Verifying or filing identity documents

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you have a business in the Netherlands? And employ staff? You must verify their identity before they start working for you. You are required to know if your staff is allowed to work for you. And you also need the correct personal data for payroll tax.

You have to verify the identity if you:

  • hire staff directly
  • hire staff through an intermediary
  • have staff working for you via a contractor or subcontractor

You check the identity of all workers on the basis of an original identity document. This applies to any Dutch or foreign workers, and interns you employ. If you hire temporary workers through an intermediary you must also verify their identity.

In some sectors, such as in the healthcare and hotel sector the identity of patients or customers also needs to be verified in the medical records or visitor register.

How to verify your staff's identity

You check your staff's identity by asking for an original and valid identity document.

Valid identity documents are:

A driver's licence or a statement issued by the tax authority for instance are not valid identity documents.

Please note: only the original documents count as valid proof of identity. A copy does not suffice.

When checking a valid identity document, you should mind:

  • the photograph
  • characteristics such as age and height
  • signature
  • nationality
  • the date on which the document expires
  • security features (watermark, document number)

You check a prospective employee's identity before they start working for you. The Netherlands Labour Authority (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie, NLA) has drawn up a checklist for verifying identity documents (in Dutch) consisting of four steps:

  1. check the identity document
  2. check the identity of the person
  3. check if the person is allowed to work for you
  4. file a copy of the identity document

It is important to check for illegible or damaged information and traces of cutting or glueing. The name in the Machine Readable Zone (the two or three lines of numbers and letters at the bottom of the pass) of the passport should correspond with the name on the document.

Showing proof of identity

Your employees should always be able to provide a valid identity document while they are at work. For this purpose a driver’s licence is also considered a valid identity document. A copy of the identity document does not suffice. You have to inform your employees about this obligation.

Is your employee allowed to work for you?

Once you have validated an employee's identity, you have to make sure they are eligible to work for you. This is the case for the following groups:

  • people who have Dutch nationality
  • people from the EEA or Switzerland
  • people who have a different nationality who can prove they are eligible to work in the Netherlands

Filing your employee’s proof of identity

You have to keep a copy of the identity document in your records (retention obligation). The copy must show all personal data that are on the original identity document. You must let your employee know for what purpose you keep a copy of their identity document. And what your employee can do to shield information you do not need.

If your employee leaves employment you must retain this copy for 5 years. These 5 years start after the calendar year in which the employee leaves employment. Has the validity of an identity document has expired? You do not have to make a copy of the new identity document for your records.

If the Netherlands Labour Authority asks you to validate an employee's identity, you must provide them with a copy of the identity document within 48 hours.

Records when hiring through contracting or secondment

Do you hire staff through contracting or secondment? You cannot keep a copy of the identity document in your records since you are not the employer. You do, however, have to check the proof of identity and keep a record of (in Dutch):

  • name and address
  • date of birth
  • citizen service number (BSN)
  • specification of hours worked
  • nationality
  • type and number, and period of validity of identity document
  • name, address, and registration number with the Chamber of Commerce of the intermediary.

Is the employee from outside the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland? You must keep a copy of their identity document for 5 years. You must also check if the person is allowed to work in the Netherlands.

Payroll tax liability

If you have not been able to establish your employee's identity (or have not been able to do so in time), you need to apply the anonymous rate (anoniementarief) for payroll tax. This means you will withhold 52% of their wages for wage tax and national insurance contributions.

If you hire temporary workers through an intermediary or a (sub)contractor, the latter is responsible for payroll taxes. If they do not comply, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration may hold you liable.

Using someone else’s identity document

It is not allowed to use someone else’s travel document, for example their passport. This also applies to using someone else’s driving licence, aliens identity card, or company access pass.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO