Relocating to the Netherlands from the UK: What You Need to Know

Relocating to a new country can be a stressful process, especially if you are moving with family. However, if you are relocating to the Netherlands from the UK, you can generally expect a relatively smooth transition due to the similarities in culture and language between the two countries.

In this post, we will look at the main points you need to know when relocating from the UK to the Netherlands.

Photo by Catalina Fedorova on Unsplash

Getting an IND Residence Permit

The IND is the Dutch immigration service. As the UK is no longer part of the EU, you will need to apply for a residence permit. It is very common for employers to submit the application online during the immigration process. However, if you’re already in the Netherlands, your employer must do this within 3 months after you arrive.

Once the residence permit is ready, you will receive a letter to advise from which IND desk you have to pick up your document. You must make an appointment online to collect it. You can make an appointment here.

Applying for a BSN Number

If you are relocating to the Netherlands from the UK, you will need a burgerservicenummer, a Dutch citizen service number known as a BSN. Everyone living in the Netherlands must have a BSN, and international newcomers should apply for a BSN as soon as possible.

Your BSN is required for a variety of administrative procedures in the Netherlands. You’ll need one in order to work (and ensure you pay the correct tax), open a bank account, arrange health insurance, visit a doctor or hospital, or apply for any benefits.

When you register with your local municipality, you’ll be assigned a BSN. Alternatively, it is often possible to complete the process with one of the expat centres.

Klippa can help guide you through the process and make an appointment for you. You’ll need to bring specific documents with you to your BSN appointment, which may vary depending on the municipality you’re in. At the appointment, you will be registered with the municipality, and you will receive your BSN.

If you register in Amsterdam or Amstelveen, the BSN is issued immediately during the appointment. It can take longer to receive the BSN if you register in the other participating municipalities (Almere, Diemen, Haarlem, Haarlemmermeer, Hilversum, and Velsen).

Getting a DigiD

DigiD (short for Digital Identification) is an online ID that allows you to access many services and government websites in the Netherlands. It consists of a username and password linked to your BSN.

If you are relocating to the Netherlands, you will need your DigiD to do your administration online. This includes things like filing your taxes, applying for benefits and allowances, and checking your pension in the Netherlands, among other things.

To apply for a DigiD, you will need your BSN, postcode, and house number of your rental property. You can apply for your DigiD here.

Following the application, an activation code is sent to you by post within 3 working days. Log back into the DigiD website to activate your DigiD with your username, password, and this code.

You can watch this DigiD explainer video for a full description.

Please note that your DigiD is private, just like your passport or driver’s licence. Therefore, never share your username, password, or code with anyone else.

Opening a Bank Account

Opening a bank account when relocating to the Netherlands is straightforward, and you can do so with any of the major banks, such as ING or ABN AMRO. These banks have branches all over Amsterdam and can be found in most shopping centres as well as train stations.

To assist you in opening a bank account, Klippa does the following:

  • Arranges the appointment;
  • Advises you what documents you need to bring;
  • Accompanies you to the appointment where possible and by arrangement.

Klippa generally makes appointments with ABN AMRO as they have an International Clients Desk for expats and are located close to IN Amsterdam in the World Trade Centre Amsterdam (WTC); they have additional sites in The Hague (Den Haag), Rotterdam and Eindhoven. They also have an English website.

You will need to bring the following documents to the bank appointment:

  • Original passport or European (EU) Identity Card
  • Employment contract
  • Burger Service Number (BSN) when already issued. If not, your BSN should be provided within 6 weeks after opening the account through internet banking or at a branch.
  • Financial Identification Number (FIN) of the country in which you are currently liable to pay tax. For example Burger Service Number (BSN) or Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the country of prior residence.

You’ll receive your active IBAN number at the appointment, and your debit card, activation code, and PIN will arrive by post in separate letters within 3-5 business days.

Getting Health Insurance

Everyone who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out standard health insurance within four months of registering with the municipality or receiving a residence permit. You are free to choose from any health insurer offering the basic package. All insurers offer the same standard package.

The basic package typically covers all costs for common medical care services and currently covers the following:

  • GP consultations
  • Treatments from specialists and hospital care
  • Medication
  • Dental care and physiotherapy up to 18 years old
  • Care from certain therapists, such as speech therapists
  • Basic mental health services
  • Anti-smoking programs
  • Dietary advice
  • Obstetrics and maternity care

Not all healthcare services are covered by the basic package, so you can opt to take out additional insurance to cover, for example, physiotherapy or dental care. Additional insurance is not mandatory, and you are not obliged to take out the basic package and additional insurance with the same insurance company.

You pay a fixed premium to your insurance company for the basic health insurance package. Children under the age of 18 must have health insurance but do not pay any premiums for the basic package.

Although all providers offer the same basic package, you can find a package to suit your specific needs on comparison sites. Some of the main ones are, Zorgverzekering Informatie Centrum, and Independer.

To register for health insurance, you will need your BSN.

Alternatively, Klippa can arrange for somebody to contact you to discuss health insurance.

Exchanging Your Driving Licence

If you’re relocating to the Netherlands with a British driving licence, keep in mind that it’s only valid for six months (185 days) from the date you register at your local municipality. After that, you’ll need to exchange it for a Dutch driver’s licence at the nearest municipality office.

This is how you exchange your foreign driver’s licence for a Dutch driver’s licence at your local municipality:

  1. Go to the municipality where you are registered, with the required documents.*
  2. Ask the municipality for an application form (form 3 E 0397) to exchange your British licence for a Dutch one. You fill it out on the spot.
  3. Your municipality will send the application with all documents to the RDW (Road Transportation Authority). Only the municipality can submit the application.
  4. If your application is approved, you’ll receive a letter from the RDW within 10 working days, telling you when you can pick up your new Dutch licence from the municipality.
  5. Note that the RDW will send your British licence back to the country where it was issued. You won’t be able to keep it.

* Required documents are as follows:

  • Proof of ID
  • The fully completed and signed application form 3 E 0397
  • One colour passport photo
  • The foreign driving licence
  • The previous Dutch driving licence (if this is still in the possession of the applicant)
  • A statement from the tax authorities if you qualify for the 30% rule

Be aware that there are processing fees associated with the application, which you’ll need to pay when submitting it to the municipality. The exact cost may vary depending on your municipality.


Relocating abroad is a big decision, and it can be overwhelming, but as long as you know what needs to be done and when, your transition should be much smoother.

If you would like to find out how Klippa can support a relocation to the Netherlands, please contact one of our experts today.

Thank you for considering Klippa for your relocation needs.

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