So when I started this blog, I didn’t figure it would get read by many people. Maybe a few friends and some other assorted folks who just found their way here. Before moving, I was reading lots of other expat blogs, and they were very helpful, but one thing I never really found was any coverage on the mundane legalities of moving, and that was something I wanted to know. As a result, I decided that I would try to cover that as much as possible, in the hope that some day in the future, another person thinking of moving to the Netherlands might stumble across it and learn what they wanted to know. As a result, here is the first post in that regard, about registering your stay with the city.
Dutch law says you have 5 business days from your arrival in order to register with the city government to let them know you are living here. We found the number for the Dienst Persoons en Geo informatie bureau, and called. There is an option to speak to someone in English. The first available appointment was 2 weeks in the future, so I booked it. I failed to tell them that there were 2 of us (my wife and I), so I ended up having to call and make another appointment for her. I’m not sure if they do 2-person appointments.
You will receive a letter telling you what you need to bring. You must bring: A passport or other ID document, your validated Birth Certificate, and a Rental or Property Sale Contract. In addition, if you have them, you also need a validated Marriage Certificate or Divorce Decree. When I say ‘validated’, this means you need to have Apostille certificates attached to those documents. In the USA, you get these certificates from your state’s Secretary of State office. Missouri charged $10 per document, and Iowa charged $5. You can get them through the mail.
You show up at the office at the appointed time, and hand your letter to the man sitting at the desk just inside the door. He gives you a ticket and you take a seat. Eventually, you are called into one of the 21 little booths that circle the room. In there, another worker types all of your info into a computer, asks you some questions, and prints out a sheet of paper with your new Burgerservicenummer (BSN) on it. This is basically the Dutch equivalent of the American Social Security Number. You can’t open a bank account until you get this.
Be advised that since I am a European Citizen, I did not have to get legal permission to move to the Netherlands. If you don’t have EU citizenship, you will first need to get an MVV before you can move here. My wife is covered under my citizenship through the EU “Family Reunification Law,” so she does not need an MVV either. We now wait 3 months before registering with the IND (Immigration).