What is a BSN Number?

A BSN (burgerservicenummer) also known as a citizen service number, is a personal number given to each individual that is registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP). Every person that is registered in the BRP automatically gets a BSN.

A BSN will be required for:

When you have a BSN you are officially registered in The Netherlands, therefore, you cannot go without having one.

What is a BSN number?

How to Get a BSN Number

When you register at the Dutch Municipality, you automatically get a BSN. All you need to do is go to your local city hall and ask to register. They ask you to do this within five days of your arrival if you are planning to stay for more than four months. If you are an EU citizen, all you need to do is show proof of identity and proof of address. If you are a non-EU citizen, you must show your residence permit and proof of university enrolment if necessary. After you have done all of this, you must create your DigiD. A DigiD is a digital application that you sign up for once you have your BSN. With a DigiD you can access various online government services such as benefits or health insurance.

How to get a DigiD:

  • Apply for one at the DigiD homepage.
  • You then fill out your personal details, such as your BSN, date of birth and address
  • You then choose a username and password.
  • You will get an email confirmation
  • You will receive a letter with your activation code, and you will have to activate your DigiD within 20 days.

What do I Need to Get a BSN Number?

Once you have called your municipality for your BSN appointment, all that is left is to make sure you know what to bring for the appointment. If you do not bring the right documents, they will likely send you back home where you will have to make a new appointment, which again may take months. So, what do you need to get a BSN number? You will need to provide documentation such as:

  • A valid passport/ID
  • Proof of address to register as your new home address (contract agreement)
  • Non-EU citizens will need to bring residence permit and, if needed, employment contract or proof of enrolment from a university.

Remember, it is common that municipalities in The Netherlands only take pre-scheduled appointments, so make sure you make an appointment beforehand. Plus, some municipalities may ask for additional documentation, so when making an appointment, phone the municipality and double check what documents are required before you go to your appointment.

How Long Does it Take to Get a BSN in The Netherlands?

After you have done the crucial steps of applying for a BSN number, you may be wondering how long does it take to get a BSN? The process of obtaining a BSN does not take long at all, plus it is free. So, once you are at the municipality, and you have shown them the required documents to obtain a BSN, the municipality should give you your BSN that day - meaning by the end of your appointment you will have your BSN with you. Sometimes there can be a delay and your BSN will be sent to you a few days later, but do not worry as this delay is common and doesn't take long.

In summary, getting a BSN in The Netherlands is quite simple. Just make sure to do it once you know you are moving to The Netherlands. Furthermore, if you are staying in The Netherlands for less than four months and need a BSN, you can actually obtain one by registering for an RNI which is a Non-residents Record Database. There are some municipalities that will register you for an RNI which will provide you with a temporary BSN for those who need a BSN number to work or enrol in a university until they obtain their actual BSN number.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a BSN number?

  • The Citizen Service Number, also known as a BSN, is a personal number that registers everyone in the Personal Record Database.

  • Is it required to have a BSN in The Netherlands?

  • Everyone who lives in The Netherlands or is going to live in The Netherlands is required to have a BSN.

  • Who needs a BSN in The Netherlands?

  • Anyone and everyone who lives in The Netherlands is obligated to have a BSN. Anyone who is born in The Netherlands will automatically receive one.

Contact the Multilingual team

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