medical care, such as visits to local GP or hospital and basic dental care. Prices start at approximately €100 per month. For more extensive policy coverage, to suit individual needs you can shop around to find the best insurer and best price.
You can find out more about how to plan for your healthcare if you are going to live abroad on a permanent basis on the NHS website. Before you go to the Netherlands on holiday make sure you bring a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you, and take out private travel insurance.
Student Insurance - information about the rules around health care in the Netherlands, the EHIC, what to do when you have problems regarding health care and you are studying in the Netherlands. This website has the full support of the Dutch government in providing clear information to foreign students studying in the Netherlands.
The following websites are only in Dutch:
Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (in Dutch only)
The UK basic state pension is payable in the Netherlands.
The state pension changed in April 2010. More people now qualify for a full basic state pension. Find out about the most important changes and what they mean to you.
To find out when you reach state pension age, use the State Pension Age Calculator.
If you believe that you are entitled to claim a pension in the UK you can contact the International Pension Centre in the UK on +44 (0)191 218 7777.
Moving to the Netherlands and receiving a UK State Pension:
If you are moving to the Netherlands from the UK you should inform the International Pension Centre (IPC) of the changes to your circumstances. This will prevent any problems with your pension payments. UK pension credit is not payable in the Netherlands, if you decide to move to the Netherlands permanently you must inform the office that pays your benefits before you leave.
Entitlement to a Dutch retirement pension:
After working in more than one European Economic Area (EEA) country, it is possible for your contributions from each one to be taken into account when calculating your pension or benefit. You must therefore give as much information as possible about your working life when you apply. For information on how and when to claim your Dutch retirement pension or how your contributions in the UK can contribute toward your entitlement to a Dutch retirement pension, contact your local pensions office .
You may also be thinking about paying voluntary contributions to top up your pension entitlement in either country. For further information on paying voluntary contributions in the UK, contact HMRC.
If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped. You’ll need to get it signed by a ‘witness’ and send it back, as instructed on the form.
Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. This is now the same as the list of people who can ‘countersign’ a passport photo, although they don’t need to live in the UK, or have a British or Irish passport.
Benefits in the Netherlands
UK Benefits which you must apply for before leaving the UK:
- contribution-based JSA
- statutory maternity pay
- statutory sick pay
- severe disablement allowance
UK Benefits which you can apply for after leaving the UK:
- contribution-based incapacity benefit/employment support allowance
- disability living allowance (care component)/carer’s allowance/attendance allowance
- industrial injuries disablement benefit
- bereavement benefits
- maternity allowance
- UK child benefit
Non-exportable UK benefits:
The following benefits are for people who are ordinarily resident in the UK and under no circumstances are they available in the Netherlands:
- pension credit
- council tax benefit
- income support
- housing benefit
- means-tested incapacity benefit
Remember – if you are in receipt of benefits, it’s an offence not to tell the DWP if your circumstances change, for example:
- you are going to live or currently living in the Netherlands
- you get married, or if you separate, divorce or are widowed
- you start work, increase your earnings or your savings
If you don’t tell the DWP it could mean prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions. For more details visit the benefit theft website.
The Netherlands contribution-based benefits:
Working and paying contributions in the Netherlands gives you entitlement to a number of Dutch social security benefits. Detailed information on benefit schemes is available on the UVW website (only available in Dutch).
Dutch unemployment benefit:
You should apply for unemployment benefit in the Netherlands if you have been working here and paying contributions. Information concerning possible eligibility is available on the werk.nl website (only available in Dutch).
Dutch disability benefit:
You should apply for incapacity benefit in the Netherlands if you have been working here and paying contributions.
Driving licences and vehicles
Please note that the following information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Dutch authorities.
Importing your UK registered vehicle from the UK to the Netherlands:
Once you are a resident of the Netherlands, and registered with your local Gemeentehuis, you cannot drive a car registered in another country.
If you have a driving licence that was issued in one of the countries of the EU or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), then you can normally carry on driving with the foreign driving license for up to 10 years after issue. However, this is on condition that your driving licence is still valid.
When is exchanging possible?
A driving licence issued in the United Kingdom can be exchanged for a Dutch driving licence.
Replacing or renewing your UK licence within the Netherlands:
You should bear in mind that once your UK photocard licence expires, you will not be able to renew this with the DVLA if you are residing in the Netherlands. You may wish to convert your licence over to a Dutch licence before it expires. Similarly, if your licence is lost or stolen you will not be able to replace it through the DVLA if you reside in the Netherlands.
Netherlands motor insurance regulations:
Netherlands insurance regulations differ from those in the UK. It is important to check carefully what cover your policy provides. You can arrange insurance through a private insurance company. You can compare insurance rates on this website.
Documents you should carry in the car.
When driving in the Netherlands, if stopped by the police you would need the following:
- driving licence
- insurance documents
- ID document (ie passport/verblijfsdocument (residence permit)
If you receive a traffic fine while driving in the Netherlands (eg for speeding/parking incorrectly) please go to the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice website.
Ziekenhuis.nl - search engine for hospitals and clinics in the Netherlands
EXPATICA.COM - information for expats in the Netherlands
iens - search engine and rating system for restaurants in the Netherlands
I amsterdam - a guide to visiting, living in, working in and investing in Amsterdam
ACCESS - not-for-profit organisation supporting the international community in the Netherlands
AngloINFO Netherlands - information for expats in the Netherlands
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Dutch authorities.
Published: 17 May 2013
Updated: 12 September 2016
- added more links re: health insurance in the Netherlands
- added information about health insurance for students and expats.
- First published.