Guidance

Living in the Netherlands

Official information for UK nationals living in and moving to the Netherlands, including guidance on residency, healthcare and driving.

Coronavirus

You should follow the advice of the Dutch government and your local authority. You can also read our Netherlands travel advice for our latest guidance.

Stay up to date

You should:

You can also:

The Withdrawal Agreement

If you were legally resident in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. You must apply for a new residence status by 30 June 2021 to secure your rights.

You should also read our guidance on living in Europe.

Visas and residency

Citizen service number (BSN)

Everyone living in the Netherlands must have a citizen service number, often referred to as a BSN (burgerservicenummer). You must register with your local municipality (gemeente) to obtain a citizen service number (BSN).

You must apply for a BSN within 5 days of arriving in the Netherlands. You will need to make an appointment with the municipality (gemeente) where you live. Your local gemeente’s website provides information on how to book an appointment and what documentation you will need.

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 benefits.

Read the Dutch government’s guidance about BSN numbers.

Registering in the Personal Records Database

Every resident of the Netherlands must be registered in the Personal Records Database, referred to as the BRP (Basisregistratie Personen) which is held by the local municipality (gemeente). You may request to do this at the same time as you apply for your BSN.

If you move house, you should make sure you re-register again at your new address. The IND and other government bodies will use the BRP to contact you.

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

The new residency document

If you are legally resident in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, you will need to apply for a new residency document to secure your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

You must submit your application for the new document by 30 June 2021. If you have been living in the Netherlands for:

If you have questions about making an application, call the IND’s helpline for UK nationals, on +31 (0)88 04 30410, to discuss your personal situation.

Before starting your online application, make sure that you have all the following:

  • DigiD with sms code or DigiD app. If you do not yet have a DigiD, apply for it on www.digid.nl/en. You should also read about the DigiD app (in Dutch and English)
  • iDEAL (online payment method) to pay for your application. You need a Dutch bank account to set this up
  • a copy of the pages of your passport showing your personal details and period of validity
  • a copy of any other documents you need to upload. Read the IND guidance on what documents you will need for temporary residency or for permanent residency
  • BSN number
  • (optional) V-number: this is the IND’s unique identification number, you can find it on correspondence from the IND about your residency rights

You may also apply by downloading a paper version of the application form from the IND website and posting it to the IND.

You can submit an application for other family members within the same household at the same time as your own. You need their documents to do so.

If you moved to the Netherlands in late 2020, you need to keep a range of evidence that you arrived with intention to live there. This could include:

  • a travel document
  • rental receipt for a property
  • a registration to demonstrate you are seeking a job

Decision on your application and biometrics

When you submit an application for residency, you will receive a letter from the IND, that is your ‘certificate of application’.

After you have applied, you will need to make an appointment to have your biometrics taken. You do not have to wait for a decision on your application before you have your biometrics taken. The IND will take your fingerprints, a photo of you and your signature. You can choose to book your appointment at an IND desk or at an expat centre. The appointment can be booked online, but you will need to attend in person.

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

You will receive a decision on your application through your DigiD message box (Berichtenbox). The decision will be written in Dutch.

The IND aims to provide your biometric residency card within 2 weeks of your biometric appointment. Read the Dutch government guidance on how you will receive your residency card (open the Brexit tab under ‘Frequently asked questions about the effects of the coronavirus’).

You must always carry photo ID, as a legal requirement. You can use your passport or your new residency card.

Other residency documents

If you have a valid EU residence document (duurzaam verblijf), exchange it for a new residence card by making a biometric appointment. Read the IND guidance on how to exchange EU residency documents.

If you are currently away from the Netherlands, and you haven’t provided your address, the IND will not be able to contact you to arrange the exchange. To discuss your circumstances and what you need to do, call the IND’s information line for UK nationals on: +31 (0)88 04 30410.

Dutch nationality or other EU nationalities

If you have Dutch citizenship or a valid Dutch national residence permit, you don’t need a new residence document. If you have a Type II residency permit, you can also apply for the new residency status if you want to. However, you can only have one residency document.

Read the IND guidance on residency rights.

Moving to the Netherlands

Check the entry requirements for the Netherlands.

Read the IND guidance on moving to the Netherlands after 1 January 2021.

Studying

You will be eligible for broadly the same support as Dutch nationals, as long as you were legally resident in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021. You must apply for the new residency permit.

Dependent on your circumstances you must either;

  • apply for a new UK issued EHIC
  • purchase private health insurance, or
  • purchase basic Dutch health insurance (basis verzekering), if you work, intern or volunteer whilst studying (as legally required to do so)

Read our guidance on:

Moving to the Netherlands to study

If you are planning to study in the Netherlands, make sure you meet all visa requirements before you arrive. Contact the relevant Higher Education provider to check what fees you may have to pay.

Read the Dutch government’s guidance on tuition fees from 1 January 2021 (in Dutch and English).

Passports and travel

You should carry your residence document, as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry your certificate of application.

If you have not yet applied for a residence document, you should carry evidence that you are resident in the Netherlands. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

If you cannot show that you are resident in the Netherlands, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. This will not affect your rights in the Netherlands.

Passports

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You can apply for or renew your British passport from the Netherlands.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to the Netherlands, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Renew your passport before booking your travel if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing. You may also need to show a return or onward ticket.

Entry requirements

You can travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism.

To stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period to work or study, or for business travel, you must meet the entry requirements set out by the country you are travelling to. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.

Periods of time authorised by a visa or permit will not count towards the 90-day visa-free limit.

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

Travel to the UK and Ireland will not change.

Healthcare

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. You can read guidance on health insurance in the Netherlands.

If you are a resident and purchase basic Dutch health insurance, your access to healthcare will not change.

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

If your UK employer has sent you to the Netherlands temporarily, your access to healthcare is different. Find out how to access healthcare as a posted worker.

State healthcare: S1

If you have a registered S1 form and were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, your rights to access healthcare will stay the same if you are either:

  • receiving a UK State Pension
  • receiving some other ‘exportable benefits’
  • a frontier worker who lives in the Netherlands and commutes to work in the UK

Read our guidance on using an S1 form in the Netherlands to ensure you are correctly registered for healthcare.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are resident in the Netherlands, you must not use your UK-issued EHIC for healthcare in the Netherlands.

If you were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC if you’re:

  • a UK student in the Netherlands
  • a UK State Pensioner with a registered S1
  • a frontier worker with a registered S1

Apply now for a new UK EHIC

An EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

For more information read our guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe and advice on foreign travel insurance.

You should also read guidance on:

If you are a student, read the Dutch government’s guidance on healthcare for international students in the Netherlands.

Working

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

If you are legally resident in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, you have the right to work in the Netherlands, as long as you remain legally resident. You must apply for the new residency document.

If you are planning to go to the Netherlands to work you may need a work permit. Read the Dutch government’s guidance on who will need a work permit.

Frontier workers

If you live in the Netherlands and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country before 1 January 2021, you may need a permit to show that you are a frontier worker. You must also apply for a residency card in the Netherlands.

If you live in the UK or another EU or EFTA country and regularly commuted to work in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, you need a permit. Read the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) guidance on how to apply for a frontier worker’s permit.

Money and tax

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

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in the Netherlands have not changed.

For more information, you can read our guidance on:

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in the Netherlands. Find an English-speaking lawyer in the Netherlands.

National Insurance

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in the Netherlands.

Banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA is a matter of local law and regulation. Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.

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

Pensions

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

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

If you retire in the Netherlands, you can claim:

For more information you can read the Dutch government’s guidance on Dutch social security, including pensions.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on pension and retirement changes 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.

Benefits

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

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

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.

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

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Driving

You should exchange your UK licence at your local council (gemeente). The rules on exchanging your licence depend on how long you have been resident in the Netherlands. Read the Dutch government’s guidance on how to exchange your licence.

For information on driving in the Netherlands, read guidance on:

When driving in the Netherlands, you should always carry your:

  • driving licence
  • insurance documents
  • photo ID (verblijfsdocument), such as a passport or residence permit

Driving in the UK with a Dutch licence

You can use your Dutch licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test. We will update this page if there are any changes to the rules, as soon as information is available.

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. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so you will need certificates of exemption.

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 European Parliament elections.

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

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in the Netherlands, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in the Netherlands you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

You may also need:

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

Pets

If you have a pet passport issued by the Netherlands or another EU country, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. Contact your vet before you travel to get the pet travel documents you need and ensure you comply with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.

Emergencies

For all emergencies dial the European emergency number on 112.

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

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Returning to the UK

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

If you get a UK State Pension, you must tell the International Pension Centre.

If you get healthcare in the Netherlands through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

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

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Netherlands authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 17 May 2013
Last updated 31 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated as the transition period ends with new information on driving, pet travel and moving to the Netherlands.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. Updated information on healthcare entitlement

  21. Addition of energy and services comparison website

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

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

  24. First published.