Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for Expats
  • How does the municipal registration process work?
    • All people arriving in the Netherlands who are planning to stay more than 4 months must register with the municipality where they intend to live. Their details will be saved in the Basisregistratie Personen – BRP (Personal Records Database).
    • Make an appointment for “first registration from abroad” with the local municipality.
    • Each person who needs to register must attend in person – including babies.
    • Those able to register under the Fast Track process can make the appointment via their employer with the Expat Centre in Maastricht or Eindhoven.

    See more information regarding municipal registration in our Formalities section.

  • What documents are needed for municipal registration?

    When registering at the municipality where a Burgerservicenummber – BSN (citizen service number) will be issued the following documentation is required:

    • a valid passport or identity card;
    • non-EU citizens must also have a valid residence permit, be in the process of applying for one or have intent to apply within four weeks;
    • a sigend 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;

    The following documents are not necessarily required at the registration appointment however must be supplied for administrative purposes:

    • 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 a sworn translator and in some cases the translated document needs to be legalised.

    See more information regarding municipal registration in our Formalities section.

  • How can I make an appointment with the municipality?
    • Telephone the relevant municipality using the 5 digit telephone number given on the respective website or the international contact number from outside the Netherlands.
    • Using a DigiD make an appointment directly via the municipality’s website.

    See more information regarding municipal registration in our Formalities section.

  • I require my BSN urgently, who can help me?

    The Expat Centre Maastricht Region offers a fast track way of registering employees who have relocated to the Netherlands as a kennismigrant (highly skilled migrant), onderzoeker (researcher) or top artiest (professional artist) along with their family members. To be eligible for the Fast Track process the employer has to be an IND recognised sponsor.

    Non-EU citizens will need a residence permit to complete their registration.

    See more information regarding work and residency permits in our Permits section and for more information regarding the Fast Track process go to our Companies section.

  • Can I register without a permanent address?

    Yes, but hotels and other "recreation" addresses are not usually allowed.

    See more information regarding fast track registration using the Fast Track process in our Companies section.

  • Can I open a bank account without a BSN?

    Once registered in the Netherlands, the following documents are required to open a bank account:

    • proof of identity (passport, identity card or residence permit);
    • Burgerservicenummber – BSN (citizen service number);
    • proof of address (rental contract, utilities bill).

    Under certain circumstances it is possible to open a bank account without a BSN at particular banks if employment details can be provided. However, this does need to be provided as soon as possible, or the account can be blocked by the bank.

    It is also possible to open certain online bank accounts without a BSN.

    See more information regarding the BSN in our Formalities section.

  • Do I need health insurance?

    All residents in the Netherlands are obliged to take out a basic level of national health insurance within the first 4 months of arrival, regardless whether they have existing health insurance from another country. Once a health insurance policy has been taken out the next step is to register with a GP in the local area.

    There are a number of situations where residents and employees are exempt, depending on the purpose and duration of stay in the Netherlands (posted workers, students etc.). These exemptions are covered for healthcare under the Wet Langdurige Zorg – WLZ (The Long-term Care Act) which is governed by the Sociale Verzekeringsbank – SVB (social insurance bank).

    See more information regarding health insurance in our Taxation, Healthcare & Insurance section.

  • What is a DigiD and how do I apply?

    The DigiD (digital identification) is a way of providing secure access to national and local authority websites and to a growing number of other websites such as health insurers and pension funds.

    The DigiD is linked to the Burgerservicenummer – BSN (citizen service number) which is issued upon registration at the municipality. Application for a DigiD can be done via the website. Applicants will be prompted to choose a gebruikersnaam (username) and wachtwoord (password), and then these 2 codes are subsequently used to gain access to relevant websites.

    EU/EER nationals are allowed to apply for a DigiD when not resident in the Netherlands if they already have a BSN. On application via the DigiD website they will recieve a "baliecode". Make an appointment at the local muncipality, bring this code and passport/ID, and obtain an activation code for the DigiD. Then activate the DigiD via the DigiD website.

    The DigiD app is being used more often as method of access to websites, so it should also be requested when you apply for a DigiD.

    See more information regarding the DigiD in our Formalities section.

  • What is the BsGW?

    The Belastingsamenwerking Gemeenten en Waterschappen – BsGW (municipalities and water boards taxation cooperation) is the authority to which municipal (local) taxes are paid in most muncipalities in Limburg. Similar authorities cover other areas of the country. It is possible to get exemption from municpal taxes in some cases, but you must apply for this, otherwise you will continue to receive bills. If you prefer to pay the taxes on a monthly basis, you need to authorise a direct debit arrangement with the BsGW.

  • How is waste disposed of in the Maastricht Region?

    Each municipality has its own system for afval (waste). Refer to the municipality’s website for the most up to date information about afval inzamelen (waste collections), recyclen (recycling) and milieuparken (waste and recycling centres).

    See more information regarding waste disposal in our Formalities section.

  • Who qualifies for the 30% Tax Facility?

    The 30% Tax Facility applies to if the employee was recruited outside of the Netherlands or seconded from a country other than the Netherlands to work in the Netherlands. Conditions for making use of the 30% facility include the following:

    • A valid employment relationship.
    • The employee is recruited from another country by the employer or is sent from another country to the employer.
    • Of the 2 years before the first working day in the Netherlands, the employee lived outside the Netherlands for more than 16 months, at a distance of more than 150 kilometres in a straight line from the Dutch border.
    • The employee has specific expertise that is not or is only barely available on the Dutch employment market.
    • The employee has a valid decision from the Belastingdienst (Tax and Customs Administration).

    See more information regarding the 30% Tax Facility in our Taxation, Healthcare and Insurance section.

  • How long can I drive in the Netherlands with my non-Dutch driving licence?

    Holders of an EU/EFTA driving licence can drive in the Netherlands for a period of 15 years or until the expiration date, whichever is sooner (heavy goods vehicle licences are valid for 5 years). When due to expire, the EU/EFTA licence can be exchanged for a Dutch licence at the municipality.

    Driving licences issued by non-EU/EFTA need to be exchanged within 6 months of registering in the Netherlands, if they are valid for the categories listed.

    If the applicant is benefiting from the 30% Tax Facility, then the applicant and family members can exchange their driving licence(s) for a Dutch driving licence regardless of the licence’s country of issue.

    All other licence holders will need to apply for a Dutch licence. This involves taking a theory test and a practical driving exam. In the Netherlands this process is facilitated by accredited driving instructors.

    See more information regarding driving licences in our Formalities section.

  • How do I complete a tax return?

    The Dutch tax year runs from January to December. Tax returns are normally filled in during March or April. It is possible to request an extension until 1 September if necessary.

    In the Netherlands, income is divided into 3 ‘boxes’. Each category of income is assigned to a certain box, and different rates apply to each box:

    • Box 1 werk en woning: includes a graduated tax on wages, profits, social security benefits, pensions and income from freelance work.
    • Box 2 belastbaar inkomen uit aanmerkelijk belang: is a flat tax on income from substantial business interests.
    • Box 3 belastbaar inkomen uit sparen en beleggen is a flat tax on any savings and interest in the bank.

    The tax for wage and income is calculated through 4 progressive belastingschijven (tax brackets). The higher the income, the higher the tax bracket. The wage tax that is withheld from salaries is levied on the basis of the estimated annual salary, which is then calculated back to a monthly amount.

    In most cases a tax declaration is completed online using a DigiD. A lot of details are already prefilled, depending on the information already held by the Belastingdienst (Tax and Customs Administration).

    For those who arrived in the Netherlands during the year and became a resident or for those who were resident and left the Netherlands during the year, the M-form has to be used. The M-form is a paper form for tax years 2019 and earlier. From 2020 the M-form is digital. It is not a mandatory declaration, unless you have received a letter from the Belastingdienst requiring you to fill it in. Generally, this form has to be specifically requested. It can be advantageous to send in, because of the way the Dutch wage and income tax is calculated.

    See more information regarding taxation in our Taxation, Healthcare & Insurance section.

  • How can I invite friends/family from abroad for short stay?

    EU citizens have free movement throughout the EU and may stay in the Netherlands for shorter or longer periods.

    The Netherlands is part of the Schengen Area, a group of countries with open border controls and a common visa policy. Schengen Area nationals are able to stay in a Schengen Area country without a visa for 90 days and travel freely to other Schengen Area countries for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. This unrestricted travel is allowed subject to the condition that the passport holder has a valid passport that does not expire within the first 6 months of stay. There are further conditions for those who are required to apply for a Schengen Area Visa.

    There are a number of types of visas available for entry into the Netherlands. Applying for a visa mainly takes place at the embassy or consulate of the Netherlands in the visitor’s country of residence, prior to departure. More information about visas can be found at the Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) website.

    To obtain a visa at an embassy or consulate of the Netherlands in the visitor’s country of residence proof of sponsorship and/or private accommodation is required. You can provide this proof by completing the Bewijs van garantstelling en/of particuliere logiesverstrekking form which must be certified by the municipal office where you are registered.

    See more information regarding visas and permits in our Formalities section.

  • I am studying / working in Maastricht, can I move to Belgium?

    For EU citizens this is possible, for non-EU citizens this is not.

    See more information regarding visas and permits in our Formalities section.

  • Are there specific aspects of living or working in different countries that I need to consider?

    Yes. Living in one country that is a European Union (EU) Member State and working in 1 or more different EU Member State countries is referred to as being a “cross-border worker”, which impacts more than just tax and national health insurance situations.

    For general information and advice on specific situations for cross-border workers, contact:

  • How can I find affordable housing?

    Expat Centre Maastricht Region partners with a number of housing industry experts in the region and offers information session and seminars about finding the perfect rental or purchase.

    Go to our Events page for an up-to-date list of information sessions and seminars being held by Expat Centre Maastricht Region.

    Go to our Partners page for a list of accommodation industry experts we are partnered with in the Maastricht Region.

    For questions or problems concerning rent or rented accommodation, please contact the Huurteam Zuid-Limburg in Maastricht. Their expert team can guide you through the necessary procedures related to renting and they are also able to assist with the Huurcommissie (Rental Tribunal) national, independent and impartial agency which can mediate and adjudicate on disputes between tenants and landlords about rent levels, maintenance and service charges.

    See more information regarding housing in our Housing section.
  • Where can I find more information about voluntary work?

    Citizens of non-EU/EAA countries require a valid work permit to engage in volunteer activities.

    Holders of a tourist visa are not allowed to do volunteer work, although there are a few exceptions for those eligible for a "working holiday" visa .

    Recipients of unemployment benefits may not be allowed to volunteer without prior consent from the Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV (Employees Insurance Agency).

    The following websites (in Dutch) feature volunteer opportunities across the Netherlands;

    Many organisations in the Maastricht Region can use volunteers: food banks, museums and other cultural organizations, helping at schools and care homes may be an option, providing transport for elderly people, helping people with their financial administration, gardening, and helping people with their English.

    In the Netherlands a Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag – VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct) is sometimes required before starting volunteer work. It is a document by which the Dutch State Secretary for Justice and Security declares that the applicant did not commit any criminal offences that are relevant to the performance of their duties.

    See more information regarding voluntary work in our Education & Careers section.

  • How do I apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct?

    In the Netherlands a Verklaring Omtrent het GedragVOG (Certificate of Good Conduct) is sometimes required before starting a new job. It is a document by which the Dutch State Secretary for Justice and Security declares that the applicant did not commit any criminal offences.

    A VOG can be attained in 1 of 3 ways:

    • from the municipality where the applicant is registered,
    • online through the employer,
    • or from the Justis (Ministry of Justice and Security’s screening authority).

    The right way to obtain a certificate of conduct depends on why it is required and whether the applicant is registered with the municipality in the Basisregistratie Personen – BRP (Personal Records Database). In all cases, Justin decides whether or not a certificate of conduct should be issued.

    See more information regarding VOG’s in our Education & Careers section.

  • I want to start a business in the Maastricht Region, where do I start?

    When planning to set up a business (including working as a ZZP'er / freelancer) in the Netherlands, there are several things that must be considered:

    • What requirements need to be met in order to start a business in the Netherlands?
    • What legal forms need to be completed?
    • What taxes need to be paid?
    • Is a license or diploma/degree required?
    • What requirements are there for setting up a location/office?

    See more information regarding setting up a business in the Maastricht Region in our Education & Careers section.

  • Am I obliged to complete civic integration?

    Some expats are required to pass the inburgeringsexamen (civic integration examinations), in order to qualify for or maintain permanent residence. Others have to pass the exams to move to the Netherlands as a partner / spouse of a Dutch citizen.

    Those who are required to pass the exams, will be informed by Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs – DUO (education implementation service), when the residence permit application is being processed.

    There are exemptions for certain situations where the exams are not required, these are detailed on the IND website.

    See more information regarding civic integration in our Formalities section.

  • How do I obtain a copy of my registration with the municipality?

    Make an appointment with municipality where you are registered to request a copy. There are usually specific reasons for requiring a copy of your registration; you will be asked to explain why it is required so that the correct information is generated by the system and you will be asked to pay a fee. Please ensure you bring your valid passport or identity card with you to the appointment.

    In some municipalities you can request a copy of your registration electronically via DigiD.

  • Do I need to deregister when leaving the Maastricht Region or the Netherlands?

    When moving residences but staying within a municipality, the municipality must be notified as soon the move is complete.

    When relocating within the Netherlands, you must register with your new municipality. As soon as registration with the new municipality is complete, deregistration from the old municipality takes place automatically. You can usually do this yourself online via the website of the new municipality using your DigiD, where responsibility for paying municipal taxes (which are paid to the BsGW in Limburg) will also automatically be adjusted and transferred. Check with your new municipality whether this can be done online or if you need to make an appointment.

    When leaving the Netherlands for more than eight months it is mandatory to deregister from the Basisregistratie Personen – BRP (Personal Records Database). The municipality automatically notifies other government authorities of the registered departure. Deregistration can be carried out up to a month before leaving the Netherlands, a date of departure must be specified. This can be done in person or via the website of the municipality.

    See more information regarding registration and deregistration in our Formalities section.

  • How do I get to know other expats and internationals in the Maastricht Region?

    Expat Centre Maastricht Region organises events where many expats in the region come together in both formal and informal settings, to get to know each other and share their experiences of life in their host cities.

    There are also many different meet-ups and online groups that organise their own events, these can be found via social media as well as through flyers in local cafés, restaurants, museums and the city libraries. Taking a class or joining a club or organisation also is a great way to meet new people while developing new skills or enjoying a favourite hobby or pastime.

    More information on social and cultural organisations for internationals can be found in our Personal & Social section.

  • What is Let’s Catch Up?

    Let’s Catch Up is a social initiative by Expat Centre Maastricht Region, Maastricht University and several cultural institutions. The aim is to organise a variety of social and cultural events throughout the year, combining a Meet&Greet with an interactive program. Whether it’s an exclusive backstage tour, one-on-one moments with performers or inspiring guest speakers, there is always an added element of exclusivity at each event.

    Held at various venues, Let’s Catch Up provides social and professional networking opportunities, the chance to broaden your social circle, exchange opinions and enhance the experience. Let’s Catch Up is for everyone!

  • How do I book a one-on-one consultation with the Expat Centre Maastricht Region team?

    Go to the Appointment section of our website and you can select the available consultation appointment that best suits your schedule.

FAQ for Companies
FAQ for Partners
  • What advantages are there in becoming an Expat Centre Maastricht Region official partner?

    Becoming an official partner in our Partner Programme offers businesses and organisations in the region access to their respective target groups and provides numerous opportunities to present their organisations and identify potential collaborations.

    What can the Partnership Program offer businesses and organisations:

    • the partner logo will be displayed in the relevant category in the information menu;
    • a full page for information about partner services and contact information on the Expat Centre Maastricht Region website, including a direct link to the partner website;
    • the partner will be listed in the Maastricht Region Manual which every expat receives during their appointment at the Expat Centre Maastricht Region;
    • partners will be offered the opportunity to be present at expat events organised by Expat Centre Maastricht Region;
    • partners are able to participate in events organised by Expat Centre Maastricht Region;
    • partners can state that they are an Official Partner of Expat Centre Maastricht Region;
    • network opportunities with other Official Partners of Expat Centre Maastricht Region at our networking events for Official Partners.

    See more information about the advantages of becoming an Expat Centre Maastricht Region partner in our Partners section.

  • What are the conditions for becoming an Expat Centre Maastricht Region official partner?

    Conditions of joining the Partnership Programme:

    • all relevant information for the target audience has to be available in English on the partner’s company website, in flyers, forms and in client services;
    • cooperation is required with our monitoring project where expats will evaluate partner services several times a year, the results of which will not be displayed on the Expat Centre Maastricht Region website;
    • partners must submit recent verifiable references from a minimum of 2 expats and 2 international companies with which the company has worked;
    • partners have membership with their respective sector's professional association (where applicable);
    • partners will place a link to the Expat Centre Maastricht Region website on their own company's website;
    • partners agree to pay an annual partnership fee of €1,250 excl. VAT.

    See more information about the conditions of our Partners Programme in our Partners section.

  • How do I become an Expat Centre Maastricht Region official partner?

    Businesses and organisations interested in joining the Partnership Program are to complete the registration form and they will be contacted as soon as possible. For any questions please contact us.

  • How can I reach more expats and knowledge workers in the Maastricht Region?

    By utilising the opportunities offered in our Partner Programme. We offer moments throughout the year to present your business to your specific target group(s) at information and introductory sessions and to network with potential clients or future employees at both formal and informal networking events.

    The Partner Programme also enables businesses in the Maastricht Region to connect with each other, share knowledge and offer potential collaborations to broaden reach and garner more exposure.