As the day of the move to the Netherlands, is getting closer, we are finally starting with the immigration process. I am very excited to start this journey, but I keep coming across words and terms I do not understand. Since this complicates and adds stress to our relocation journey, I think I need some guidance to understand what I need to do while immigrating to the Netherlands.
Are you relocating to the Netherlands for work and starting your immigration process? During this stage, you may easily get confused and overwhelmed by unfamiliar immigration terms. Understanding these terms is critical for relocating talent in order to make this transition effective and smooth. If the description above applies to you, you can benefit from our beginner’s guide to immigration in the Netherlands.
Applying for a visa
To obtain a visa or a residence permit, you will apply through IND, The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst). The IND is the main organization that handles all immigration-related matters for those relocating to the Netherlands whether in worldwide embassies or in-country appointments.
For in-country immigration appointments, an IND appointment can be booked through an expat centre or at an IND office depending on the case. An expat centre will offer both immigration (IND) and local municipality services in one place. If applicable, appointments at an expat centre can be convenient for dealing with immigration.
Good to Know While applying for a visa you will often need to provide biometric data. This includes fingerprints, photos, and signatures.
Translation and the Apostille
Be sure to pay attention to your immigration specialist while applying for your visa. If there is a need for an Apostille document or translations be sure to address it prior to making your move, if possible, as it can be cost-effective and faster if done before travelling to the Netherlands.
Tip Be careful while visiting your new workspace before your registration is approved and you are work authorised. Consult your human resources department on whether you have permission beforehand.
After your visa registration
When you apply for a visa in the Netherlands, you will be assigned a V-Number once your application has been received by IND. This is a crucial number that you will need to provide throughout your immigration process. The IND will provide your personalized V-Number in the original correspondence or approval letter. If you are immigrating with your family, the authorities will assign a unique number to each family member as well. When you eventually get your residence permit, the V-number will be on your card as well.
Until you receive your residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) or GVVA, combined residence and work permit (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid), you might receive an MVV (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) which is a provisional residence permit that allows you to enter the Netherlands as a potential resident until authorities approve your residence permit.
One of the first things you need to do when you arrive in the Netherlands is to register with your local municipality (gemeente). A BSN number (Burgerservicenummer) will then be assigned to you. BSN is your citizen number needed for Dutch authorities and processes like insurance and child benefits.
At your local municipality, you will also be registered in the BRP (Basisregistratie Personen), the Personal Records Database. This database contains the personal data of the residents in the Netherlands, and various organizations like the Belastingdienst (Tax and Customs Administration) have access to it.
Once you have your BSN, then you can apply for a DigiD, a form of digital identification. DigiD enables you to access and manage government processes and information online. In addition, with your DigiD you can log in to MijnOverheid, where you can access personal data registered by authorities.
One important registration you are not required to but are advised to complete is registering at your local general practitioner’s office or GP practice (huisarts praktijk). Once you register, you can easily schedule appointments and visit your GP when you need medical assistance. After work hours or during the weekends you can visit huisartsenpost (out-of-hours GP service) for urgent (not emergency) health matters.
Living in the Netherlands
If you are relocating to the Netherlands for work, you need to take out zorgverzekering (health insurance) to cover the costs of GP visits, hospital treatments, prescription medicines, etc. The type of insurance you need will depend on the organization you work for, thus it is a good idea to research prior to your arrival.
The Dutch government requires all residents to pay taxes. The Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) handle all of your tax payments and details. Additionally, the Mijn Belastingdienst website allows you to organise your affairs and obtain information related to taxes. As a resident, you must pay municipal taxes, and the amount varies depending on your municipality. The most common municipal taxes required are the waste collection charge (afvalstoffenheffing) and the water board tax (waterschapsbelasting).
Tip For people relocating to the Netherlands with a pet, special rules apply. Refer to official information by the NVWA, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit) for guidance.