Guidance

Living in the Netherlands

Information for British citizens moving to or living in the Netherlands, including guidance on residency, healthcare and driving.

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in the Netherlands. Read about how our British embassy in The Hague can help.

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Dutch authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad.

To stay up to date:

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

Some parts of this guide only apply if you were living in the Netherlands since before 1 January 2021. You should read these in addition to the rest of the guidance in each section.

You should also read our Living in Europe page for detailed guidance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Coronavirus

Follow the advice of the Dutch government and your local authority. You should also read the Netherlands travel advice.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in the Netherlands, read our coronavirus travel advice.

Visas and residency

You must tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

Check the entry requirement for the Netherlands.

Read the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) guidance on the types of residence permit you can apply for as a ‘third country national’ who wants to move to the Netherlands. You are a ‘third country national’ if you moved to the Netherlands after 1 January 2021 and you do not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality.

In the Netherlands, by law, you must always carry photo ID, for example your passport or residence permit.

Citizen service number (BSN)

Everyone living in the Netherlands must have their own citizen service number, referred to as a BSN (burgerservicenummer). You need a BSN for many administrative procedures in the Netherlands, including working, opening a bank account, arranging health insurance, visiting a doctor or hospital, or applying for benefits. Read the Dutch government’s guidance about BSNs.

Within 5 days of arriving in the Netherlands, you must make an appointment with your local municipality (gemeente) to request registration in the Personal Records Database BRP (Basisregistratie Personen). Your local municipality’s website provides information on how to book an appointment and what documentation you will need. You will get a BSN when you are registered in the BRP.

You must be registered in the BRP at the correct address. The IND and other government bodies will use the BRP to contact you. If you move house, you must register with the municipality that you move to.

If you leave the Netherlands to become resident elsewhere, you must deregister from the BRP before you leave. If you move back to the Netherlands, you will need to register at your local municipality and you will be given the same BSN again.

Working for an international organisation

If you work for an international organisation, you must check with your organisation’s HR department for advice about your stay in the Netherlands. Each international organisation has an agreement with the Dutch government about their staff. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a general protocol guide with practical information based on their interpretation of the rules for privileged persons.

If you previously worked for an international organisation and you wish to continue living in the Netherlands, read the Dutch government guidance on how to apply for a permanent residence permit as an ‘ex-privileged’ person.

Visas and residency if you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

If you applied for your new residence document (‘Article 50 TEU (Treaty on European Union) residence document’) by 30 September 2021, your rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, pending a decision on your application. There are 2 types of residence status:

If you have a temporary Article 50 TEU residence document, you can apply for a permanent residence document after living lawfully for 5 consecutive years in the Netherlands. You do not need to wait for your temporary residence document to expire, as it is valid for 5 years from when your residence status was granted. Permanent residency status provides additional rights, so you should apply as soon as you can demonstrate 5 years of lawful residence in the Netherlands.

Decision on your application and biometrics

When you apply for an Article 50 TEU residence document, you will receive a letter from the IND. This letter is your ‘certificate of application’, which you should carry with you, especially when travelling.

The IND will contact you if they need more information about your application. When a decision has been made, you will receive a further IND letter about making an appointment to have your biometrics taken.

Read the IND guidance on biometric appointments and how to book one.

Contact the IND if you need to discuss your application.

Appeals process

If your application for a new residence document is refused, you will be notified about the appeals process. Read the Dutch government’s advice on how to appeal a residency decision. This includes information about time limits for submitting an appeal and what happens while you wait for a decision.

You can find out about legal assistance (in Dutch) and financial assistance (in Dutch).

You may be eligible for financial assistance from your municipality (in Dutch) if you have incurred extra costs due to your residency document application.

Late applications

The deadline for applying for an Article 50 TEU residence document was 30 September 2021. If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 and have not applied, the Dutch authorities will treat you as being in the country illegally. There are serious consequences for your rights and ability to access benefits in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Government’s flexible policy means you can still apply for an Article 50 TEU residence document until 1 October 2022. If you have not yet applied, you should do so as soon as possible. If your application is approved, your rights are reinstated retrospectively and you can continue to live lawfully in the Netherlands.

If you have not applied for an Article 50 TEU residence document for your children, you should apply on their behalf as soon as possible, and before 1 October 2022. After this date, children can only apply for their own Article 50 TEU residence document when they turn 18 years old.

Read the Dutch government guidance on help with filling in the form.

If you have questions about making an application contact the IND.

Family members

If you have been granted an Article 50 TEU residence document, your close family members continue to be able to join you and settle in the Netherlands at any time in the future. Find more information on who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance.

Family members with UK nationality may travel to the Netherlands and then apply for a residence document as your family member. Nationals of certain non-EU countries may need a visa before travel. The Dutch authorities should issue family reunion visas free of charge.

After they receive a letter from the IND to acknowledge receipt of their residence document application, your family members can register in the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen or BRP) at the town hall.

Family members with EU, EEA or Swiss nationality do not need a residence document or permit to live and work in the Netherlands and do not need to report to the IND.

Your former EU residence document (duurzaam verblijf) is no longer valid. If you had one, you should have exchanged it for an Article 50 TEU residence document. You can apply for this residence document until 1 October 2022.

Other forms of residence

You do not need an Article 50 TEU residence document if you:

  • have Dutch citizenship or EU citizenship with a valid Dutch national residence document, or
  • work for an international organisation, as long as you remain employed by that organisation. Your residence rights, and your privileges and immunities under the relevant host agreement do not change. However, if you wish to apply for an Article 50 TEU residence document, consult your legal and HR departments, as this may affect your privileges and immunities. If you wish to apply for an Article 50 TEU you should do so by 1 October 2022.

If you have a Type II residency document issued under the Aliens Act, you have additional residency status under the Withdrawal Agreement. The IND will provide more information on this at mijnind.nl. Whilst you can have 2 statuses, you can only have 1 residence document. You can either:

  • keep your Type II permanent residence document, if it has not expired, or
  • exchange it for an Article 50 TEU residence document, provided it has not been withdrawn. You will need to pay a fee to exchange it

To discuss your circumstances contact the IND.

Passports and travel

Coronavirus travel restrictions may affect travel to and from the Netherlands.

You can apply for or renew your British passport from the Netherlands.

Check the Netherlands travel advice for passport validity requirements.

Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, in addition to your British citizenship, you should enter and leave the Netherlands using your EU or EFTA passport.

If you stay in the Netherlands with a Dutch residence permit or long-stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.

If you visit other Schengen area countries outside the Netherlands, make sure you do not exceed the visa-free 90 days in any 180-day period. You are responsible for counting how long you stay under the Schengen visa waiver, and you must comply with its conditions.

Different rules apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

When you travel, carry your Article 50 TEU residence document or frontier worker permit issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

You must proactively show your residence document, or other evidence of residence status, if you are asked to show your passport at border control. If you have applied for, but not yet received, your residence document, show your certificate of application.

If you cannot prove that you are a resident in the Netherlands, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the EU. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the country or countries where you live or work. If a passport is stamped, the stamp is considered null and void when you can show evidence of lawful residence.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit your host country with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on healthcare in the Netherlands and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

Travel insurance is not intended to cover healthcare costs if you live overseas.

If you move to the Netherlands, you must arrange health insurance within 4 months of your arrival. The basic Dutch health insurance (basis verzekering) covers general medical care, such as visits to a local GP and hospital care.

Read the Dutch government guidance on health insurance in the Netherlands.

You should also read guidance on:

If you are a student, read Study in Holland’s advice about health insurance in the Netherlands.

Working in the Netherlands

If you are planning to move to the Netherlands and work, you may need a visa. Read the Dutch government’s guidance on working in the Netherlands as a foreign national and how to get a visa.

To apply for a job you may need to provide a:

Read:

If you work in the Netherlands, even if you work for a UK-based company, this may affect where you pay National Insurance-type contributions. Read the National insurance and social security contributions section

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work under the Withdrawal Agreement if you have an Article 50 TEU residence document or have applied for one.

If you live in the Netherlands and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, read our guidance for frontier workers.

Professional qualifications

You may need to get your professional qualification recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the Netherlands.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

If the relevant regulator in the Netherlands officially recognised your professional qualification before 1 January 2021, or you started the recognition process by this date, make sure you understand the terms of your decision. You should get advice from the relevant regulator.

Studying in the Netherlands

If you plan to study in the Netherlands, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Contact the relevant higher education provider in the Netherlands to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read guidance on:

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

The studying in the European Union guidance includes information if you were already living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021.

Tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with the Netherlands so that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

Ask the relevant tax authority your questions about double taxation relief.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in the Netherlands. Find an English-speaking lawyer in the Netherlands.

Read guidance on:

National insurance and social security contributions

National Insurance-type contributions (NIC) are called ‘social security contributions’ (SSC) in the Netherlands. Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in the Netherlands.

If you plan to move to the Netherlands and work, even if you continue working for a UK-based company, you and your employer may need to pay social security contributions in the Netherlands. These social security contributions would entitle you to certain benefits, such as healthcare, in the Netherlands.

Read guidance on National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland

You can also check your UK National Insurance record.

Benefits

UK benefits

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in the Netherlands.

Check which UK benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Dutch benefits

You may be eligible to claim some Dutch social security benefits. Read the EU’s guide to benefits in the Netherlands.

Pensions

Read guidance on entitlement to UK benefits and pensions while you are living in the Netherlands.

Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand and you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

If you retire in the Netherlands, you can claim:

Read the Dutch government’s guidance on Dutch social security and pensions.

Read the Money Helper’s guidance on pension and retirement for more information on cross-border pensions.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Money and banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA depends on local laws and regulation.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services for more information on cross-border banking.

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

Driving in the Netherlands

You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in the Netherlands. Read the guidance on what you must do to drive legally in the Netherlands:

Exchanging your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence

You must exchange your licence within 185 days of becoming a resident. You should exchange your licence at your local council (gemeente). You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

Read the Dutch government’s guidance on exchange of a foreign driving licence.

Disabled drivers

If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in the Netherlands, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new Dutch disabled parking card.

Read the EU guidance on the EU parking card for people with disabilities.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to the Netherlands

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Once you’re registered as a resident in the Netherlands, you must register your vehicle with the Dutch authorities and you may need to pay some taxes.

You can read the RDW (Netherlands Vehicle Authority) advice on importing a vehicle into the Netherlands.

Driving outside the Netherlands with a Dutch licence

You can use your Dutch licence when visiting the UK. Keep up-to-date with the UK Highway Code.

If you go to live in the UK, you can exchange your Dutch licence for a UK one without taking a test.

To drive in another country, in addition to your Dutch licence, you may need to apply for an IDP through the ANWB (Royal Dutch Touring Club) (in Dutch).

Read the EU guidance on: 

Voting

Once you are registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) you can vote in the Water Board Elections.

If you have been resident in the Netherlands for 5 years or more you can vote and stand in local municipal elections.

You cannot vote in national or European Parliament elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships

If your child is born in the Netherlands, you can register the birth with the UK authorities in addition to registering locally. If your child has British nationality, you do not need to register the birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

If someone dies in the Netherlands read our guidance on:

Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership abroad.

You may also need:

Pets

If you’re moving to the Netherlands with your pet, read the guidance and ensure you comply with the regulations:

To visit other countries with your pet, check the rules for the country you’re travelling to. Contact your vet to get the travel documents your pet needs.

Read guidance on:

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number on 112 in the Netherlands for the police, ambulance or fire brigade.

People with disabilities can use the emergency application, a web-based emergency access and relay service.

Dial the EU 116 000 hotline to report a missing child in the EU country where you live or in another EU country.

If you need guidance on child abduction, read the guidance on international parental child abduction; the EU guidance on child abduction and EU guidance on child abduction to another EU country.

If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault in the Netherlands, read the guidance on what to do and where to get support in cases of rape and sexual assault. .

Returning to the UK

Check the COVID-19 travel guidance for entering the UK.

Tell the Dutch and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

Guidance from the Dutch government on leaving the Netherlands.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, bringing family members, tax and access to services.

Useful information

Support for British nationals abroad: a guide sets out how to stay safe abroad, and explains how the FCDO can support you if you get into difficulty.

Published 17 May 2013
Last updated 11 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Important information in the Working in the Netherlands, and National insurance sections if you work in the Netherlands, even it if it is for an employer based in the UK.

  2. Guidance reviewed and updated throughout, with new information on visas and residency, passports and travel, healthcare, working, tax, benefits, pensions, driving, births deaths and marriages, pets, and returning to the UK.

  3. Visa and residency section updated after the 30 September 2021 residency application deadline for people living in the Netherlands since before 1 January 2021. There is new information about ongoing and late residency applications, appeals and family members' applications.

  4. Professional qualifications section updated for British citizens who are moving or moved to the Netherlands after 1 January 2021 and those living there since before 1 January 2021. Guidance reviewed for sections including passports and travel, healthcare, and working and studying in the Netherlands.

  5. Guidance reviewed and updated for Money, tax and banking, Benefits, Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships, and Useful information sections.

  6. Revised links in Studying in the Netherlands section.

  7. Working in the Netherlands section updated: new guidance for frontier workers.

  8. Visas and residency section updated: further guidance on Type II residency documents and extended deadline for residency applications

  9. Driving section updated with new information on when you must exchange a UK driving licence for a Dutch one. If you were resident before 31 January 2020 you must do this by 1 May 2021.

  10. Healthcare section updated including guidance on the S1 form and applying for EHIC and GHIC cards; working in the Netherlands section updated with links to Department for International Trade (DIT) guidance on working or providing services and DIT guidance on recognition of professional qualifications.

  11. Coronavirus section updated with a link to guidance on vaccines.

  12. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on driving, pet travel and moving to the Netherlands.

  13. Additional guidance on how to get the new residency document and healthcare access if you are a student. Passport and travel section updated on carrying proof of residence when travelling.

  14. Healthcare section updated on how to apply for a new UK EHIC as a student or S1 holder. Working section updated with information on frontier workers

  15. Visas and residency section updated to include details of changes to the new residency system.

  16. Passports and travel section updated to include information on passport validity and entry requirements when travelling to other European countries from January 2021.

  17. Visas and residency section updated with further information on the new residency system

  18. Brexit update: includes further details on passport validity, healthcare rights and State Pension uprating if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

  19. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement

  20. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.

  21. EU Exit update: updated information in the Passport & Travel, Pensions, and Returning to the UK sections.

  22. EU Exit update: updated information on EU Exit in healthcare, visas and residency, driving and working sections

  23. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.

  24. EU Exit update: Updated information on passports. You must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip.

  25. EU Exit update: Updated information on double taxation following EU Exit in the money and tax section

  26. EU Exit update - Updated information on access to healthcare

  27. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving.

  28. EU Exit update: Latest Brexit information from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) added to the EU Exit and Visa and Residency sections.

  29. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in Pets section.

  30. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  31. Updated information on healthcare entitlement

  32. Addition of energy and services comparison website

  33. added more links re: health insurance in the Netherlands

  34. added information about health insurance for students and expats.

  35. First published.