Guidance

Living in the Netherlands

Official 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 about 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 obtain 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. These are indicated with sub-headings.

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

Coronavirus

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

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

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 for 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 this at the same time 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 were 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 September 2021 (extended from 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 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.

You can also apply by filling in a printed application form from the IND website to post. When it arrives, the IND will register your application and send you proof of application by post.

The IND aims to respond to you within 7 days. If you do not receive a response within 14 days of submitting your application, call the IND’s helpline for UK nationals, on +31 (0)88 04 30410.

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’).

It is a legal requirement to always carry photo ID. 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 citizenship or other EU nationalities

If you have Dutch citizenship or EU citizenship with a valid Dutch national residence document, you do not need a new residence document.

Type II residency document

If you have a Type II residency document issued under the Aliens Act, the IND has granted you an additional residency status under the Withdrawal Agreement. This additional status will be recorded in your electronic record that you can access through your DigiD.

Whilst you can have 2 statuses, you can only have 1 residency document. You can either:

  • keep your Type II residency document, or
  • exchange it for a new Article 50 TEU (Treaty on European Union) residency document

If you have Type II residency, you will receive a letter from the IND providing more information.

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.

Passports and travel

You can apply for or renew your British passport in the Netherlands. Check the travel advice for the Netherlands for passport validity requirements.

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

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

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, especially within the Schengen area, 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, carry your certificate of application.

If you cannot prove 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.

If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement you do not need any extra months on your passport to enter or exit EU countries.

Healthcare

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

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.

If you’re leaving the UK with medicine that contains a controlled drug, read the rules for the country you’re going to before you travel and the NaTHNaC guidance on travelling with medicines.

You should also read our guidance on:

If you are a student, read the Dutch government’s guidance on healthcare for students 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 were living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021

You have the right to work 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 recognition decision. Seek advice from the regulator if needed.

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 specific information for those who were already living in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021.

Money, tax and banking

The UK has a double taxation agreement with the Netherlands to ensure 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

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

UK banking

Whether UK banks can provide services to customers living in the EEA is a matter of local law and regulation.

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.

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

Read our 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 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.

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

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 can request proof from HMRC of the time you’ve worked in the UK and of your UK National Insurance record.

The Netherlands benefits

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

Accommodation and buying property

Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.

Driving in the Netherlands

You should exchange your UK licence at your local council (gemeente). The rules on exchanging your licence depend on when you became resident in the Netherlands. Read the guidance on driving for UK licence holders living in the EU.

Read the Dutch government’s guidance on how to exchange your licence but note that the deadlines for exchanging are not current on this webpage.

You do not need to take a test to exchange your driving licence but you may need to provide a certificate of health. This may involve having a medical examination. For more information check the Dutch government’s guidance on medical fitness to drive.

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, marriage and civil partnerships

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

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 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

You can 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.

You can 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’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British Embassy The Hague.

Returning to the UK

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

Tell the UK and the Dutch 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, tax, access to services and bringing family members.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you’ll be able to access NHS care without charge.

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 24 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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.

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

  3. Revised links in Studying in the Netherlands section.

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. 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.

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

  28. Updated information on healthcare entitlement

  29. Addition of energy and services comparison website

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

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

  32. First published.