Leiden Expat Center



Moving is always a hectic time, and it brings about quite a few formalities that need to be taken care of. The list of things to do depends on your nationality, place of birth, family, and sometimes on your employer's choice of work permit. Whichever route you choose, thorough preparation is essential.
What to expect:
  • Moving to a new country involves bureaucracy, the Netherlands is no exception to this. 
  • Some Dutch rules and procedures will be different from those in your home country. 
  • Plan time to attend meetings with Dutch organizations. 
  • Plan time to prepare documents for these meetings. 
  • Communication (information) is often in Dutch. 
Depending on your country of origin, you will need an entry visa, a work permit, and a residentce permit. You will also need to register your new address at the Town Hall and with the Tax Authority, who will provide you with a Citizen Service Number (Burger Service Nummer, BSN).

Preparation phase

  • Update your passport: make sure it is valid for at least one year after your arrival in the Netherlands, and for the full duration of your planned stay, if possible. 
  • Update your driving licence: make sure it does not expire for at least one year from your arrival date in the Netherlands. If your driving licence has no expiry date, make sure the document is not more than 9 years old. 
  • Legalisation: have your birth and marriage certificates legalised or sanctioned. Certain documents may also need to be translated if not already written in English, French, German or Dutch. Different rules apply to different nationalities, so check with your HR manager or the website www.hcch.net for information pertaining to your personal situation. 
Financial arrangements: 
  • Arrange with your bank in which manner accounts are to be handled during your assignment. 
  • Cancel pending orders, if necessary. 
  • Inform your income tax office of your move and complete any necessary forms. 
  • Collect examples of your child's current schoolwork and reports, test results, etc. (in English when possible). 
  • Check if there is a waiting list for your children at the international schools in the Netherlands and apply for a place for your children. Do the same for childcare organizations, if necessary. 
  • Speak with a tax consultant regarding tax exemptions and the implications of school fees. 
  • Take photos of family, friends and familiar places. 
  • Check that children have the addresses of friends with whom they wish to stay in touch. 
  • Ensure that favourite toys, personal items, special food, books and games are carried in your hand luggage. 
  • Request medical records - make sure you obtain your children's full vaccination records. 
  • Make sure you bring sufficient medicine to cover the first few weeks of your stay, if necessary. 
Social security: 
  • If applicable, obtain an E101 form if you wish to pay social security contributions in your home country. 
  • Check your health insurance - make sure that you are covered at all times. 
  • Check with your employer for the possibility of collective insurance deals. 
  • Check out housing websites to get a feel for prices, dimensions, and locations. 
  • Check with your HR manager for possible housing assistance. 
  • Take measurements of ‘must take' furniture to see if it will fit in your new home . 
  • Check several removal companies for rates for your international removal. 
  • Decide what is to happen with your house in your home country, rent it out, sell it, take action. 
  • Check if you have appropriate identification (chip or tattoo) and documentation for your pets. 
  • Get vaccinations up-to-date (check expiry date on the vaccinations). 
  • Check if you require a flight reservation for your pets. 
  • Consider whether to bring your car with you. 
  • Dutch purchase taxes are high, vehicles for personal use may be imported tax free under certain conditions (the most important being that you have owned and used the car for over six months). 
  • If a vehicle is over ten years old, it is probable that it will not pass the Dutch environmental test. 
  • Get a no-claims statement from your current insurance company. 
  • Arrange transportation to the Netherlands, if necessary. 

Arrival phase

  • Apply for and collect your work permit (if applicable). 
  • Register at the Town Hall of your place of residence. 
  • Apply for your residence permit (if applicable). In some cases this application can be submitted before the work permit has been issued. 
  • Collect your citizen service number (BSN) at the local Town Hall. 
  • Receive confirmation that your residence permit will be issued (if applicable). 
  • Collect your residence permit from the Town Hall (if applicable). 
  • Open a bank account. 
  • Register imported vehicles with the Dutch authorities. People registered as living in the Netherlands can not own/drive a ‘foreign' vehicle here. 
  • It is compulsory for children between the age of 5 and 16 to attend full-time education. 
  • Register with a local doctor and dentist. 
Social security, taxes and insurance: 
  • Arrange health insurance. 
  • If you have an E101, ask your insurance company for an E106 (or E128 or EHIC) and arrange registration. 
  • Register with the Dutch authorities. Your employer may do this for you. 
  • Set up vehicle insurance. 
  • Arrange liability insurance and consider getting travel insurance. 
  • Ask your HR department to apply for the 30% tax ruling (if applicable). 
  • View accommodation. 
  • If agreed, sign contracts. 
  • Organise utilities (water, gas, electricity, phone, internet, etc.). 
  • Check which day(s) your bin(s) and other waste items are collected. Call your Town Hall, or simply ask a neighbour or landlord. 
  • Arrange housing insurance. 

Settling-in phase

  • Exchange your driving licence for a Dutch one (if applicable). 
  • Return foreign licence to home country (make a copy!). 
  • Note expiry dates of all permits and licences - make sure you re-apply on time! 
  • Register with a doctor, dentist and pharmacy. 
Social security, tax and insurance:  
  • Apply for child benefit if applicable. 
  • Apply for spouse tax credit if applicable. 

Leaving the Netherlands

There are a number of matters to be dealt with when you leave the Netherlands. It is important that you cancel your registration in the Municipal Personal Records Database. This means the municipality will remove your personal details from the files. The municipality will automatically inform other government authorities of your departure. You will receive an official document noting the end of your registration.
Ending your registration is possible from one month to five days prior to your departure from the Netherlands. It is possible to end your registration in person, by post or via the internet. If you do not fill in a departure date, the day on which the municipality receives the document will be regarded as your departure date.