powered by Holland at Home
If you are an expat living in the Netherlands and intend to stay for a considerable length of time, you might need to consider swapping your foreign driving licence for a Dutch one and perhaps even find out how to go about renewing your passport.
Below you’ll find some helpful information pertaining to two of the most common practical issues for foreigners living in Holland.
1) Renewing your passport in the Netherlands
Foreign embassies in the Netherlands offer a wide range of services, which vary considerably per country. Most are located either in Amsterdam or The Hague and provide consular assistance in times of crisis – for example if there’s a national disaster, you become a victim of crime, or a family member suddenly goes missing or passes away. Many also offer legal assistance such as formalising your Dutch marriage in your home country or by giving specialist advice on financial matters including your state pension or national insurance contributions. However, as there are often costs associated with some of these services, it’s usually prudent to exhaust all other avenues first before contacting them.
Your foreign embassy is also the first port of call when your passport is due for renewal or has been lost or stolen and therefore needs replacing. Again every country has its own process for the renewal / replacement of passports abroad. The British Consulate in Amsterdam for example, no longer issues standard passports and instead British citizens in the Netherlands must apply for their new passport at a Regional Passport Processing Centre in Paris.
Always check your country’s foreign embassy website for the correct procedure and their full contact details.
2) Renewing your driving licence in the Netherlands
If you plan to drive a car in the Netherlands, then you should be aware of the rules concerning driving licences. International residents in the Netherlands can continue to use their existing driving licence for a fixed period of time. For EU citizens this is 10 years from the original issue date of your current licence. If you are from outside of the EU, then your foreign licence will only be valid for six months from date of registration with a local Dutch municipality.
You can swap a valid foreign driving licence for a Dutch driving licence (rijbewijs) if you meet certain conditions, e.g. you must currently reside in the Netherlands and be officially registered with your local municipality, or be a EU, EEA or Swiss citizen (or from one of the countries for which the 30% tax ruling applies) etc. To arrange this, you need to submit an application to your local district council office (stadsdeelkantoor) along with a colour passport, your foreign driving licence and your residence permit. It’s important to note that you are not allowed to drive in the Netherlands, whilst your application is still in progress. If you don’t meet all of the mandatory criteria, then you must sit a theoretical and a practical driving test at the Central Office for Motor Vehicle Driver Testing (CBR).
For more information about exchanging your foreign driving licence for a Dutch rijbewijs, contact the Government Road Transport Agency (RDW) or the CBR.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit to our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?