Question:

BSN (Social Security Number): Why do I need a BSN? What are the steps for registering for my BSN at the municipality?

(Last edited: Tuesday, 8 September 2020, 11:11 PM)
Answer:

The “Burgerservicenummer” (BSN) is a unique personal number that enables reliable and efficient data exchange between residents, the government and various other organizations. In the Netherlands, you need the BSN for opening a bank account, visiting a doctor, getting health insurance, receiving your salary (if you are working part-time while studying), applying for tax benefits and many other administrative processes.

The requirements and process:

Whether you are a Dutch citizen or an international, everyone living in the Netherlands is required to be registered at their home address. You need to register (inschrijven) at the town hall in the municipality (gemeente) where you are living. For foreign students, you can only register after you have collected your residence permit.  Being registered allows the Basisregistratie personen (BRP or Municipal Personal Records Database) to better handle emergency situations, to track the size of the Dutch population and to allocate the right municipal taxes to each household.

To register your address and get a BSN from the gemeente, you need to make an appointment. The University Front Desk will make the appointment with the Gemeente (City Hall) on your behalf. For the appointment, students should bring the following documents:

  • Residence permit
  • Passport (original copy)
  • Birth Certificate (with legalised translation in Dutch or English)
  • Accommodation contract

The process of registration will take between 20 to 30 minutes. Once you are registered at the municipality, you will receive a document which states your particulars and your BSN. An official welcome letter will be mailed to you at your home address.

Take note that you cannot open a bank account unless you have your BSN. So ensure that you have sufficient cash with you when you arrive.

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