Burgerservicenummer – BSN

All residents in the Netherlands who are planning to stay more than four months must register with the municipality in which they intend to live. Upon registration they are issued with a Burgerservicenummer – BSN (citizen service number). The BSN is crucial for gaining access to a range of services and facilities including banking, taxation, insurances and benefits, similar to the National Insurance number in the UK and the social security number in the US. The registration needs to be made in person, with all family members present. All residents new to the Netherlands are required by Dutch law to register their presence within five days after arriving.


When registering at the municipality where a BSN will be issued the following documentation is required:

  • A valid passport or identity card;
  • Non-EU citizens must also have a valid residence permit or be in the process of applying for one;
  • A tenancy agreement, or a signed statement with a photocopy of the passport of the main occupant, stating that they are allowed to register at that address, or a document that proves that the applicant is the owner of a property: a deed of ownership or a deed of transfer;
  • An original or legalised copy of the applicant’s birth certificate*;
  • If applicable, an original or legalised copy of the applicant’s marriage/divorce certificate*.

* If the document is written in a language other than English, German, French or Dutch a translation must be provided by sworn translator and in some cases the translated document needs to be legalised.

Note: applicants must intend to reside in the municipality for at least 4 months in the 6-month period following registration.

When leaving the country the BSN is always linked to the same individual, and upon return the same number is still used.

Registration of non-residents (RNI)

Applicants staying in the Netherlands for less than 4 months in any 6-month period, or living across the border and require a BSN, are able to register with one of 19 municipalities in the Netherlands as a non-resident under a special registration provision for the Registratie Niet-Ingezetenen – RNI. The closest municipalities to the Maastricht region are; Heerlen, Venlo and Eindhoven. 

The following documents are required when applying for an RNI:

  • A valid passport or identity card.