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In the Netherlands, a Certificate of good conduct (Verklaring omtrent het gedrag, VOG) indicates that the recipient has not committed any criminal offences. For some jobs, like teaching, childminding or driving a taxi, a VOG is compulsory. In other cases, employers are free to decide whether they want to ask their employee for a VOG, which is sometimes referred to as a Declaration of good conduct. There is also a VOG for legal entities.
Who needs a VOG?
A certificate of good conduct for individuals (VOG NP) is legally required for some professions, for instance:
- everyone who works in education (primary and secondary education, secondary vocational education and special-needs education)
- everyone who works in childcare
- taxi drivers
- driving instructors and driving school owners
It also mandatory for employees and volunteers who work:
- with confidential information (such as doctors or lawyers)
- with vulnerable people (for instance in healthcare)
- with money or valuable goods (such as accountants or mortgage advisors)
- for the government
In all other instances the collective labour agreement (CAO) in your company or sector, determines if you ask an employee or volunteer for a VOG.
VOG application procedure
Employees and self-employed professionsl (zzp'ers), who are registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database can obtain a VOG from their local municipality. Companies can also apply for a VOG online (in Dutch), using eRecognition. To do so, they will need an security level 1 eIdentifier token. They prepare the application for their employee, who then receives an email and logs in with their own DigiD to complete it. Freelancers/self-employed professionals may authorise their client to apply for a VOG on their behalf.
If the applicant is not registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database, they can submit the application form to the Central Agency for Certificates of Good Conduct (COVOG) (see link for address) of the judiciary service Justis (Ministry of Justice and Security).
Checking a VOG
You can only check if a VOG is genuine (in Dutch) if you have the original paper version. You can check the document for the following characteristics:
- the paper has a grid and features the blue government logo
- the paper features a watermark
- in UV light the paper remains dark and the graphic mark on the lower right is luminous
- in UV light, on a VOG NP you can see a luminous rectangle surrounding the blue N number
- you can see a hologram in the paper
A request for a VOG may be denied if the applicant has received a relevant criminal conviction in a specific time frame prior to the application. This denial could either be based on police data about the applicant or based on data registered in the Dutch Judicial Documentation System (JDS). If you wish to appeal the decision see the FAQ - Applying for a VOG, Objection and review.
VOG for childcare workers
Owners, employees and office personnel working in the childcare sector must have a VOG. Persons of 18 years of age or older who share accommodation with a registered childminder, must also apply for a VOG (in Dutch). Trainees, temporary employees, volunteers and parents working in your establishment must request a new VOG every 2 years. If a trainee or temporary employee changes trainee posts or working locations, the existing VOG will suffice. This does not apply to volunteers; they must request a new one.
There are two screening profiles available for persons active in the childcare sector: Screening profile 84 (caring for minors) or 86 (working in the childcare sector).
Application forms VOG childcare
There are different application forms for VOGs for childcare (in Dutch):
- Application form for VOG for individual owner of childcare centre (in Dutch)
- Application form for VOG for individual childcare workers and those living on the childcare premises (in Dutch)
- Application form for VOG for individuals who are structurally present during direct or indirect care for children (in Dutch)
A copy of the VOG must be retained in your (personnel) files and the member of staff must register in the register for persons active in the childcare sector. These certificates and registration records must be presented during GGD inspections.
Childcare workers are screened for criminal offences on a continuous basis. The supervisory body will notify you in the event of a criminal offence. Your employee will then have to apply for a new VOG. Failure to obtain this new certificate is grounds for dismissal. Continuous screening also applies to trainees, temporary personnel, volunteers and parents working in your establishment.
Online application procedure via Message Box
If you require a VOG for a procedure that is subject to the Services Act, you can also request this document online via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you to exchange messages with Dutch government agencies.