Emigrating: what should you consider?

You cannot simply decide to emigrate overnight. Thorough preparation is needed, because quite a bit has to be arranged. Below is an overview of the matters that need to be arranged. If you have your own home, mortgage, children, etc., this list will of course become longer.

  • Deregister from the municipality
  • Bank account
  • Credit
  • Health insurance
  • tax authorities
  • Vaccinations
  • Subscriptions
  • Drivers license
  • Documents


Deregister from the municipality

Every resident of the Netherlands is registered with the Municipal Personal Records Database (GBA). If you go abroad for more than eight months, you must deregister. This can be done by a visit to the town hall or via an emigration or housing abroad form. If you do not yet know how long you will be away, you can choose to deregister upon departure or only after a number of months have passed. The advantage of the latter is that you do not have to go through a whole lot of paperwork again if you decide to go back. The disadvantage is that you are bound to all Dutch insurance policies, including expensive health insurance. You cannot unsubscribe retroactively, so you will lose that money if you decide to stay. Furthermore, in that case you have to arrange a lot from abroad and that is inconvenient.

You must provide a new address on the form and this will be stored centrally. Send a copy of your passport. You will automatically receive a message when you have been unsubscribed. You will need this proof of deregistration in some countries to register there. If you want to register in the Netherlands again, you only have to report to the town hall of the municipality where you will live, because as a Dutch citizen your data will be retained.

Bank account

You can keep your Dutch bank account if you can link a Dutch address to it. Keep in mind that you have to handle some banking matters personally and that it is therefore better to authorize a reliable person (family member or good friend). This person can, for example, sign for your bank cards if new ones need to be sent after loss or theft. This person can also represent your interests in the event of fraud or creditors. This prevents you from having to go home for your financial matters. Ask your bank what the costs are on their side for receiving money via a European or non-European bank transfer.


According to Dutch law, it is not permitted to receive credit in the Netherlands if you do not live there. This means that you cannot overdraw your account and that you are not allowed to have a Dutch credit card. All your debts (except student debt) and outstanding bills must be paid. Your student debt does not expire if you emigrate, because DUO simply counts your foreign income. Depending on when you start your studies, you have a maximum of 15 or 30 years to pay off your debt. If your income abroad is too low to repay, every month with such a low income counts as part of those years. So suppose you earn too little for repayment for two years, then you still have 13 or 28 years of repayment time available. Moving abroad to get out of your student debt is therefore made difficult.

Health insurance

If you start working outside Europe, your right to basic insurance expires. The municipality will inform your health insurer that you have been deregistered, after which they will cancel the insurance. If this takes a while, call the insurer to check whether everything went through correctly. Make sure that there are no uninsured periods between arrival and departure. Remember that regular travel insurance from the Netherlands assumes that you have basic insurance and does not insure departure for work or internship. When working within the EU or for a Dutch employer abroad, different rules apply that you must research carefully.

tax authorities

If you receive rent or healthcare allowance, you must stop it yourself. This can be done with the tax programs online for previous years or with a telephone call to the Tax Line. The tax authorities will send assessments to your foreign address, unless you provide them with a Dutch correspondence address. If you leave the Netherlands you will no longer accrue a pension, so it may be useful to look at additional insurance for AOW, ANW, WAO, WW and ZW.


Depending on the area you are going to, you will need certain vaccinations. Go to the GGD at a time when you are still covered by health insurance, because then it will usually be reimbursed.


Cancel subscriptions to magazines, newspapers and magazines in time. Don’t forget to cancel any continuous travel insurance, because it is often not valid for long holiday periods. Unless you want to keep a Dutch telephone, it is best to ask the provider to convert your subscription to pre-paid. You will then keep your SIM card and number so you can make calls during visits. It is also best to cancel memberships of associations, foundations or lotteries. If you regularly give money to charity, consider whether you want to continue doing so. An international transfer to your Dutch account can be expensive, so you don’t want to do that too often.

Drivers license

Your Dutch driving license is valid within the EU/EEA. A Dutch driving license is not valid outside Europe. If you want or need to drive in a non-European country, obtain an international driving license from the municipality. To drive legally you must have both proofs with you. In some countries (such as China) the international driving license is also not valid and you would therefore have to take a local exam. Even if you are not going to drive, it can be useful to take your driver’s license with you. You can provide it as collateral instead of a passport, for example when renting a moped, etc. In other circumstances you cannot use the driver’s license, so you can consider leaving it at home, provided you can store it safely.

If you lose your driving license within the EU/EEA or it expires, you must apply for a driving license in the country in question. You can request a declaration of authenticity via the National Road Transport Agency (RDW). If you live outside the EU and you have lost your driving license or it has expired, you can apply for a new one via the RDW. The form can be downloaded from the website. Please remember that the passport photo must meet Dutch requirements!


You will probably also need a visa before departure. If you can already arrange a work visa in the Netherlands, that is nice. In some countries you can enter on a tourist visa, after which you take a trip to the border to exchange it for a work visa and residence permit. The institution should arrange all this for you. But you also have to go to the embassy or consulate of the country for a tourist visa, usually in The Hague. You can find visa services online that will take care of the work for you for a fee.

Make sure you leave copies of important documents such as passport, visa and diplomas in the Netherlands. It is also extremely useful if the box with important mail is not in a warehouse, but with a reliable person, so that they can look up data for you if necessary.

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