BSN: Here’s why you really need one

Happy woman holding BSN papers with an aerial photo of Eindhoven in the background.

What is a BSN and why do I need one?

BSN (previously called ‘SOFI number’) is short for “burgerservicenummer”, which literally translates to “citizen service number”. It replaces a social security number and tax number and functions as an all-round identification number for communication with the Dutch government. You need a BSN to get a job in the Netherlands. With your BSN, you can request a DigiD account, which allows you to apply for housing allowance, Zorgtoeslag, extra-territorial tax discounts, and more.

How can I get a BSN and what does it cost?

You receive your BSN for free when you register at a Dutch municipality (“gemeente”). You’ll need to register within 5 days of your arrival in the Netherlands. Registration can be intimidating – especially when you don’t know the Dutch language and customs. That’s why we help our new employees by making a BSN appointment for them. We even accompany you to city hall if necessary!

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