Everything you Need to Know About Moving to Amsterdam

If you are thinking about moving to Amsterdam, you should find out everything about getting your residency and work permits, as well as getting your BSN and health insurance. But before you relocate to the land of tulips, let’s see what you will need to start a new chapter there.

Documentation Necessary for Moving to Amsterdam

If you are considering moving overseas and thinking about the capital of the Netherlands, the first thing you should find out is how to get all the necessary documents. Those who come from non-European Union countries have to apply for a visa, and both residency and work permits.

The good news for US citizens is that United States expats do not need a visa to enter the country. But once they arrive, they have to apply for the residency permit.

Get Your Residency Permit

As a US citizen, once you arrive, you should apply for your residency permit. The cost of your application will depend on the type of employment you are planning to find. However, you should know that the price is around 300 euros (around $325).

Once you have applied for the permit and made your payment, you will receive your license in about 90 days. Keep in mind that all application documents have to be verified and translated into English, German, Dutch, or French.

How to Get Your Work Permit

You shouldn’t have to worry about getting your work permit because your employer should take care of it. So, before you take the offer, think about some of the relocation questions to ask your employer, including the one regarding your work permit.

Documentation Needed to Register in Amsterdam

Everyone who moves here needs to register at the local council. The first day or within five days after you arrive in the country, you must schedule your appointment at the nearby City Office. Do it on time because otherwise, you will have to pay a fine.

To be here legally, you need a proof of address in the Netherlands, and attend the meeting in person. A legal guardian or a parent must accompany children under the age of 16 and bring proof that states their relation. Everyone older than 16 can register on their own.

To be able to register, you will need the following documents:

  • ID card or passport
  • Original birth certificate
  • Proof of real estate purchase or rental contract
  • Marriage or divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • Additional documents, such as employment contracts, may be required as well.

Even if you have lived here before and registered with local authorities, you will have to go through the same process again. It’s necessary to provide proof of ID and a paper stating your place of residence. If you had kids while you were abroad or your marital status has changed, you have to bring the document that proves that as well.

The Importance of Getting a BSN

When you register at the local council, you will be assigned with your citizen service number, officially known as burgerservicenummer (BSN). You’ll need BSN so you can get a job, health insurance, visit a doctor, or open a bank account. Be careful and schedule your appointment on time, because most offices have a long waiting list, so you might have to wait a while to get your number.

If you need a faster way to get your BSN, you can contact the former Expatcenter Amsterdam, now IN Amsterdam. It’s a government-supported service whose purpose is to help high-skilled migrants settle in the capital.

IN Amsterdam charges a fee for its services. Still, they help you to take care of all the immigration elements, including residence and work permits, registration with the authorities, the 30% tax ruling, and other official matters.

Job Opportunities in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

If you have concerns about how to get your BSN or if you still haven’t found employment – don’t worry. You can get your BSN and live legally in the capital without proof of employment. Once you have relocated and received your BSN, you can start looking for employment opportunities.

Some of the Big Names Are Here

Looking for employment should not be a problem considering the number of opportunities, including some of the world’s leading corporations, such as Accenture, booking.com, ING Bank, and Uber. If you’re a highly-skilled professional in the finance or tech industry, your chances of getting a good job are pretty high.

However, your search will take some time, mostly because of the language barrier. Though English is often the default business language, for most positions, you’ll have to speak Dutch or even German.

One of the best ways is by searching through job listing websites. Some of the most resourceful ones are:

What If You Are a Freelancer

The Chamber of Commerce, or KvK (Kamer van Koophandel), should be your first stop if you would like to be a freelancer while living here. Also, if you’re going to set up your own business, you will need proof of your address in the Netherlands.

To visit KvK, you don’t have to schedule an appointment. The only thing you should do is make sure you have proof of address and bring your passport, as well as cash or a card because their service fee is around 50 euros ($55).

Also, you should have a business plan, as well as the estimated amount of earnings for each year. Once you’ve registered your business, and within five days, you will receive a letter from the tax authority to start doing your taxes.

Work-Life Balance

Working here is very appealing to expats, considering how much Dutch people cherish their work-life balance. Though they take their jobs seriously, they are very flexible when it comes to working hours, and they tend to avoid working overtime.

This is especially convenient for families with kids. It’s common for those with families to go to the office only four days a week. For example, many mothers stay at home with their kids on Mondays, while fathers do it on Fridays. That way, both parents have some extra time to be with their kids.

Housing Options

As we have mentioned, to get a BSN, you should have an address. Those who are planning a short-term stay in the capital of the Netherlands should consider renting an apartment as the best option.

Living in a Rented Apartment Is a Good but Expensive Option

According to Numbeo, if you would like to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the center, the monthly rent is around $1,740 and $1,350 outside of it. On the other hand, for a three-bedroom apartment in the center, you should have around $3,000 per month and $2,200 outside of it.

Make sure that, when choosing a place to live, it’s possible to register at that address. Don’t forget to talk to your prospective landlord about that. When you’re registered, you can get your BSN and legally pay taxes.

When Moving to the Capital of the Netherlands, Consider Using the Help of a Real Estate Agent

When moving internationally, finding a place to live can be tough. That is why you should consider hiring a real estate agency that can help you find a suitable home.

Keep in mind that most agencies charge a non-refundable fee for their services, which is usually one month’s rent. Also, most agencies request at least two or three months’ rent as a deposit or an employment contract.

What If You Want to Purchase an Apartment

If you’re planning to live here for longer than five years, and you are considering purchasing a place, becoming a homeowner comes with some monetary benefits. If your primary residence is here, your mortgage interest payments will be subject to tax deductions, as will notary costs.

When Living in Amsterdam, Purchase a Bike or Get an OV Card

Did you know that this city is often called the bike capital of the world? Bikes are a symbol of the Netherlands. You can go biking anywhere in the city, and cyclists are given even more priority than pedestrians.

Biking is faster than any other alternative if you live and move around within the city. However, bike theft is common here, so make sure to purchase a good lock. Also, when it comes to buying a bike, you can find a second-hand bike for around 40 euros ($44). You can search a couple of Facebook groups, such as Buy and Sell Amsterdam, and find the best option.

Public Transportation

If you want to use public transportation, don’t forget to get the public transport chip card (OV-chipkaart), which you can use to travel on buses, trams, metros, and trains. Keep in mind that using an OV card is much cheaper than buying a new single-use ticket every time you commute.

Types of OV Cards

A personal OV card is probably the most convenient option if you are planning to use public transportation often, and it is easy to get a monthly pass or a season ticket. Once you get the ticket, you can reload the credit on it, check your travel details, and block it online in case of loss. A personalized OV card is valid for five years, and it will cost you 7.5 euros ($8.20).

However, if you don’t plan to commute that much by public transportation, you can consider buying a non-personalized card. These cards are available at supermarkets, newsstands, and GVB ticket vending machines.

Health Insurance

Once you move to the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to take out the standard health insurance. The standard package includes visits to GPs, dental care until the age of 18, some medications, medical aids, nutritional/dietary care, mental health services, and much more.

Keep in mind that the package does not cover specific cosmetic surgery procedures, aspirin purchased over the counter, and things like root canal treatment at the dentist, for which no supplemental insurance has been chosen.

Even those who are already EU citizens have to register for a new health insurance plan here. If you don’t do so, you risk getting caught and billed for the months you were not insured.

A Country of Friendly People – You Are Sure to Like It Here

Living here allows you to travel around Western Europe without any trouble. Various train and bus connections can quickly take you to Hamburg, Brussels, or Paris. Also, the third-largest airport in Europe is located here; therefore, far-away destinations are easily accessible.

Your life here could also be filled with a lot of fun activities because the city has unique museums and historical sites, as well as art exhibitions and plenty of concerts. You will also find a lot of restaurants and cafes and be impressed with the city’s nightlife thanks to various bars and nightclubs.

Dutch People Are Very Open to Newcomers

Dutch people are famous for being cosmopolitan; there is almost no discrimination here. It is easy to find a community here, and you don’t have to think about learning a language abroad because almost everyone speaks English at a relatively high level. Even though to find a job, you will most probably have to learn Dutch, you don’t have to know it in order to make friends after moving.

The Netherlands is pretty amazing, don’t you think? If you had second thoughts about relocating to Venice of the North, we hope that we have helped you decide. Besides thinking about all the things you should do once you relocate, first make sure to organize the relocation right. There is no better way than by finding professional movers that provide international moving and packing services and make your move as easy as possible.