Document legislation

This information is provided by

Nuffic organisation | Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW

In the Netherlands, you need official documents to work and live. Sometimes you can use your foreign documents, sometimes you have to have them evaluated or exchanged, and sometimes you need a Dutch document. Find out what applies to your situation.

Citizen Service Number (BSN) and DigiD

The citizen service number (BSN) is a unique personal number assigned to everyone registered in the Persons Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). This database consists of permanent residents and people who are registered in the Non-residents Records Database (Registratie Niet Ingezetenen, RNIBSN). It's equivalent to a social security or national insurance number.

You'll only have to submit your BSN to a government body once. Thereafter, authorities will be able to exchange information, which you'll also be able to view yourself without having to constantly resubmit your details.

Online, your BSN is tied to a digital identification system. This is referred to as your DigiD, and consists of a name and password. You can apply for a DigiD only if you have a BSN.

Your DigiD is a highly secure and safe means of identifying yourself to numerous organisations, and accessing hundreds of Dutch government and even some non-government websites, e.g. to retrieve excerpts from the BRP or to apply for reimbursement of health care costs from your medical insurance company. To apply for a DigiD or find out how it works, visit the DigiD website.

Professional recognition in the Netherlands

You may need to check with a relevant competent authority in the Netherlands if you plan to practise your profession in the Netherlands and you received your credentials outside the Netherlands. You'll find a list of professions on the Nuffic website containing relevant information.

It may be sensible to have your credentials evaluated. The Centres of Expertise for International Credential Evaluation (SBB & Nuffic) will be able to issue you a written statement. These statements serve merely as recommendations from which no rights may be derived.

Credential evaluation in the Netherlands

Nuffic is the coordinating body in the Netherlands responsible for evaluating foreign credentials awarded at a higher or general secondary educational level. Individuals with foreign credentials aiming to enter the Dutch labour market should apply via the Dutch international credential evaluation system (IDW) established by Nuffic in conjunction with the Foundation for Cooperation in Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB). You can request a credential evaluation on the IDW website.

Regulated professions

In the Netherlands, certain professions are regulated. If you want to practice one of these professions, you have to have recognition. Which recognition you need, and from whom you can get it, depends on the profession. You can find a list of all regulated professions in the Netherlands in the Regulated Professions Database on the EU website. You can search this database per country, or fill in your profession (but note: you need to know the Dutch term for the profession if you want to know if it is regulated in the Netherlands or not). If you click on the name of your profession, you will get all the available information about recognition for that profession, including the competent authority to contact.
See Professional qualifications and diplomas for more information, or visit the Nuffic website.

Driving licence recognition

You'll be able to use your foreign driving licence for a short period after becoming a Dutch resident. The length of this period depends on the country in which you obtained your driving licence. You'll have to get a Dutch driving licence once this transition period has lapsed.

In certain cases, you'll simply be able to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one. This is only possible if you're a registered Dutch resident and have a valid residence permit. For additional information, please visit the Netherlands Vehicle Authority website (Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer, RDW).

This information is provided by

Nuffic organisation
Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW