Document legislation

This information is provided by

Nuffic organisation | Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW

Last updated on

In the Netherlands, you need official documents to work and live. You can use some foreign documents. Others must be evaluated or exchanged. 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 Personal Records 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).

Your BSN is equivalent to a social security or national insurance number.

You only have to submit your BSN to a government body once. From then on, authorities will be able to exchange information. You will also be able to view your own information, without having to constantly resubmit your details.


Your BSN is tied to an online identification system: your DigiD. It 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. It gives you access to hundreds of Dutch government and non-government websites. For instance, you use your DigiD to get an excerpt from the BRP, or to apply for reimbursement of health care costs from your medical insurance company. Visit the DigiD website to apply for a DigiD or for more information.

Professional recognition in the Netherlands

Check with a relevant competent authority in the Netherlands if your credentials are valid in the country where you want to practise your profession, whether you are planning to practise your profession:

  • in the Netherlands, using credentials you received outside the Netherlands; or
  • abroad, using Dutch credentials.

The Nuffic website provides more relevant information.

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

Credential evaluation in the Netherlands

If you want to enter the Dutch labour market using foreign credentials, you should apply for credential evaluation. You do so using the Dutch international credential evaluation system (IDW). The IDW website was established by Nuffic and the Foundation for Cooperation in Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB). Nuffic coordinates the evaluation of foreign credentials awarded at a higher or general secondary educational level.

Regulated professions

In the Netherlands, certain professions are regulated. If you want to practice one of these professions, you need to have recognition. It depends on your profession which recognition you need, and from whom you can get it. The European Regulated Professions Database lists all regulated professions in the Netherlands, plus the competent authority you need to contact. You can search this database per country, or fill in your profession.
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.
See Professional qualifications and diplomas for more information, or visit the Nuffic website.

Driving licence recognition

Do you have a foreign driving licence? Once you become a Dutch resident, you may use your foreign driving licence during a transition period. The length of this period depends on the country in which you got your driving licence. You will have to apply for a Dutch driving licence after the transition period.

In certain cases, you'll simply be able to exchange your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one. This is only possible if you are a 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