Sep 09 2021

Expatcenter and Immigration Office Appointment Backlog

Netherlands

At a Glance

  • Government immigration offices across the Netherlands are experiencing high demand and backlog, leading to delays for most in-country registration appointments. This significantly impacts non-visa nationals, who require a passport sticker to start work in the Netherlands.
  • Critically, the Amsterdam Expatcenter currently has a two-month appointment wait time, causing delays in work start dates for visa-exempt nationals in the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
  • Because the sticker is required to obtain a Social Fiscal Number (BSN) and health insurance, affected foreign nationals will also experience delays in these in-country processes.
  • Fragomen expects the delays to improve after October.

The situation

There are appointment delays at critical registration and immigration offices in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam Expatcenter is experiencing a two-month appointment wait time (rather than the typical one to two week wait time), causing delays in work start dates for visa-exempt nationals.

Impact

  • Longer lead time. The long appointment wait time is delaying start dates for affected employees, since a passport sticker issued at that appointment is required to start work. Fragomen therefore recommends that employers take into account a longer lead time to start dates in the Netherlands as a result of these delays.
  • In-country processes affected. Additionally, because the sticker is required to obtain a Social Fiscal Number (BSN) and health insurance, affected foreign nationals will also experience delays in these in-country processes.
  • Alternatives. Affected foreign nationals can travel to other immigration offices to collect their sticker, but this requires a separate request to the Immigration Authority and (currently) a 7-30 calendar day wait for an appointment, depending on the office. 

Background

Immigration processing and registration appointments in the Netherlands are typically efficient, with little to no wait time. However, COVID-19 has impacted government agency resources, creating a backlog during the increase in travel to the country that occurred from June to August. 

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the delays to improve in October, after the end of the summer travel rush. Fragomen’s Government Strategies team in the Netherlands is petitioning for practical solutions in the interim, to allow visa-free nationals to work after their permit is approved but before the sticker is issued.

Fragomen will report on related developments.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].