The BSN (burgerservicenummer) social services number (or what was called the Sofi or Social-Fiscal number) is a very important personal code and with that a bureaucratic issue that internationals in the Netherlands have to deal with.
A BSN (burgerservicenummer) literally translates to ‘citizen service number’, a unique registration number for everyone who lives in the Netherlands. The BSN will facilitate any interaction with the Dutch authorities: starting a job, opening a bank account, deducting your taxes and social security contributions, using the healthcare system, applying for benefits, announcing a change of address etc. It is also used to combat identity fraud and misspelled names.
How to apply for a citizen service number?
You will receive your BSN when you register with the municipality (gemeente) of the area you will live in. Everyone who lives in the Netherlands, either for all or a significant part of the time, needs to register with their municipality within five days if they are planning to stay for more than four months.
When registering and thus receiving your BSN, EU citizens will need to provide a valid proof of identity (such as a passport, not a driver’s licence) and their address to be registered, while for non-EU expats other documents (such as your residence permit and employment contract etc.) have to be presented too.
What do you do if you have lost your BSN?
Lost your BSN number? No worries, you can find your number on a number of official documents, such as:
-Tax assessments or return letters sent to you by the Dutch Tax Office
-Your Dutch identity card / passport
-Your Dutch driver’s licence
If your identity document does not state your BSN number, simply go to the Dutch municipality where you are registered and request your BSN number there.
For more information, check out the website of I Amsterdam!