Document legislation

Published by:
Nuffic organisation
Nuffic organisation
Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW
Netherlands Vehicle Authority, RDW
Checked 14 Jul 2022
3 min read
Nederlandse versie

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 registration is managed by the municipality where you take up residence and must occur within 5 days of arriving in the Netherlands. 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.


You need to have a BSN number to register your business at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. See step 1:

Registering your company, step 1 and 2Registering your company, step 1 and 2


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 whether 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.

Credential evaluation in the Netherlands

If you want to enter the Dutch labour market using foreign credentials, you or your future employer may want to apply for credential evaluation using the Dutch international credential evaluation system (IDW). IDW compares your foreign diplomas or certificates with the equivalent Dutch diplomas or certificates. If the credentials are comparable, that means the level of your training is comparable to that of a Dutch professional. IDW does charge a fee for a credential evaluation of your foreign diplomas and certificates.

Working in the Netherlands with a non-Dutch diploma

In the Netherlands, certain professions are regulated. If you want to practice one of these professions, you need to have recognition. So, you must first check whether your profession is a regulated profession in the Netherlands.The European Regulated Professions Database lists all regulated professions in the Netherlands.

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.

Read more on about regulated professions.

Regulated profession

Is your profession on the list of protected professions? Then you must apply for permission to work in the Netherlands beforehand (apply for professional recognition). It depends on your profession which recognition you need. And where you can get it. For example, you have to prove whether you have the right work experience and training for the profession you want to perform in the Netherlands. You can find the contact details of the organisation you need to contact in the European Commission's database.

Check whether your certificates or diplomas are valid for your profession in the Netherlands with an organisation that is officially allowed to do so (recognised).

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.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Nuffic organisation