Updating your identification details in the Dutch civil registry: are you taking a risk?
Everaert Advocaten is a respected leader in Dutch migration law. Based in Amsterdam, its multilingual team advises expats on residency and migration-related legal issues.
All expats wanting to reside in the Netherlands for more than three months have to register themselves at the municipality. This civil registry, which includes your full name, date and place of birth, is called the "Basisregistratie Personen", or "BRP" in the Netherlands.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) uses the information from this register to process your residence card. Registration is based on identifying documents such as your passport and birth certificate. Some people who are unable to provide any identifying documents may declare their personal data under oath.
This article deals with situations in which the BRP registration is not correct. What are the consequences of registering inaccurate personal details, how can these be corrected and, most importantly, could it affect one's residency status?
Inaccurate BRP registration details
A large group of people whose BRP registration is inaccurate may have received a residence permit based on an amnesty given by the Dutch government in 2007. At the time, many people who had already applied for asylum years earlier were still waiting to hear back about their asylum claim when they were given the pardon.
During that time, it was already clear that many people who received a residence card with the wrong personal data on it, had been registered at the municipality based on a declaration under oath. Some people were given the opportunity to come forward with their real identity, yet many did not take up this offer, and some were not even given the chance.
Another reason for an inaccurate BRP registration could be that your personal data officially changed in your country of origin after you registered at the municipality with your old documents.
Consequences of inaccurate registration
A consequence of registering with inaccurate data is that it becomes difficult to travel back and forth to your home country. Being registered with the correct data in your country of origin, but with different data in the Netherlands, creates problems when travelling, and especially when returning to the Netherlands.
Another problem arises if you want to apply for Dutch citizenship when your identifying documents don’t match the identity you have registered with in the Netherlands. One or both of these issues often lead to people wanting to correct their registration.
Procedure of updating your registration
If you wish to change your personal data, you need to turn to the municipality where you reside with the original, properly legalised and translated, identifying documents that show your correct personal details.
Most importantly, you need to show the municipality that you are, in fact, the person mentioned in these documents, since you are registered under a different identity.
Therefore, if your personal data has changed in your country of origin, you need to provide proof of this change. This can be a court ruling or a decision or declaration by another state authority.
In cases where you were registered following a declaration under oath, you have to prove that the declaration you made originally was false and that the documents you are now providing are indeed yours. This can be very difficult and can go as far as requiring a DNA-sample along with that of your relatives as well as a photo comparison between the old identifying documents and the current ones.
With DNA evidence, you have to show that you are related to the people mentioned in the identifying documents (usually your parents). With a photo comparison, you have to show that the identifying documents issued to you in your country of origin before your initial registration, belong to you in addition to the newly provided documents.
Possible consequences for your residency
Before changing your registered data, it is important to consider the following. The IND will be informed about the correction, either by the municipality or by you when you apply for a new residence card to match the changed data.
In some cases, this can give rise to the IND revoking your residency for reasons of giving false information or hiding relevant information when applying for your previous and current residence permit(s).
To those of you who received your permit based on the amnesty of 2007, more lenient rules apply. If you weren’t given the opportunity to come forward with your real identity after receiving the original permit, your current permit will not be withdrawn. If you didn’t make use of the opportunity to update your details, and you now live with your young children, your permit will not be withdrawn either.