What you need to know about moving to the Netherlands as an expat (even if you already have a relocator)

Getting settled into a new country can be a stressful experience. Luckily there are relocators who can help you make the experience less of a confusing process. Most expats who are moving to the Netherlands will work for a large company. Those companies usually set you up with a relocator who helps all expats of that company with moving to the Netherlands.


Some expats, however, will work for a smaller company and will have to find a relocator on their own. The same goes for all the expat entrepreneurs out there.


Whatever your situation, it’s good to know what to expect of your move to the Netherlands. That way you’ll feel more in control. Which can help you reduce your stress even more.

So, without further ado, these are the steps you need to take to become an expat in the Netherlands:

VISA and Residence Permit


If you’re not a citizen of the European Union, your very first step to moving to the Netherlands is to apply for a VISA. When your VISA request is accepted, you can apply for a residence permit. To apply for a residence permit, the company you’re going to work for needs to be registered as a recognized sponsor at the IND. For your application to be accepted, your salary needs to be sufficient, independent and long-term. The cost to apply for a residence permit is currently €938 and is usually paid for by your employer. To find more information and to apply for the permit, visit the website of the IND.

Get Registered


After getting your residence permit, you’re good to go! As soon as you arrive in the Netherlands, you’ll need to register yourself as a resident. Every city has a different process so you should find out how to register in the city where you’re going to live. Some cities require you to register at city hall, others require you to register at a special expat center. You do need a Dutch address to be able to register in the Netherlands. If you don’t have an address yet, you need to register as soon as you sign a rental lease. Or, if the city where you’re going to live allows it, you can register at the business address of your employer.


The Social Security Number (BSN)



Once you’re registered as a resident, a social security number (BSN) will automatically be assigned to you. Without your BSN, you won’t be able to work in the Netherlands.  Plus you need your BSN to do a number of other things such as to open a Dutch bank account, to apply for health insurance and to apply for the 30% ruling.


Without registering in the Netherlands and without your BSN, you won’t be able to start your life as an expat in the Netherlands. You’ll kind of remain a tourist. If you’re still not registered after 4 months, you become an illegal alien in the Netherlands. If you’ve been working all this time, your employer is in violation of the law and will have to pay a large fine to the Dutch government.


Keep in mind that, if your family is coming to the Netherlands with you, they each need their own BSN. Even the littlest one. Kids, for example, need a BSN to be able to go to school.

Health Insurance


You’re required to take out health insurance within 4 months after your arrival in the Netherlands. There are plenty of health insurance providers in the Netherlands. To find out more about health insurance, read our blogs https://www.inexpatfin.nl/news/31/what-expats-need-to-know-about-personal-finances-when-moving-to-the-netherlands”>here and here.

Driver’s License


Upon arriving in the Netherlands, find out how long you’re allowed to drive with the driver’s license from your country of origin. Driver’s licenses issued in some countries are only valid for 6 months after your arrival in the Netherlands. It’s probably a good idea to find out if and when you need to convert your foreign driver’s license to a Dutch driver’s license. You can find more information here.

The role of your relocator


Now that the most important things you need to do once you arrive in the Netherlands are clear, you might wonder what role your relocator has in all of this.


Well, the relocator guides you through every step of the way. He’s also there to translate anything for you. Your relocator can help you to apply for your residence permit. He can help with shipping your stuff from your current country of residence to the Netherlands. He can find houses for you and make appointments so you can go see those houses as soon as you arrive in the Netherlands. Once you arrive to the Netherlands, your relocator can pick you up from the airport and go to the previously arranged house viewings with you. After you’ve signed your rental lease, your relocator will go with you to city hall to register you. He will help you open a bank account, apply for the 30% ruling, and direct you in how to convert your driver’s license. The relocator can also help you find a general practitioner and a dentist. Furthermore, he can help you find a good school for your kids and just, in general, provide you with all the information that you need about the Netherlands.


Some relocators have preferred companies they work with to take care of certain things for you. However, you’re still the boss of your own relocation. So should you want to use another vendor, perhaps a certain financial intermediary to help you open your bank account or to take out your health insurance with, you’re free to do so! You just have to tell your relocator to contact us at +31 (0)23-3030110 or info@inexpatfin.nl, or you can contact us yourself. Good luck with moving and see you soon in the land of the tulips!


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