Verifying or filing identity documents

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you have a business in the Netherlands and employ staff, you must verify their identity. You are required to know whether or not your staff is allowed to work for you. And you also need the correct personal data for payroll tax.

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 or they work for you through a contractor or subcontractor, you must nevertheless 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.

Security features on proof of identity

You check your staff's identity by asking for an original and valid identity document. A driver's licence or a statement issued by the tax authority for instance are not valid identity documents. When checking a passport, you should mind:

  • the photograph
  • 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. Inspectorate SZW 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

This applies to foreign workers and interns as well.

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.

Foreign employees

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 are obliged to keep a copy of the identity document in your records. The copy must show all personal data that are on the original. You should let your employee know why you keep a copy of their identity document. They should also be able to keep information you do not need private.

You must retain this copy for 5 calendar years after the termination of the working relationship, period of employment or activities. When the validity of an identity document has expired, it is not necessary to keep a copy of a new identity document in your records.

If the Inspectorate SZW asks you to validate an employee's identity, you should be able to provide them with a copy of the identity document within 48 hours.

Records when hiring through contracting or secondment

To be able to show the identity of a contracted employee, you must keep a record of their data (in Dutch). This includes:

  • name and address
  • date of birth
  • citizen service number (BSN)
  • nationality
  • type and number of identity document
  • name and address of intermediary.

It is not necessary to keep a copy of their identity document in your records if they are from within the EEA (European Economic Area) or from Switzerland. In all other cases you must keep a copy of their identity document for 5 years.

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.

Valid proof of identification

Your employees should always be able to provide a valid identity document while they are at work. You have to inform them about this obligation. Valid identity documents are:

Driving licences are not valid identity documents for the purpose of verifying a person's identity at the start of the working relationship, as it offers no indication of nationality and residence status.

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

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.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO