Registration in the Netherlands

If you are working or studying in the Netherlands, or living here for more than 4 months, you have to register at the municipality where you will be living to be entered in the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie personen or BRP). 


The key to starting your new life in the Netherlands is getting a Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer or BSN). Your BSN is a unique personal number allocated to everyone registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database, which makes it easier for public authorities and services to exchange information on residents of the Netherlands.

Why do you need a BSN?

Public authorities can use your Citizen Service Number to retrieve your details, so you do not have to provide them separately each time you have dealings with a public service. For example, your employer cannot pay your salary unless you have a BSN. It is also needed to arrange formalities such as opening a bank account, taking out health insurance, getting a subscription travel card, or applying for benefits. Buying a house, a car, or even a mobile phone plan is not possible without a Citizen Service Number.

How do I get a BSN?

You receive a BSN by registering with the Dutch government, usually at the municipality in which you will be living. There are two different procedures depending on if you are staying for 4+ months or not. You can read about these procedures below.

The Lifeport Welcome Center offers a One-Stop-Shop service as a part of the Welcome Programme, where you can schedule one appointment for your Welcome Meeting, IND, and municipality registration appointments.

Find out more about the Welcome Programme and One-Stop-Shop

Asylum seekers/Azielzoekers

If you are an asylum seeker, you may not yet be able to receive a BSN. More information can be found on the website of Centraal Orgaan opvang Asielzoekers (COA).

Long term stay

If you are planning to stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, you are required to register with the municipality where you will be living as soon as you arrive. You have to register in person. This first registration (eerste inschrijving) is needed in order to issue your Citizen Service Number (Burger Service Nummer, or BSN), which is absolutely vital for all residents of the Netherlands.

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Short term stay

Every non-Dutch citizen (including citizens of the Schengen area) arriving in the Netherlands for work or study is required to register their presence in the Municipal Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie personen or BRP). If you will be staying for less than four months, there is a special procedure for your registration: the ‘registration as a non-inhabitant’ (registratie niet ingezetenen or RNI).

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