Council of Ministers decides Caribbean students will receive BSN before arriving in the Netherlands

The Council of Ministers has agreed to amend the Basic Registration of Persons (BRP) decree to allow Caribbean students to immediately receive a Citizen Service Number – known by the Dutch acronym, BSN-  when they apply for student loans through DUO, the Dutch study financing system. However, the students will have to be temporarily registered as non-residents under the BRP.

State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalization Alexandra van Huffelen announced  the decision, along with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The amendment of the BRP is in keeping with a Cabinet decision to give students from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten a BSN before they arrive in the Netherlands. The decision will be submitted to the Council of State for advice.

With a Citizen Service Number, students can finalise all arrangements with the government and other agencies that require a BSN online – such as applications for a DigiD, surcharges, or appointments with the municipality for registration in the BRP – and will be better prepared before leaving home and will not be inconvenienced when they get to the Netherlands. The decision is a first step. A period of adjustments to the DUO systems will be needed after the change takes effect.

The change applies to all Caribbean students who are entitled to financing, are preparing to study in the Netherlands, but do not yet live there. An important condition is that they have the Dutch nationality or equivalent. Caribbean students at secondary vocational education level – known by the Dutch acronym MBO - who are not yet 18 will also receive the BSN before they arrive in the Netherlands. The travel entitlement known as the student travel product, which they receive, is also considered study financing.

Despite the change, Caribbean students must still register in the BRP of the Dutch municipality where they plan to live, after they arrive in the Netherlands. The regulations apply to anyone who staying in the Netherlands for more than four months. The BSN will remain the same.

Caribbean students who plan to begin studying in the Netherlands in August or September of this year will not benefit from the change because it will not be implemented by then. These students will receive a BSN after they register in the BRP of the Dutch municipality where they will live. The Central Government will make every effort to remove bottlenecks in individual cases that lead to delays in the registration in the BRP for the Caribbean students.