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Every person in the Netherlands has a personal registration number. It is called the Citizen Service Number ('Burgerservicenummer' or BSN). This number is issued to Dutch citizens along with their birth certificate.

If you were not born in the Netherlands, you must apply for the number yourself.

You need the BSN in order to:

  • be permitted to work
  • open a bank account
  • make use of a care institution (a or hospital)
  • apply for benefits

How can I obtain a BSN?

When you come to live in the Netherlands and register with the municipal authorities (Municipal Personal Records Database), you will automatically receive a Citizen Service Number.

For a BSN, you will need the following documents:

  • if you are from the EU or the EEA: a valid passport or identity card
  • in other cases: your visa, residence permit ('Verblijfsvergunning') or work permit ('Tewerkstellingsvergunning').

Formerly known as the Social-Fiscal (SOFI) number

The BSN was formerly known as the Social-Fiscal (SOFI) number. If you had a SOFI number, you do not  need to do anything. Your SOFI number will have been automatically converted into your BSN. The BSN is used by (government) authorities in their correspondence with citizens and in the exchange of personal information between (government) agencies, where legally permitted.

More information

You can check this webpage of the government.