Practicalities when leaving the Netherlands
If you decide to leave the Netherlands, there is more to it than just ending your work, rental or mobile contract and booking the next flight out of Schiphol Airport. There are a few practicalities that need to be dealt with first, and preferably a few weeks in advance too.
1. End your work contract
First things first, if you have decided to leave the country you are probably leaving your job behind too, unless you are being sent to another country by your current company. If you want to leave your job, you are obliged to give notice.
Notice periods may differ per company. The notice period when resigning from a job in the Netherlands is usually around one month, although it may be more depending on your employer and what is stated in your contract. So, be sure to check your contract so that you can hand in your notice early enough to avoid delays in your transition to your new destination.
2. Sort out your utilities
You should inform your energy (gas and electric) and water providers about the termination of their services from a specific date at least two weeks in advance by email or telephone - but really, the sooner you do it the better. Once you have done this, you will receive a form which you will need to fill in. This could be a digital or paper form.
After this has been processed, you will be informed of the amount payable or to be reimbursed via an account statement. If you are renting a property, it is best to check with the landlord whether you have to cancel the energy and services for the property yourself or whether the landlord will do this for you once you have left.
3. Cancel your TV / Internet subscription
Before you leave, you will of course need to cancel your TV and / or internet subscription. To do so, you will need to contact your provider and inform them of the dates you wish your service to stop. Try to do this well in advance, as usually contracts have a 30-day notice period.
The process, after informing your provider of the cancellation of their services, differs depending on the type of contract you have. In any case, you should receive a letter of confirmation detailing the date that your subscription will be cancelled.
4. Cancel your mobile or landline contract
Another thing you will need to cancel is your contract for your mobile and / or landline. For your landline, you have to inform your provider at least one month in advance. Check your contract for the cancellation terms, and give them the date that you wish to discontinue their service.
Your mobile contract is slightly different depending on the kind you have. A SIM-only monthly contract will be much easier to cancel than, say, a two-year contract with a device included. In the second case, you should inform your provider at least three months in advance of your cancellation.
Cancelling shouldn’t be a problem if you are nearing the end of your contract. However, if you have more than three months until your contract ends, it is likely that you will be asked to pay charges for the remaining months. Some providers may allow you to cancel your contract online.
5. Terminate your rental contract
If you rent your house, you’ll need to terminate your rental contract if you want to leave the country. Usually, you have to inform the landlord about the termination of your rental agreement one calendar month in advance. However, your contract may say otherwise.
This is where you will need to read the terms and conditions stated in the contract you signed. You will need to terminate the contract as stated - in most cases, this will need to be done by means of a written letter.
In some situations, you may have agreed to a certain rental period and want to terminate this prematurely. In such a case you may have to pay a penalty. Other contracts may require you to live in the rented accommodation for a certain period of time, a year for example, before you can hand in your notice before the end of the contract.
After cancelling your rental agreement, you can expect an inspection of the property at least two weeks before you vacate. This is important as the state of the place when you moved in will be compared to its current state, which can affect how much of your rental security deposit you get back.
A landlord can deduct costs for maintenance and repairs not covered by the rent from your deposit. So make sure your place is as it was when you got there. You may also be asked to re-paint or return it back to its original state, if you have decorated during your stay.
5. Sell or rent your house
If you have purchased a house during your stay, you will need to consider what you want to do with it: sell or rent it out. If you decide to sell your house, it is advisable to get a real estate agent and consider how long the process will take you. If you still have a Dutch mortgage for your property once you have sold it, you should look into whether it is a good idea to pay it off early or if this means you will incur a fine.
If you decide to rent out your property, you will need to first check whether you are allowed to do so after you are no longer a resident of the Netherlands, find suitable tenants and, again, check what options are available to you concerning your mortgage. Your mortgage advisor can help you decide how best to move forward.
6. Decide what to do with your Dutch bank account
If you wish, you can close your Dutch bank account and have your balance transferred to another account. However, you may wish to keep your account open for a period of time, or, if your bank operates internationally, manage your account from your local branch.
You may also be able to keep your Dutch bank account open for a period of time after you have left the country. If this is something that interests you, make sure you speak to your bank and inform them of your change of address. If you choose to keep your account open, certain restrictions may be put on your current account and credit cards.
If you have an insurance policy with your bank, check whether you still need it or want it when you move away; otherwise, cancel it on time.
7. Forward your post to your new address
Make sure you notify everyone who you communicate with via post of your change of address. It is likely that you will probably forget a few. In this case, you can apply to have your post forwarded by PostNL. You can apply online, however, please be aware that the form is in Dutch.
8. Cancel your benefits and insurances
One thing you may not have considered are the benefits and insurances you may have. You will need to cancel any benefits you may receive which are no longer valid, such as health insurance allowance. Many benefits can be cancelled online. Make sure you do this on time to avoid having to pay certain benefits back.
You should also cancel insurances that are no longer needed. Before you cancel all of them, be sure to check whether some are still handy to have, such as house insurance if you are renting out your house etc.
9. Inform the Dutch tax authorities
Something you definitely won't want to have to deal with in amongst all your moving stress is an unexpected bill from the Dutch tax office (Belastingdienst). In order to avoid this unpleasant surprise, make sure to head on over to the Belastingdient website and adjust what they call your provisional assessment (voorlopige aanslag). If you pay or receive any money via the provisional assessment, it's important to let the tax office know you're leaving the country so they can adjust the amount you pay / receive accordingly.
Similarly, if you're leaving the Netherlands but will continue to receive a Dutch income (or if you'll be receiving a salary from companies in two different countries) you need to let the tax office know and make sure you know where to file your next tax return.
10. Deregister from the municipality
One last thing you need to do is deregister from your municipality. When you arrived, you will have registered at the municipality in your Dutch city or town of residence and received a citizen service number (BSN).
It is important to deregister for tax and national insurance purposes, otherwise, as the municipality does not know that you have left, you may be charged these even though you have left the country. When you deregister, the municipality will inform all other government institutions.
To deregister, you will need to notify your municipality of your intention to leave the country for more than eight months. The process of deregistration differs per municipality, but for most of them you will need to report your move out of the country five days before departure.
For some municipalities, you may be able to deregister online using your DigiD, while at others you may have to make an appointment and show up in person with valid identification, such as a passport. It is also possible to deregister via means of a written letter; the details you need to include may differ per municipality.
If you have a family and you are all leaving, it is possible for one adult to deregister the whole family in person or in writing. However, if one or more family members are staying at the address you are deregistering from, then everyone who is deregistering needs to appear in person at the municipality.
When you deregister, it is a good idea to ask for Extract 60 (Uittreksel 60). This document is written proof of your deregistration and may be necessary if you need to show utility companies or others evidence of your move. If you have already left but forgot to deregister from your municipality, get in touch with them as soon as possible.
If you have a residence permit, you will need to return this when you leave, either at the airport, or to the IND via post. It is advisable to keep a photocopy of both the front and back of your residence permit for future reference.
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