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I need a registration number for tax and social security. Is that the BSN?


If you live in the Netherlands you will need a registration number: the citizen service number, in Dutch called "burgerservicenumber" or "BSN". If you don't live in the Netherlands but you receive an income from the Netherlands, for example because you are working here, you also need a registration number. In that case a BSN will not be applicable, instead you will have to request a "sofinumber". In the past a SOFI number was the standard registration number for everybody, but in 2007 the BSN was introduced for people living in the Netherlands. Currently the BSN is also required for non residents who work in the Netherlands. 

What is a BSN used for?

The citizen service number is used by all government organisations. A BSN is required in order to be permitted to work, open a bank account, make use of a health care institution (a doctor or hospital) and to apply for benefit or an allowance.

How do I get a BSN? 

When you arrive in the Netherlands you have to register with the municipality. Part of the registration procedure is that a BSN is issued to you. The same if you register a new born child. If you are not living in the Netherlands you will need to go to the municipality of the place you are working. Not all municipalities may be able to register you as a non resident in which case they will refer you to the right municipality. 

Where can I find more information about the BSN?

See also our website:

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Comments (21)
Comment by mohamed ali on Sun, Dec 9th, 2012 at 2:42 PM
i am a european citizen and i am living here in assen. i am not working at the moment and would like to life here in netherlands, so how can i get bsn sofi number?and social benefit please?
Comment by arjan enneman on Thu, Jan 17th, 2013 at 9:39 AM
as mentioned above you must register with the municipality, go to the local town hall. they can issue a bsn. social benefit will not be granted if you have no history in the netherlands. by claiming social benefit the dutch government will end your right to stay in the netherlands or not allow you to register at all. you must be able to support yourself, even if you are a european citizen. there must be a valid reason why you want to stay in the netherlands like work or study for example.
Comment by veronika on Tue, Jul 9th, 2013 at 9:59 AM
hello, i am gonna stay in netherlands less than 4 month - i was told i should get sofi number instead bsn. do i have to register at my place (do i have to bring my tenancy contract?)and can i start working before i get the number - if i already have an appoitment with the office?thank you
Comment by fran on Fri, Oct 18th, 2013 at 11:34 AM
How can I get an appointment for the sofi number if I don
Comment by arjan enneman on Thu, Oct 24th, 2013 at 7:25 AM
The telephone instructions are indeed in Dutch and the tax authorities also only speak Dutch on the phone. So you may need to request a Dutch colleague or your manager to arrange an appointment for you. See also
Comment by carla on Wed, Nov 19th, 2014 at 3:04 AM
How do I report a tax evader to Dutch authorities? He is a foreigner but from the eu. He is employed and paid in euros by a large Dutch company but works in Brasil? He boats that he does pay tax anywhere? I have to pay my taxes why should he not pay his taxes? He claims he doesn
Comment by pasquale fierro on Sat, Dec 20th, 2014 at 10:41 AM
I have to sign in a tenancy I need the sofi nummer or BSN?
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Jan 21st, 2015 at 2:46 PM
@Carla. If he physically works in Brazil then he indeed doesn‘t have to pay tax in the Netherlands. There are many different arrangements about in which country tax needs to be paid. Tax treaties are very important in this light. Situations are not always clear from the outside. But if you are sure that somebody evades tax then you just have to inform the tax authorities in your region, but with a detailed description of the circumstances.
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Jan 21st, 2015 at 3:39 PM
@Pasquale. The person or organisation which will rent out the property to you can request you to provide your BSN. This can be required for the rental allowance, confirmation that you are properly registered in the Netherlands, credit check etc. It is up to you whether you want to provide your BSN, but if you don‘t you may not be able to rent the property.
Comment by Giovanni Vacercalo on Wed, May 4th, 2016 at 12:48 PM
I am an Italian citizen working with a permanent contract from a Dutch company. I initially got my BSN number as a part of the procedure for the non-residents in the Netherland but I am now mainly working from home, in Italy, and travelling to the Netherland just for 3 or 4 days per month. Since the 4-months of the allowance period for the BSN-number only is now ending, do I need to go ahead with the registration process in the Netherland, get an health insurance and open a bank account, or - as a non-resident - there are other procedures that I applicable to my case?
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Fri, May 27th, 2016 at 11:53 AM
I assume you are registered in the so called RNI, which is the register for non residents. SInce you are actually a non resident, you are properly registered this way. Only if you would become resident you would have to change the registration. Right now everything is ok. RNI is created to make it possible for non residents to get a BSN.
Comment by reshmith on Fri, Sep 9th, 2016 at 3:59 PM
Am not an European citizen .i got Poland work permit.i want to apply Sofia number in netherland.what is the prociger for getting Sofia number
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Mon, Sep 12th, 2016 at 4:49 PM
A sofinumber doesn‘t exist anymore. You need a BSN which you will get if you register with a municpality in the Netherlands. But to be able to register you must have a valid visa or permit which allows you to stay or work in the Netherlands. So that must be arranged first. Possibly you can get the Polish permit transfered to the Netherlands but I can‘t advise you on that.
Comment by Reshmith on Tue, Sep 13th, 2016 at 11:25 AM
Am an Indian citizen I having polish work permit.i can stay here for three eligible for applying Bsn number in Netherlands .
Comment by Ahmed on Tue, Nov 1st, 2016 at 12:55 AM
Hi I am pakistani and I have five years Italian refugees documents so I want to apply for sofi number in Netherland so what‘s the procedure for getting sofi number? Thanks
Comment by Will on Thu, Nov 10th, 2016 at 3:59 PM
Hi there I am a German citizen and I a˜m starting to work for a Dutch sailing contractor in few weeks time. Even if they are registered in the Netherlands I am gonna be working for them in the Canary Islands. How do I get the BSN number without having to go to the Netherlands? Any online application forms?help would be much appreciated. Cheers will
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Mon, Jan 2nd, 2017 at 2:18 PM
If you have a valid permit to stay in the Netherlands you can apply for a BSN. This has to be done at the local municipality. They will check whether you have the right to stay in the Netherlands. The BSN can‘t be requested online.
Comment by Annoyed in NL on Sun, May 21st, 2017 at 1:39 PM
You are required to have a permanent address to register at a municipality and receive a BSN four weeks later, but you cannot use a hotel or AirBNB as a permanent address. You cannot get a lease to establish a permanent address unless you have a BSN, nor can you get a Dutch bank account unless you have a BSN, so your employer cannot even pay you except to a foreign account, maybe, then you lose ~5% on exchange fees. So frustrating. WTF?! This system makes no sense.
Comment by Antonio da Silva on Tue, Jul 4th, 2017 at 1:50 AM
How long does a BSN take? How long from application to receiving number?
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Jul 5th, 2017 at 3:33 PM
In several cities it is possible to register a foreign address (being a non resident who needs a BSN or if you stay in NL less than 4 months) and change that to a Dutch address at a late date. It is also often possible to arrange a rental contract for a property before you have a BSN. But then you may have to prove that you will receive a BSN on short notice.
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Jul 5th, 2017 at 3:34 PM
How long it takes to get a BSN depends on the municipality. You may receive the BSN immediately or it may take a couple of weeks.
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