What’s the Netherlands BSN (burgerservicenummer) number all about?

Netherland's BSN number (Burger Service Number) Social Services Number (or what used to be called SoFi or Social-Fiscal Number is the first bureaucratic issue that migrants in the Netherlands have to deal with.


    Note: This form is not for job seekers.

    Table of Contents

    Netherland's BSN(Burgerservicenummer)

    Overview: Netherlands BSN Number

    While browsing about living and working in the Netherlands, you must have come across the word BSN number. Obtaining the BSN number is the foremost step that an individual should take if they are planning to relocate or work in the Netherlands.

    Every citizen who is living in the Netherlands has a unique citizen identification number (BSN), people who are born in the Netherlands automatically have it (Dutch Government issue this number with birth certificate) and foreigners have to apply for it as soon as they arrive.

    What is a BSN number?

    BSN (Burgerservicenummer) is a unique citizen service number, which will act as an identification number all around the Netherlands. This number is provided to every individual who is registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP). Netherlands BSN number is necessary if you want to live, work, and get benefits in the Netherlands. The complete process of registration and then getting a BSN number issued takes place within a week or two. If you are leaving the Netherlands for some time, the BSN number will stay linked with that individual, the same number can be used again upon returning to the Netherlands.

    Read More: Unemployment Benefits Scheme In Netherlands

    What's the use of the BSN number?

    BSN Number is not only used by the government to process your personal information but it is also used for various other administrative procedures such as opening a bank account, getting health insurance, getting housing benefits, and combating fraud. This number will let an individual access different services and facilities, from different sectors such as insurance, banking, healthcare, etc. 

    BSN number will create contact between government authorities and an individual. With the help of Netherlands BSN numbers, the Dutch government tries to provide maximum protection for your privacy and improve services for you.

    How to apply and get a BSN Number?

    Once you are in the Netherlands and you are planning to stay for more than 4 months, then you have to get fully registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP). For which an individual has to visit the nearest municipality (gemeente) within 5 days from the arrival. You’ll be visiting the municipality with all the documents required.

    For EU citizens  – An EU citizen must have a valid identity proof or a passport (driving license won’t work), and address proof.

    For non-EU expats  – While for Non-EU expats, a valid residence permit and other documents need to be presented which include a work permit and visa.

    If you are relocating to the Netherlands for less than 4 months, then also having a BSN number Is mandatory, although the process is just slightly different, an individual has to get themselves as a non-resident.

    Individuals will be registered in the Non-residents Records Database (RNI), The process is very much simple and quick if you have all the documents required for the registration. To get registered in RNI, an individual can download and fill out the form from the website of the National Office for Identity Data and bring it to the municipality on the day of the appointment. And if you have children under the age of 16, they also have to get registered through RNI.

    The process of getting a Netherlands BSN number is very much easy from start to finish if you have all the documents that are required and it doesn’t take long.

    Migrants with highly skilled status will be provided with a BSN number right away, during the appointment. While others receive their BSN number within 10 days. We at Odint consulting have been helping businessmen to get BSN numbers in the Netherlands since 2012.


    What if I lost my BSN number?

    If an individual loses his/her BSN number, there is no worry as there are many other documents that show the BSN number, hence you can check it from there as well. Documents that show your BSN number are: Identity card, passport, driving license, Income tax return assessment receipt, notification letter which you’ll receive from their government. Apart from that, you can also find your BSN number using DigiD (identity management platform).

    One can even show their valid identity proof at the municipality and request for a BSN number, and if an individual requires to make changes in their BRP data then they’ll have to request the municipality with changes.


    Netherlands unique BSN number will stay valid for the lifetime until or unless the holder deregisters it.

    What's DigiD?

    The DigiD is a kind of online ID used as a medium to provide access to local services and government websites, it’s like having a digital identity proof. The DigiD is linked with a BSN number, EU and non-EU citizens (only if they have a BSN number) can apply for it. It can be used even if you are not in the Netherlands, but want to access national and local authority websites.

    One can easily apply for DigiD, it’s a three-step process, first, you have to fill up your personal information such as BSN number, postal code, house number, date of birth. The second step will be SMS verification and the last step will be about you choosing a username and password for your DigiD login. Once you are done with all those 3 steps, you’ll receive an activation code within 5 days, and you’ll have to activate your DigiD account within 20 days.

    How long does the process take and how much does it cost?

    The process of getting a Netherlands BSN number is very much easy from start to finish if you have all the documents that are required and it doesn’t take long. Migrants with Highly skilled status will be provided with a BSN number right away, during the appointment. While others receive their BSN number within 10 days. And the process is free of charge.

    De-registration of BSN number

    If you are permanently leaving the Netherlands, or you are going to stay outside the Netherlands for 8 consecutive months, then you’ll have to get yourself deregistration. The process of deregistration is very much similar to the registration process, you’ll have to inform the municipality and set an appointment. Depending on your municipality you can also complete this process online, if they don’t allow that you have to complete the process in person. Within 5 days from your departure, you’ll have to contact Dutch Municipality.

    Read More: Netherlands 30% Ruling


    So if you are looking to go to the Netherlands make sure you are aware of the whole process as it’s mandatory doesn’t matter if you are going for studies or work. I hope you found this article insightful, and if you want professional help for your BSN number feel free to reach out to us. We will provide you with all the necessary information that you’ll need and cater to your requirements with a solution that will serve your interest.


    Information that is given by you during registration can’t be used by any institution Unless permitted by law.

    BSN number previously used to be known as Sofi number which used to be issued by Dutch tax authorities. But from Nov 2007, the Sofi number converted to the BSN number and from January 2014 Dutch tax authorities stopped using the Sofi number.

    To work in the Netherlands one needs to have a work permit, having just a BSN number won’t permit you to work in the Netherlands

    EU members can get a BSN number while they are living outside the Netherlands, by making an appointment with the municipality with the help of their current EU address. You’ll receive a temporary BSN number but that will be valid only for 4 months. 

    This whole process is completely free of cost, Dutch government takes care of it.