Additional information on immigration procedures

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Netherlands

Read up on how the following topics are relevant for immigration procedures:


Embassies and consulates are involved in handing out entry visas, both for a short stay and a long stay. Not all countries however have a Dutch embassy or consulate-general. Therefore visas can no longer be applied for in all countries. If this applies to the country you live in, for a Schengenvisa you can generally go to the embassy of another Schengencountry and for a MVV you are to visit the Dutch office in a nearby country, as other Dutch offices in the region have taken over these tasks.

You can see an overview of all Dutch embassies and consulates on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If you enter a country where the office has closed, you will be automatically referred to the post that has taken over responsibility for handling applications.

Most cases, short-stay visas will be issued by an office of another Schengen state in the same country. Authorisations for Temporary Stay and visas are not always issued on the day of application.

In some cases, applications can still be submitted to and documents picked up from specific offices (front offices) although they are actually handled by another office in the region (back office). One consequence of this is a small increase in waiting times.


Legalisation of documents

You may have to provide IND or the Dutch municipal authorities with documents such as marriage or birth certificates. Please note that any foreign documents that you present to the Dutch government have to be legalised.

Legalisation is a procedure that serves to confirm a few things. Firstly, that the document was issued by someone with the authority to issue it. Secondly, it confirms that the signatures on the document are genuine. If a foreign document has been legalised, the Dutch authorities know that it is legally valid in the Netherlands. A properly legalised document contains a minimum of three signatures and stamps, issued by the following authorities:

  1. The person or authority that issued the document (e.g. a municipal registrar).
  2. One or several higher authorities in the country of issue. The highest authority required to sign and stamp is usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  3. The Dutch embassy or consulate in the country of issue.

If the document is not in English, French, German or Dutch, make sure it is translated before you start with the legalisation. If you do not know how to get your document legalised, we advise to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country of issue. We recommend to start early. It may take several months to collect all the necessary stamps and signatures. If the country in which the document was issued has signed the Apostille Convention, the procedure is easier. In that case, your document does not require legalisation by the Dutch embassy or consulate. Affixing an apostille, issued by the designated authority in the country of issue, will suffice. Contact the designated authority for further information on how to obtain an apostille.

Further information is also available on the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and Dutch government information pages.

Translation of documents

If your document is not in English, French, German or Dutch you might need to have it translated. the following rules apply:

  • Your document must be translated by a sworn translator.
  • It must be translated into English, French, German or Dutch.
  • If the sworn translator is registered outside the Netherlands, you must also have the translation legalised.

Family & immigration procedures

You may want your partner and/or children to be with you in the Netherlands. Perhaps they wish to come over together with you, or join you at a later stage. Either way, be sure to mention any plans to your host institution or Dutch employer as early as possible. This will allow your HR contact to give you the best advice on how to deal with all the necessary paperwork.

Note: family members only include a partner and/or dependent children. Parents and other family members are eligible for this procedure.

If you have a baby whilst in the Netherlands, you must register the newborn. The Dutch law says that this must be done within 3 days after birth. Newborns can be registered at the town hall (gemeentehuis) by you, your partner or a nurse. The following documents will be required:

  • both parents' passports
  • child's birth certificate
  • marriage certificate (if applicable) unless both parents are already registered in the Netherlands
  • Residence permits

If not married, a declaration must be written by the mother stating the identity of the father. The couple must bring this and their ID to the town hall before the baby is born.

Some countries allow you to register the foreign birth of a child at the embassy. Contact the embassy before the birth takes place so that you know what to do and what the time limits are, if any. When you register your child’s birth, you can ask the officials for an ‘international birth certificate’, which may prove useful in your home country. If you need the international birth certificate to register a foreign birth at your embassy, it will be provided free of charge. A fee is payable for any other copies.

You might also have to register the child with the Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie). Call ahead of time as it might be necessary to make an appointment. Take the original international birth certificate and your passport with you.




What do you have to arrange when you are going to move to the Netherlands? Did you complete all necessary paperwork? Is legalisation or verification needed of some documents? What should you pack? Before you leave, check the following matters.

Bureaucratic matters

  • Apply for your passport.
    Don't forget your family members: Do they need passports as well?
  • Apply for your entry visa, if needed.
    Again, don't forget you family members.
  • Get your pet's passport and accompanying certificates
    (no earlier than 14 days before departure)
  • Obtain necessary documents and/or several copies for residence permit application (if needed) and other bureaucratic affairs once in the Netherlands.
    • proof of health insurance (if coverage is to carry over temporarily)
    • birth certificate (of you and accompanying family members)
    • passport (make sure it is valid long enough)
    • marriage certificate
    • divorce decree
    • non-marriage/single status certificates
    • adoption papers
    • financial records
    • documents, codes, etc. to access your financial accounts from abroad

What to bring?

Check your airline for the quotes on goods to bring. You can also check the Dutch Customs website on what kind of goods you are allowed into the country. If you are bringing portable appliances, make sure they are compatible with wall outlets in the Netherlands that have a voltage of 220. Voltage can easily be converted with the use of transformers on most appliances (up to 1,000 watts). These may be bought from expats leaving The Netherlands or from most hardware stores. As for clothing, the Netherlands is a multi-national country with no dress code. Dutch people tend to dress casually, but neatly. Even in the work place, dress codes are often quite relaxed.

Removal goods & taxes

The general rule is that you have to pay taxes when importing goods, even personal ones, into the Netherlands. You also have to pay fees for registering your car or motorcycle after import. This may involve import duties, VAT*, excise duty or Private Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Tax (in Dutch: Belasting van personenauto’s en motorrijwielen, abbreviated with BPM). However, if you are moving house, you may in certain cases obtain a tax exemption for your personal goods. To do this you must apply to Dutch Customs for an exemption permit and satisfy a number of conditions.Check the information provided by Expatax for more information.


We advise you to start your orientation on accommodation before arriving.

Upon arrival

After arriving in the Netherlands, there are some legal procedures that you have to complete. Check-in with your employer's HR department so they know you have arrived. They will also tell you which of the following formalities apply to you.

  • If you filed for a residence permit card you will have to collect your permit. - your host organisation might know more about how to go about doing this.
  • Register at the Town Hall in your local municipality (so-called BRP).
  • BSN - Through registration at your Town Hall you will automatically be assigned a BSN.
  • Register with a local doctor and dentist.
  • Take out appropriate health insurance.
  • Open a bank account.