New to The Netherlands?
If you have recently moved to The Netherlands, it can take some time to adapt to your new surroundings. We have put together some information to help those of you who already live in or intend to move to The Netherlands. Whilst every care has been taken in preparing this information as accurately as possible, the Embassy cannot accept any liability for the information contained here.
- Health and Social Insurance
- Driving Licences
Health and Social Insurance
A. You should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your local health board before you travel to the Netherlands. The EHIC replaces the E111 form, and allows the bearer to avail of emergency health care in all EU Member States and in Switzerland. Please see www.ehic.ie for further details. Please also note that the EHIC card only entitles you to emergency health care. You should also consider getting private health insurance.
B. If you are in receipt of social benefit in Ireland, you might be able to continue to claim some of it while you seek employment in the Netherlands. For further information, contact your local Social Welfare office before you leave Ireland. Please note, however, that not all types of social benefit are transferable in this way. Please see www.welfare.ie for details on how to find your local Social Welfare office.
If you have questions about your PRSI status if you are posted abroad by your employer, please also contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs www.welfare.ie
C. Write to the following address and ask for a (free) copy "Social Security for Migrant Workers - The Netherlands", Voorlichtingscentrum Sociale Verzekering, Rhijnspoorlaan 1, 1091 GC Amsterdam, Telephone: +31.20.597.97.97.
D. Check with the Information Office of the European Commission in Dublin, 39 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, Telephone: +353.1.671.22.44. See also http://citizens.eu, or call 00800.6789.1011 for free, from anywhere in the European Union.
E. Dutch Social Security numbers (called "sofi" numbers) are available from your local tax office (belastingkantoor). To get one, you must first be registered with the Municipal authorities. Please see section below for details on how to do this.
Registration with the Dutch Authorities (including Residence Permits)
The system of registration in The Netherlands is very different to the system in Ireland. For example, The Netherlands maintains a population register, in which the details of every person living in the country are recorded. For administrative purposes, The Netherlands is divided into Municipalities ("gemeente" in Dutch), which maintain the population register.
Irish citizens who want to live in The Netherlands should register with the Municipal Population Register (bevolkingsregister). To do so, you should contact the Municipal authorities in the area where you intend to live. Each Municipality has slightly different requirements, but most of them broadly operate as follows:
a) Immigration Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie/vreemdelingendienst)
The first step is to report to the Immigration Police (sometimes called the "Alien's Police") in the Municipality where you intend to live and explain that you want to register with the Municipal authorities. The Immigration Police will place a sticker in your passport which indicates that you have reported to them.
b) Population Register Section (Afdeling Bevolking)
The population register section in the Municipality will ask you for a number of different documents, including, but not limited to: your valid Irish passport, civil certificates indicating your status (i.e. birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.), a signed lease of mortgage contract, indicating that you are living in the region administered by that Municipality, a letter from your employer/college/school. Some Municipality may also ask you to provide evidence of your civil status in the form of a Certificate of Status. The Embassy can provide you with a Certificate of Status. Please note that the Embassy cannot furnish you with birth or marriage certificates.
If you are moving to The Netherlands to study, please contact the Registration Section in your college/university for information on how to register.
If you are moving to The Netherlands to establish your own business, please contact the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel - www.kvk.nl) and The Netherlands Embassy in Dublin.
The Netherlands has a very different system of official registration than in Ireland, and at first, it might seem a bit bewildering. However, it is definitely worth taking the time to register yourself properly with the appropriate authorities as soon as possible after your arrival, and the Embassy strongly recommends that you do so. That said, as EU citizens, Irish nationals are not legally obliged to apply for a Dutch Residence Permit.
Please note that the list above is for indication only - in all cases, you should speak directly to your local Municipality to see what documents they want from you.
The Municiaplity may ask you to have an apostille affixed to your birth and marriage certificates. An apostille is a form of legalisation that proves the validity of the certificate. Please click here for information on how to get an apostille.
d) Proof of Lawful Residence (Residence Permit)
Once you have registered with the Municipal authorities, you can apply for a Proof of Lawful Residence (bewijs van rechtmatig verblijf), sometimes called a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning). Please note that as an EU citizen, you are not required by law to have a Proof of Lawful Residence, but you are nevertheless recommended to get one, as there are certain disadvantages to not having one, including possibly refusal of service at banks, insurance companies, social welfare offices, etc.
To apply for a Proof of Lawful Residence, please complete the application form which is available from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst - IND). The application form can be downloaded. If you cannot download the form, you can contact the IND by telephone on 0900.1234561, or contact your local Municipality.
Full details of the regulations concerning residence permits and fees are contained in a leaflet entitled "Aliens policy" published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, POB 20301, Schedeldoekshaven 100, 2511 EX Den Haag, Telephone: (Information Section) +31.70.370.79.11 (www.justitie.nl)
If you require further information on your rights when you arrive in The Netherlands, you can ask either at your local Immigration Services Office (Vreemdelingendienst) or in a legal aid office (Under Bureau voor Rechtshulp in the Telephone directory).
Working in The Netherlands
Irish citizens do not require work permits to work in The Netherlands, and have the same rights as Dutch citizens with regard to pay, working conditions, social security and trade union membership.
You will find below some sources of information on finding work in The Netherlands.
A) The Royal Netherlands Embassy, 160 Merrion Road, Dublin 4,
Telephone: +353.1.269.34.44; www.netherlandsembassy.ie
B) 1) Your local FAS Employment Service Office or
3) Your College Guidance Tutor/Careers Office who can liaise with FÁS while you are in full time education.
C) Emigrant Advice, 1A, Cathedral Street, Dublin 1,
D) The "Guide to Working in The Netherlands" is published by the expatriate support group ACCESS. It is full of useful contacts, practical tips and information for job seekers. It can be ordered via their website www.access-nl.org, by calling +31(0)70.346.2525, or by email: email@example.com
E) There is a useful leaflet entitled "Living in Holland" available from The Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC), Kortenaerkade 12, POB 29777, 2502 LT The Hague, Telephone: +31.70.426.02.60 (www.nuffic.nl). NUFFIC can also advise on the recognition given to foreign academic qualifications in The Netherlands.
When resident in The Netherlands you should register with the Dutch State Employment Service - Centraal Bestuur van de Arbeidsvoorziening, Visseringlaan 26, 2288 ER The Hague, Telephone +31.70.313.0911. Registration with this agency is obligatory if you wish to receive any unemployment benefit payments from Ireland.
The following employment agencies may also be helpful with regard to enquiries about obtaining employment:
Arbeidsbureau The Hague, Troelstrakade 65, 2533 AA The Hague Telephone: +31.70.384.95.11
Arbeidsbureau Rotterdam, Schiedamse Vest 160, 3011 RN Rotterdam
Arbeidsbureau Amsterdam-C, Singel 202, 1016 AA Amsterdam
Using your Driving Licence in The Netherlands
If you have a driving licence that was issued before 19 January 2013 in one of the EU/EFTA countries (this includes Ireland), then you can normally carry on driving with the foreign driving license for up to 10 years after issue. If your driving license is already over 9 years old, you can continue to drive with your driving license in any case for another two years (counting from the date of registering in a Dutch municipality). However, this is on condition that your driving license is still valid.
If you have a driving license that was issued after 19 January 2013 in one of the EU/EFTA countries, then you can normally carry on driving with a foreign driving license for up to 15 years. This is on condition that your driving license is still valid.
If you wish to exchange your Irish licence for a Dutch one, or register your Irish licence with the RDW - the Dutch Road Traffic service, you can contact your local municipality for further information. You will only be able to exchange or register your Irish licence if it is still valid, if it is a full driving licence (i.e. not a provisional license). You can also contact RDW for more information.
Tel: 0900.0739 (within The Netherlands - EUR0.10/minute) or +31.598.393.330 (from outside The Netherlands)