BSN – What is a BSN number and do I need it to work in the Netherlands?


Once you have secured a job in the Netherlands, you will need to provide your BSN number, which is crucial for all government and financial matters. What is a BSN number? Let’s find out what it is, what you need the BSN for, and how to obtain it!

What is a BSN number?

A BSN (Burger Service Nummer) is a personal identification number (social security number) assigned to residents in the Netherlands for administrative and identification purposes. The BSN is essential for accessing various services, such as healthcare, education, employment, and social benefits. We recommend arranging yours as soon as possible as you need it to:

  • Open a bank account in the Netherlands
  • Apply for a driver’s licence
  • Pay taxes
  • Enroll in a university or school
  • Buy or rent a house or apartment
  • Receive health care
  • and much more!

How to get a BSN?

To obtain your BSN number, you need to register at your local municipality (gemeente) in the Netherlands. Visit the official website of the municipality where you reside to find information on the registration process and required documents. Contact the municipality’s registration office to schedule an appointment for your BSN application. Make sure to bring the following documents with you:

  • Valid passport or ID card
  • Dutch residence permit for people who do not hold an EU/EEA nationality
  • Proof of address in the Netherlands (e.g., rental agreement, utility bill)
  • Birth certificate or marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Any additional documents specified by your municipality

During the appointment, the municipality will process your application and assign you a BSN. The BSN number will be issued to you either immediately or sent to you by mail, depending on the municipality’s procedures. The BSN is unique to you and will be yours for the rest of your life.

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