If you can't find the answer on our website, the best way to contact our helpdesk is via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to answer your questions within 5 working days.
You can also visit our helpdesk in the LEVEL building. See our Contact page for current opening hours.
Unfortunately Leiden International Centre does not offer any IND services. The closest IND location is in the Hague, which is 15 minutes away by train. You can book an appointment for biometrics or to collect your residency permit on the IND's website here.
Visas, Residence Permits, & Citizenship
There are numerous different visa routes available, depending upon your situation. If you wish to visit the Netherlands temporarily, to visit family (for example), then you can take a look at our Short-Stay Visa page.
If you would like to live in the Netherlands, and you are not from an EU country, then you will likely require a residence permit. There are several different routes for a residence permit, depending on your situation. Some of these include the highly-skilled migrant residence permit, the start-up residence permit, and the student residence permit. You can learn more about this on our EU and Non-EU Residence Permit page. For a complete list of residence permits available in the Netherlands, visit IND's website.
You can contact us or visit our Helpdesk and we would be glad to explain the basic visa/resident permit requirements. You can also visit our website and our social media, where we regularly post updates about the immigration policies and procedures in the Netherlands. However, we cannot arrange the visa or residence permit for you. If necessary, we can direct you to a reliable agency that arranges visas and residence permits for a fee. You can find them under the section 'Immigration and Legal Services' on the Our Partners page.
The process of applying for Dutch citizenship depends upon your nationality and your personal situation. Different rules may apply if you are married to a Dutch national, for example. If you would like to learn more about this process, the requirements for applying, and other relevant information, please visit our Dutch Citizenship page.
If you're planning on living in the Netherlands for more than a few weeks, renting an apartment or house will be one of the top things on your to-do list. You will be able to choose between furnished rental places (that already come with all the basic furniture you will need, including tables, beds, and wardrobes) or unfurnished rental places (which will be empty, although some may have basic appliances like refrigerators and washing machines). Learn more on our Renting page.
For those who are here for a shorter period of time, the usual apartment or house rentals might not be an option, because many rental contracts require a minimum of 1 year's stay. However, there are many excellent short-stay options, from hotels to fully-kitted out rental apartments. Browse through our short-stay options on our Short and Long-Stay page.
We can provide you with our list of trusted mortgage and real estate agency partners. Please contact our Housing Partners if you have a specific question. You can also check our events page for upcoming housing seminars/webinars organised by our partners. Additionally, you can visit our our social media where we frequently post information about mortgages and housing in the Netherlands.
For those who would like to live in the Netherlands for a longer period of time, buying a house is an excellent way of putting down roots in your new home. However, there can be a lot of information that you will need to navigate in order to buy your new home, so it's helpful to start researching a little in advance. Take a look at our Buying page for more information on buying houses in the Netherlands. You can also register for a free mortgage consultation with Expat Mortgages - book your appointment on our Expat Mortgages' Consultation page!
If you are moving house within the Netherlands, then you will need to contact your new municipality. For example, if you move from Leiden to Leiderdorp, you will need to contact Leiderdorp municipality. Visit our Change of Address page for more information.
If you would like to have a broad overview of the Dutch healthcare system, how it works, and the important details you need to keep in mind, then take a look at our Healthcare page.
If you plan on living and working in the Netherlands, then it is required that you take out Dutch health insurance. Starting from the moment that you are registered in the Netherlands (so the moment you receive your BSN number), you have up to 4 months to find a health insurance provider and take out a health insurance package with them. You will need at least a basic health insurance package, but you can also choose for additional healthcare coverage, depending on what you prefer. Learn more about this on our Health Insurance page.
The emergency number in the Netherlands is 112. You can call this number for any life-threatening emergency.
It is advisable to download the app 112NL on your mobile phone as well. You can use 112NL to contact emergency services if you are unable to speak during your emergency as the app allows you to text as well.
Citizen Service Number (BSN)
'BSN' stands for Burgerservicenummer, or Citizen Service Number. Everybody who lives in the Netherlands receives a BSN number, and this number is unique for each individual. That means that your number, once your receive it, will always be yours - even if you leave the Netherlands and return several years later. If you live in Leiden, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten, or Zoeterwoude, you can make an appointment to register in the Netherlands and receive your BSN with Leiden International Centre. Learn more on our BSN Registration page.
You can receive a BSN if you plan on living in the Netherlands. You can book a BSN registration appointment with Leiden International Centre if you live in Leiden, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten, or Zoeterwoude. One of the things you will need to do is to find a place to register at - usually this has to be a residential address that you have a rental contract for, but in some circumstances it can be a friend or family member's address, or even your employer's address. However, in all cases you will need to bring proof that you either live at the address or have permission to register there. You can learn more about which documents are needed, and how to make an appointment, on our BSN Registration page.
You should never give out your BSN number to any non-governmental organisations. Leiden International Centre will never ask you for yours. Because your BSN number is unique to you, you need this number to set up a Dutch bank account, sign up for Dutch health insurance, file taxes, and much more. This is why it is important to keep your BSN private.
People sometimes receive emails or phone calls requesting information such as your BSN number and bank card information. You should not trust these phone calls or emails, as you will usually never be asked to provide this kind of information via email or phone. Learn more about these scam calls and what to do if you receive one in our "Be Aware of Phishing" article.
In the Netherlands you only need to file an annual tax return if you receive a letter from the Belastingdienst (Dutch Tax Authority) informing you that you need to do so - or if you can reasonably expect that you have paid too little tax throughout the calendar year. If you own property or are self-employed you will also need to file your taxes. Learn more on our Taxes page.
The year that you move to the Netherlands you should fill out something called the m-form, or migration-form. This form provides the Dutch Tax Authority with necessary information about your tax year - otherwise you could end up paying income tax in the Netherlands for the entire calendar year instead of only from the moment that you began living in the Netherlands. Learn more about this in the article "Howto File the M-Form?".
The 30% ruling gives certain employees the chance to have tax-free allowance of approximately 30% of their salary. However, there are several requirements for this ruling, which means that not everybody is eligible. Our Tax and 30% Ruling page has more information about these requirements and the ruling itself.
Although speaking some level of Dutch will give you an advantage in finding a job in the Netherlands, many people find work here without speaking any Dutch. There are several job portals available that provide a list of the most recent vacancies in the region (and in the Netherlands), and many of these do not require you to speak Dutch. Check out the latest vacancies, and the different job portals, on our Finding a Job page.
If you would like to learn more about what it is like to work in the Netherlands, and, specifically, the Leiden region, then take a look at our Work in Leiden page.
Many people decide to do their internship in the Leiden region, or elsewhere in the Netherlands. There are plenty of internship opportunities available, and a number of these don't require any knowledge of the Dutch language. The same is true of volunteering in the Netherlands - volunteers are often needed in many organisations, and there are a wide range of volunteering opportunities that can range from helping out on sustainable projects, assisting with language learning, or assisting elderly people. Learn more about all of these and more on our Volunteering and Internships page.
Many internationals choose to start their own businesses in the Leiden region, whether through free-lancing or running a small business. This can be a rewarding path, and it also gives a freedom and flexibility that you might not have with a 9-5 employment contract. However, there are a number of different things that you will need to take into account if you would like to start your own business in the Netherlands. Take a look at our Starting Your Business page for more information.
If you are moving to the Leiden region with your family, then one of the most important things to take into consideration is where you will send your children to school. Depending upon the age of your child, you may want to choose a Dutch school (for younger children, who will pick up the Dutch language relatively easily) or an international school (for older children, or if you plan on living in the Netherlands only short-term). Learn more about this on our Children & Schools page.
The Dutch higher education system offers a wide variety of courses available in English, both at the bachelor's and master's levels. For this reason, the Netherlands is a popular destination for international students, and the universities here are highly-ranked worldwide. To learn more about attending university in the Leiden region, visit our Studying & Higher Education page.
Learning Dutch can help you to feel more at home in the Netherlands, and it is also a useful way to make friends and find work. If you are interested in learning Dutch, then check out our Dutch Language page.
If you would like to learn Dutch, a good place to begin is our Dutch Language page. However, there are certain official language proficiency levels that you will need to meet if you would like to pass the civic integration exam or pass the NT2 (Dutch as a Second Language) exam. The civic integration exam requires minimum A2 level Dutch, and the NT2 exams offer both B1 and B2 level proficiency tests.
It's important to check which level you will need, if you plan on taking a Dutch language exam for residency permit reasons or work reasons. Our language partners can all assist you with working towards these tests. Another resource for the NT2 exams can be found on the official Staatsexamen NT2 website. For the civic integration exams, you can visit the Inburgering website.
Leaving the Netherlands
If you decide you want to leave the Netherlands, then it's important for you to de-register from the Netherlands. You can do so by informing your local municipality that you will be leaving. Visit our Leaving the Netherlands page to learn more.
If you move to the Netherlands for less than 4 months, you will be registered in the RNI (Non-Residents' Database). You will still receive a BSN number, but being in the RNI database informs the Dutch government that you are not living here for longer than 4 months. For people who moved to the Netherlands and plan on staying for more than 4 months, the municipality registers you in the BRP (Personal Records Database), which informs the Dutch government that you are living here. If you have lived here for longer than 4 months, when you de-register, your information will be moved from the BRP into the RNI, but you will always keep the same BSN number. Learn more on our RNI page.
Be sure to contact us, if you have any other questions!