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Citizens Service Number (BSN)

In theory everyone in The Netherlands who is taxable or who is insured for social insurance gets a BSN number (social insurance and tax number).

A BSN number is a personal administration number under which your tax liability is registered at the Tax Office (de Belastingdienst). Foreigners will not get a BSN number if they:

  • are not legally staying in The Netherlands; and/or
  • are not in possession of the necessary work documents; and/or
  • are in an asylum procedure.

No rights can be derived from a BSN number. Having a BSN number does not give you the right to residence or the right to work.

BSN number privileges
In theory, everybody who is taxable or insured for social insurance in The Netherlands will have a social tax number. A BSN number is automatically assigned as soon as the Tax Office is informed of a birth, or receives a settlement from abroad from the local government personal details administration (Gemeentelijke basisadministratie persoongegevens, GBA). Within a few weeks after birth, parents or guardians will automatically receive a notification bearing the child's BSN number.
In the case of a settlement from abroad no notification will be sent. You will have to collect your BSN number in person at one of the Tax Offices with an issue desk for BSN numbers.

If you are not registered at the GBA, you will only be eligible for a BSN number if you are taxable in The Netherlands. You then have to collect your BSN number in person at one of the Tax Offices with an issue desk for BSN numbers. This is also the case if you don't remember your BSN number or if you are not in possession of any of the documents in which your BSN number is stated.  You can only collect a BSN number for yourself or for your children if they are younger than 12 years old.

You need to present the following documents at the Tax Office:

  • valid identification, e.g. your passport (driving licence is not valid for this purpose)
  • proof of address. If you are not registered at the council, you will be asked for proof of address
  • residence and/or work permit. You will not need a residence and/or work permit if you are originating from Belgium, Cyprus (Greek part), Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Sweden or Switzerland

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