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Rotterdam - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Please refer to the registration process described in Expat Focus Country Guide on The Netherlands.

The registration can be a long and bureaucratic process – it is best to start the registration process as soon as possible, and ensure that your documents are properly accounted for, and translated into Dutch, English, French or German. In Rotterdam, there is an expatdesk that provides assistance and information on various aspects of Rotterdam (e.g. education, housing). The expatdesk is located at the World Trade Center (Room 337 /338 Beursplein 37; Tel: (010) 205 28 29; email The center is open Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm but call to make an appointment.

Most Non EU citizens will need to apply for a work permit ('tewerkstellingsvergunning' or TWV) before entering the country, although certain categories of foreigners are exempted. (Visit the INS website for full details). Work permits are usually applied by employers on behalf of their employees, as they need to show evidence that the job cannot be filled by an EU citizen. The work permit is issued to that specific job and employer as indicated in the permit. In some cases, depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a MVV ('machtiging voorlopig verblijf') – which is a temporary stay visa. This visa is applied for before you leave for Rotterdam - in a Dutch embassy in your home country. If you are pressed for time, you can start working before your residency permit is issued. If, however, your residency permit application is rejected, your work permit will also be considered void.

The IND ('Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst') implements immigration policies and issues residence permits ('verblijfsvergunning'). There are many schemes for residency, and most permits are valid for a year, and can be renewed. Some permits (e.g. Knowledge Migrant scheme) are valid for 5 years. Non-EU citizens must apply for a residency permit to live in Rotterdam.

The GBA ('Gemeentelijke basisadministratie personnsgegevens') is the municipal authority to register residency and it issues a Proof of Residency ('burgerlijkestand'). The details registered include size of apartment (to determine waste collection charges by the municipal) and number of family members in that registered residence. You will need to produce your rental contract. The GBA also issues a citizen service number known as the BSN ('burgerservicenummer'). A BSN is required to carry out many matters, such as open bank accounts, enrolment in schools, getting insurance, connecting a phone, etc. The BSN is a tax file and social security number and you must have a BSN if you intend to work in The Netherlands. The BSN replaces the former SoFI number as of 2007. EU citizens do not need to apply for residency permits, but registering at the GBA will assist in getting the BSN. For more information about the services available at the GBA, the location and contact numbers of the offices, click here.

All residents above the age of 14 are required to carry some form of identification ('verblijfsdocument') as proof of residency status. There is an on-the-spot fine for non-compliance.

To get married in The Netherlands, you must be over 18 years of age, and at least one of you must be a Dutch national, or both partners must have residency status.

Most embassies and consulate services are located in Den Haag or Amsterdam.

Read more about this country

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