Expat Essentials

Jackie Harding: Now is the time to make your Brexit Netherlands checklist

(Editor’s note: Terry Boyd also contributed to this post on checking your Brexit Netherlands checklist.)

With Boris Johnson rewriting terms of the Withdrawal Bill after the fact, Brexit and all the shenanigans that go with it has reared its head again making me think I should check my Brexit Netherlands checklist. Have you made yours whatever your European Union address happens to be?

To be sure, what you need to stay in your host country varies, with some countries such as the Netherlands having in place policies only guaranteeing British expats who don’t apply for residency the right to stay through the end of the year. Other countries such as Estonia guarantee Brits the right to stay through 2021.

See the rules for Europe’s expat enters here.

In every scenario deal or no-deal, citizens of the United Kingdom will become third-country nationals on 1 January 2021. And it looks with each passing day that we’ll arrive at 31 December with a no-deal Brexit.

You can see Dispatches’ post here on the Netherlands’ efforts to get everyone sorted.

Brexit Netherlands Check List

• New Residency Document

The Netherlands is more proactive than most.

The IND, or Dutch Immigration Service, has contacted all British residents of the Netherlands via official mail in groups of 1,000 so all 45,000 or so Brits aren ‘t applying at the same time.

All UK nationals who came to live in the Netherlands before 1 August 2020 have now received an invitation to submit an application, according to the IND website.

From the IND letter:

After the transition period, you can only continue to live, work and study in the Netherlands if you have a residence document.

There are two kinds of residence documents.

• Temporary residence document

This document is good for five years and you apply if you have been living in the Netherlands for less than five years consecutively.

• Permanent residence document

This document is valid for 10 years. You can apply if you have been living in the Netherlands for more than five years consecutively.

Once invited to apply for a new residency document online (within four weeks of receiving the letter) you will be given an appointment for biometrics, signature and passport photo.

If you already have an EU residency document this will be free of charge. Within two weeks you will be the relieved owner of permission to continue to reside in the Netherlands.

In-house Dispatches Brexit expert Daniel Hatton-Johnson says he was only required to submit his passport and work permit and it took 15 minutes to complete the form online.

If you have not been contacted then submit your application online to the IND before 31 December. It will take at least three weeks for a ruling.

If you have not received an invitation, or come to live in the Netherlands between 1 August and 31 December 2020, you just need to apply for a residence document online before 31 December 2020. You no longer need an invitation from the IND.

If the Brexit transition period ends before you get a ruling, that’s okay, because the letter states as long as your application is in the processing stage, you get to stay.

You can go to this page on the IND website and get all the information about what you’ll need to apply online including a secure DigiD electronic identification.

You can also call the Brexit line, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at cc 31 88-04-30410.

• Credit cards and bank accounts

One of the immediate Brexit complications is that most of the UK’s largest banks are notifying British clients who live outside Britain that their credit card accounts will go away as early as November. That”s because British banks don’t yet have post-Brexit agreements in place to continue operating in the European Union … and it doesn’t appear that will happen before the end of the transition period.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, has notified customers in the Netherlands their accounts will be closed and they’ll receive a check for their account balance.

Customers who bank with financial institutions that own EU-based subsidiaries will have their accounts transferred. Banks that are not licensed to provide services in the EU will have to start new EU-based operations.

Should 31 December arrive without a deal, then all British-based banks lose what’s termed “passporting” rights to do business in the EU. At which point, new banking regulations will kick-in country-by-country.

This could be a big complication for retirees receiving direct pension deposits because the banks will not be able to handle those transactions. We’ll have more on that later.

• Pensions, taxes, benefits etc

This is a complex subject and you should check the UK government website for more information.


If you have been a Dutch resident for more than four months then you are already paying health insurance. If you are entitled to UK healthcare due to an exportable benefit or pension, or are a frontier worker – an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen – you must apply for an S1 or E106, the forms that certify your benefits situation.

Driving License

If you are still driving on your UK license then now is the time to exchange it for a Dutch one. This can be easily done at your local gemeente. If your license is less than 10 years old, you may use it until it expires.

• Passport

Check to make certain your passport is valid for travel, you need at least six months left in order to travel within the EU. So, if you need to, now is the time to renew your passport.

• Pets

Make sure your pet has an EU Pet Passport before 31 December.

Brexit is complicated and you should double-check that you have everything in order before 31 December. If you are unsure the Dutch IND website and the UK government website (see links above) have clear advice available.


About the author:

Photographer/writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a longtime expat, she’s lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past nine years.

Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.

Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.

She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.

She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.

You can read more of Jackie’s work for Dispatches here.

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