Dutch Bureaucracy 101

Finally here in the Netherlands trying to figure out how to manage in your new environment? Attempting to deal with Dutch Bureaucracy can often be an unnerving undertaking for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you understand the four entities that you must correspond with, you’ll be able to navigate the expat landscape better. Continue reading for a breakdown of all the different organizations you will encounter along the way to becoming a part of Dutch society.

IND: Immigration and Naturalization Service

The first stop in your quest to procure residency in the Netherlands is the IND, a branch of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice. They handle the implementation of immigration policies such as all visa requests and renewals, asylum, or applications for Dutch citizenship. They also manage your biometric information and issue residence permits. No need to be intimidated, I’ve found the professionals at the Netherlands IND to be kind and helpful in stark contrast to my experience with the Spanish Immigration Service. Make note that you must make an appointment to meet with a representative. It can take a few weeks to score an afspraak, so allow yourself enough time to start the process before the three months on your passport expires. Appointments can be made online or via phone.

Tel: 088 0430 430 (Netherlands), and +31 88 0430 430 (International)

Open: Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm

Gemeente: Municipality of Amsterdam

There are a multitude of services that the Gemeente oversees. However, its primary function is registration of all types.

X If you are an American residing in the Netherlands for longer than three months, you must register your official place of residence with the Gemeente in your city. Make sure that you bring your birth certificate with a current apostille with you to your appointment.

X Once you have registered, you will receive your burgerservicenummer [BSN], which is like a SSN.

X If you are a leaseholder, once you have been approved and have received your residence permit, you will receive a bill for waste tax from the Gemeente.

X If you change your address, you must notify your local municipality, and you must also deregister once you leave the Netherlands.

X Registration is also required should you get married, have a child, or lose a loved one while you are living in the Netherlands.

X Other services managed by your local municipality are the exchange your valid driver’s licenses for driver’s licenses for a Dutch one, conditions permitting, as well as applications for parking permits.

X Your local Gemeente also issues uittreksel, an extract needed to register for study or purchase a house.

Again, for all these services you must make an appointment in advance and it can take several weeks to secure one so plan ahead.

Tel: 14 020 or 020 624 1111 (Netherlands), and +31 20 624 1111 (International)

Whatsapp: 06 4444 0655

Open: Monday – Friday, 8 am to 6 pm

KVK: Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

If you plan on starting a business in the Netherlands, whether it’s a start-up or you’re self-employed, KvK - the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, is where you need to go to register. They also offer advice and guidance for freelancing (ZZP), financing and starting your own business. Appointments are required for assistance.

Tel: 088 585 1 585 (General Inquiry)

Whatsapp: 31 6 13445877

Open: Monday – Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm

Beslastingdienst: Dutch Tax Authority

The Dutch Tax Authority also known as Belastingdienst has a myriad of functions. Chief among them are tax processing of all sorts. Belastingdienst is where entrepreneurs can submit your quarterly VAT, as well as annual income taxes. You may submit your VAT online. However, I strongly suggest that you hire an accountant to handle your income taxes which can be a little overwhelming. I use Eric with Amsterdam Bookkeepers for my annual tax submission.

The Dutch Tax Authority is also in charge of distributing allowances for healthcare, rent, and child care, if applicable. You can find further information on the Toeslogen or Surcharges tab. You will need to request a DigiD code to access your online profile.

When you call with a personal inquiry, make sure to have your BSN handy. If further support is needed, an appointment can be made at the time of your call.

Tel: 0800 - 0543 (Netherlands), and +31 555 385 385 (International)

Open: Monday – Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Friday, 8 am to 5 pm

I hope these tidbits of information helps you new Expats out there. Leave your questions below in the comments sections!

‘Til next time!



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