The key to starting your new life in the Netherlands is getting a Citizen Service Number (Burger Service Nummer 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 telephone is not possible without a Citizen Service Number.
How do I get a BSN?
If you are a resident in Rotterdam, you can register for a Citizen Service Number (BSN) at the municipality with a valid passport or, if you are an EU citizen, a valid national identification document. For non-EU citizens, a BSN can only be issued after your residence permit has been approved by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Highly skilled migrants can make an appointment for registration here. New arrivals who have not received ‘highly skilled migrant’ status from the IND can easily make an appointment for registration via the municipality website or by calling +31 (0)10-2671625 (press 2 for an English speaking officer) .
Who needs to register?
Everyone who will be staying in the Netherlands for longer than four months needs to register. You also need to register if you are staying for less than four months with the intention of working or studying. If your family will be coming along for longer than four months, then you will need to make an appointment for every person to be registered, so every person gets their own Citizen Service Number (BSN). You can arrange these appointments in a consecutive block of time if you schedule it in advance.
How long does it take and what does it cost?
The process of registration does not take very long and is free of charge. Highly skilled migrants (who made their appointment through the Expat Centre) will receive their BSN immediately after completing their appointment. New arrivals who do not have ‘highly skilled migrant’ status will receive their BSN after about 10 days.