Home Emigrate What do you need to arrange when you emigrate? A roadmap.
What do you need to arrange when you emigrate?

What do you need to arrange when you emigrate? A roadmap.

by Sabine
Published Last updated on
Languages / Talen

Moving or emigrating abroad temporarily: a dream of many. A great way to develop yourself and gain new experiences. But how do you arrange that? When you have made the exciting decision to leave your home country (temporarily), your adventure begins with a tremendous amount of work. To get you started, in this article I’ll tell you what you need to arrange in the Netherlands for your emigration. Most things apply to all countries. Moving abroad? This is how you do it!

When do you have to deregister from the Netherlands or your own country when you move abroad?

One of the most important decisions you have to make is whether or not to deregister yourself from your home country. This has consequences for your health insurance, the tax authorities and other important matters. The rule for deregistration from the Netherlands is: if you are out of the Netherlands for more than eight months in one year (this does not have to be consecutive), you must deregister. You can deregister starting five days before your departure. For more information, I refer you to the central government. Some municipalities deviate from this rule, so check carefully with your own municipality and country what you need to do to deregister. Bring proof of deregistration, as there are countries that require it in order to settle there.

What are the consequences of deregistration from the Netherlands?

  • You just keep your Dutch passport and citizen service number (BSN).
  • After deregistration from the Basic Registration of Persons, you are no longer entitled to: get benefits, rent subsidy, child support and the pension benefit. Among other things.
  • If you stay away from the Netherlands (for retirement) for more than a year, your AOW (benefit/pension) will be cut by 2% per year. Check the goverment website of your country for information. You can get insurance for this for a lot of money.
  • After deregistration, the municipality shares this new information with certain agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and your pension fund.

How do you arrange your pension when you emigrate?

A headache point of many emigrants: your pension. How you arrange this depends on where you will live and what you will do there. Keep in mind that every country has other rules for that. In many countries you hav to live and pay for your pension about 15 or 20 years in order to receive it when it’s the time. For example, you can rebuild your pension in your new country and take your pension from the Netherlands with you. You do, as mentioned above, get your state pension cut every year. In addition, pension accrual is not equally well regulated in all countries.

I myself build up pension in Colombia with my own company. But since I won’t get a state pension soon and you never know what will happen to the pension system in 30 years, I would also like to save for my own retirement. Possibilities for this include investing. I liked the book Blondes Invest Better very interesting to learn about this. A good option for building up assets for retirement is, for example Bright Pension.


What do you need to arrange before emigrating?

Depending on what all you have, such as whether or not you have a house to sell, you will spend at least several months to a year preparing to emigrate. What all do you need to think about?

House and contents

The last few years in the Netherlands I bought a beautiful house that I furnished with furniture completely to my taste. Initially, I wanted to keep the house, but that probably produces mostly stress. So I sold everything. You can read how this all went down here.

Selling your car

If you are going to emigrate, it will often be most convenient to sell your car. You can do this in various ways, such as through a dealer, selling to a family member, through sales sites such as Marketplace or through social media. Selling your car in a reliable, simple and fast way is also possible through ikwilvanmijnautoaf.nl. This online service sells your car to one of the certified dealers within their network. You only need to provide the license plate number, additional information and clear photos. A fine way to sell your car without hassle. Something extra nice during the already hectic period of emigrating.


It worked out just right for me: my contract ended the same day I left for Colombia. So I didn’t have to resign, I just wasn’t looking for a new job. If you do have to resign, it’s bound to be a bit exciting, but necessary to leave your country well behind. By the way, there are plenty of options for living abroad while still working for a boss from your home country. The message is: get it right.

Legalize diplomas when you emigrate

If you plan to look for work in the country you are emigrating to, it is often necessary to be able to show your qualifications. Usually, however, these diplomas are valid only after legalization and with an apostille. Read more about the Apostille Convention and which countries are part of it here. This is only possible for officially registered diplomas (i.e., not courses). In The Netherlands, legalization is done at DUO in Groningen. Follow the steps on the website and in 1 day it is possible to go first to the DUO office for the legalization (€6 per document) and then to the court for the apostille. Shipping is also possible. Once you have arranged this, it is necessary to have your diplomas translated into the desired language. This must be done by an official translator who can stamp. I myself had this done in Colombia.

Keeping your bank account when you emigrate?

You can keep your bank account if you live outside the Netherlands. This will apply for most countries. It is convenient to authorize someone, such as a family member, to also be allowed to manage your bank account. If you then need a new pass, for example, you don’t have to fly back to the Netherlands yourself to do so.

Moving abroad: can you cancel your health insurance?

Canceling your health insurance is not allowed just like that, because as a resident of the Netherlands you are obliged to have basic insurance. Therefore, if you decide not to deregister from the Netherlands, you cannot simply cancel your health insurance. If you do unsubscribe, you will no longer have to pay for health insurance and it is wise to contact your insurance a few months before departure to stop your insurance in time. It does have certain requirements and you have to fill out a whole form for cancellation. Based on that form, your health insurance company will determine whether you can cancel your insurance. Check the insurance rules in your country for information about your specific situation.

Other insurances and subscriptions

Also, don’t forget to discontinue any other insurance policies, such as liability insurance and travel and cancellation (continuous) insurance, that you no longer have any use for. With me, one phone call was enough to stop the insurance in question from the moment of deregistration. Don’t forget to stop your subscriptions, too!

GP/dental/medical records

Before leaving for a foreign country, get yourself deregistered from the family doctor and your dentist. I also requested and received my medical records from the family doctor. Always handy to have. I also did some medical checks before departure. At least the first year in your new country, you don’t have to do that anymore.


Are you a member of the ANWB and have a Visa card there? It is likely that you want to discontinue ANWB, with the result that you are also no longer entitled to that Visa card.

Applying for a new passport

Important thing to do if you still live in the Netherlands: apply for a new passport if your old one is not valid for too long. That is always easier than having to arrange this in your new country. Does your passport expire if you have already emigrated or do you exchange your passport for one from your new country? In my case, I will lose my Dutch passport. Something to avoid. This is not the case for all countries, so check your situation. Just checking!

Documents for in your new country

Be sure to request all documents you might need, for example, for your registration in a new country in a timely manner and possibly have them apostilled. Keep in mind that many documents, such as an Extract from the Basic Register of Persons is often only valid for three months and you must then apply for a new one.

Change of address

You’d be surprised how much mail you still get after emigration. Not in Colombia, because beforehand I changed my address to that of my parents for certain things. Always handy to do when you’re still expecting mail.


What do you arrange with the IRS when you emigrate?

Whether or not you still have to pay taxes depends on whether or not you deregister from your country. Check your situation at your goverments website. If you do opt out, then you no longer have to pay taxes. If you do not deregister and also work in your new country, you must arrange to pay taxes in only one country. If you are then deregistered, send a letter to the Internal Revenue Service to provide an address where you want to receive mail, especially if you live in a country where mail arrives on a limited basis (such as Colombia). It is also helpful to authorize someone to fill out forms or file tax returns, for just in case. It took me a lot of effort to finally get everything right with the IRS.

Since you have to pay taxes somewhere anyway, you have to arrange this very well. If you no longer pay taxes in your country of origin, you will pay taxes in the country where you go to live. To avoid penalties, it is wise to get it all right and fair. In Colombia, for example, foreigners receive fines if they do not declare all the money they have in their country of origin. So in the country you are going to emigrate to, find out carefully how it works and, if necessary, ask an accountant to help you.


Saying goodbye to family and friends and send a moving notice

At the very end, before your departure, it is time for one of the most difficult and important things in the emigration process: saying goodbye. One of the major disadvantages of emigrating. I said goodbye to everyone personally and had a fun outing with each friend. Very worthy. Later it turned out that my parents and brother had organized a complete surprise farewell party where I saw everyone again. I found it very moving and difficult to have to say goodbye to those people who are so close to me. Through the beautiful moments and the farewell party, I do have very fond memories of all these lovely people!


Emigrating: what do you regulate in the country you are moving to?

This varies from country to country, although there are things that should always be taken care of. Think about the visa, learning the language, housing and and job. In this article you will find a complete roadmap for what you need to arrange if you want to live in Colombia.


Have you taken care of everything? Then you are ready to move abroad!

** Certain rules vary by situation. For example, if you keep a house for sale in the Netherlands or still work for a Dutch boss you will have to arrange things differently.

** Update: This article first appeared on September 15, 2016 and has been updated on September 23, 2020, with new and updated information on what you need to arrange in the Netherlands when you emigrate.

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