Leiden Expat Center


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


I was born in Leiden and currently live abroad. I need my birth certificate, how can I obtain this document?

Via the website of the Leiden municipality www.leiden.nl/gemeente you can file an electronic request for a duplicate of a certificate of the municipal registry of births, marriages and deaths. In order to file a request you will need a DigId: www.digid.nl

Request the document in person at the front office during opening hours or with the signed proxy of an adult. (Signed proxy must contain a copy of your valid ID and that of the adult who provided the proxy).

A request can also be sent by post: add a copy of your valid ID.

It is possible to request a multilingual duplicate of a document.

My husband and I currently reside in Leiden, our nationality is ………. (not Dutch). We are expecting our first child, what will be his/her nationality?

It is not possible to predict the nationality in every case, the nationality of a child depends on the (presumed) nationality of the parents as well as the ancestry of the child. These data will enable the clerk to determine which law is applicable etc.

When do I have to register at the municipal personal records database (BRP)? Which documents do I need to register? Do I need an appointment to register?

In order to register in the BRP, you must have resided in the Netherlands at least 2/3 of a half year (at least 4 months).

You will need the following documents:

  • Valid ID (passport or identity card)
  • A recently issued original birth certificate. A recent original marriage certificate (if applicable). This is only needed for the first registration or if you have never shown your certificates before. These documents will be reviewed during your appointment. Both documents can also be presented at a later date. 
  • Residence permit (visa or permit) (If you're not EU/EER resident.)

For the registration of a foreign person, an appointment is necessary. On the city council website you can find telephone numbers for making appointments: www.leiden.nl/gemeente.

If you will be staying less than 4 months, and you have to arrange any affairs with Dutch government agencies, you will need a Burgerservicenummer. To register and arrange a BSN you can contact the Municipality of Leiden or one of 17 other selected municipalities. Read more under Registration procedures for non-residents of the Netherlands (Registratie niet-ingezetenen, RNI). In case of registration in RNI you will only need to bring a valid ID.

How long will it take to obtain my Burgerservicenummer (BSN: tax and social insurance number)?

Registration takes place in the municipal personal records database (Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Personen, BRP) and is completed during the appointment.

How and when do I exchange my driving licence and which documents do I need to bring?

Validity of foreign driving licence.

A. Driving licence issued in an EU/EER country
If you hold a driving licence which was issued in one of the countries which are part of the European Union or in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway (EU/EER), you will be able to use this licence up to ten years after the date of issue. If your driving licence is older than nine years, you can still hold this licence for one year from the date of your registration in a Dutch municipality, provided the licence is still valid. For more information go to the RDW website.

B. Driving licence issued outside EU/EER
If you hold a driving licence which was issued in a country outside the EU/EER, or in the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba, you are allowed to use it up to 185 days after registering in the Netherlands. In this period you can apply for a Dutch driving licence.

It is possible to exchange your driving licence via the Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer (RDW: State service for road traffic) if your driving licence was issued in one of the following countries:

  • Curacao,Sint Maarten en Aruba
  • The municipalities Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • Andorra (passenger car)
  • Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) (passenger car)
  • Israel (passenger car)
  • Japan IB (passenger car and motorcycle over 400 cc)
  • Jersey (States of) all categories
  • Korea (Republic) (passenger car)
  • Man (island) all categories
  • Monaco all categories
  • Singapore class 2 and class 3 (motorcycle over 400 cc and passenger car)
  • Quebec (state of Canada) (passenger car)

If you do not come from one of the above mentioned countries, you will be required to resit your driving test.
Bring along:

  • Your foreign driving licence
  • 1 recent passport photograph
  • Administrative charges (see www.leiden.nl/gemeente)
  • Supplementary documents (if so required)

Does the Leiden municipality provide a subsidy for foreigners/expats who wish to take a course of the Dutch language?

The Leiden municipality does not offer such a subsidy.

Where can I learn Dutch?

The Academic Language Centre is affiliated with the university and offers both Dutch as a Second Language courses as well as a range of Foreign Language courses. All courses are open to students and non-students. There are day and evening group courses at all levels as well as tailor-made courses. Participants can often choose between intensive and less intensive course options. The Language Centre also offers acculturation and intercultural management courses. The Academic Language Centre is specialized in teaching language and culture to learners with a Higher Education background. Participants from varying age groups have learnt to appreciate its focus on practical application in diverse communicative settings, both private and professional.

How can I find a dentist?

Ask around. Friends, colleagues, neighbours or the family General Practitioner may suggest a certain dentist. You can also consult the Yellow Pages (Gouden Gids) for dentist, orthodontist and dental hygienists. Simply phone a dentist and ask to register with his or her practice. The municipality can also provide you with information and perhaps the names of dentists who speak your language.

How can I find a doctor?

In the Netherlands, patients choose their own doctor. It is useful to choose one close to home. This has advantages in case of an emergency: doctors should be able to get to an emergency in fifteen minutes. Many practices have both male and female doctors. Inform them of any preferences.

Find doctors in your area using the website www.zorgkaartnederland.nl/huisarts (only in Dutch):
fill in your postcode in the second text box and click zoek).

How do I apply for child benefit?

Applications for child benefit (kinderbijslag) should be submitted at the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (Social Insurance Bank).

Do you have a newsletter?

The Expat Centre Leiden currently produces a six-weekly Expat Centre Newsletter. Here you can sign up to keep up with the events and activities in and around Leiden, as well as updates on changes in laws and regulations which are relevant for expats.

I am looking for a job in the Netherlands. Can you help me find one?

For help in these matters, please refer to UWV WERKbedrijf (previously CWI, the Centre for Work and Income). This public employment service plays a key role in the Dutch labour market. Its staff members assist people in finding a job, give advice and information, and provide other help. Through an extensive network of partner sites and (temporary) employment agencies, most vacancies registered with these partners are also registered in their online job database. For more information, please visit www.werk.nl (in Dutch only).

What do I have to do when I’m leaving the Netherlands?

If you go abroad for an extensive period of time (not on holiday), notify your municipality of your absence. If your family does not live in the Netherlands, you may notify the municipality in writing. Should both you and your complete family go abroad, you may also notify your municipality in writing. If one or more of your family members remain in the Netherlands while you go abroad, you are required to visit the town hall with all persons that intend to go abroad. It is important to notify the municipality of your departure. If you fail to notify the municipality of your departure, this could result in negative financial consequences!

Last update: 13-04-2016