Set up a bank account in the Netherlands

Foreign students only need a Dutch bank account if they do not have a SEPA bank account in another EU country.


SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area and includes all countries within the EU, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino.

If you do not yet have a SEPA bank account in an EU country, we recommend that you open an account as soon as possible after your arrival in the Netherlands to facilitate cash withdrawals, debit payments, the refund of any visa deposit and/or (international) transactions. Tuition fees can be paid in instalments from a Dutch bank account.

Please note First-year students with a visa/residence permit for study cannot pay by digital authorisation or in instalments. They have to transfer the full tuition fee in one go before the start of the study.

In general, Dutch banks require a BSN (social security number, issued upon registration with your local municipality) to open an account. Each bank may have additional requirements, such as having an address or proof of university enrolment.


The municipal registration and issue of the BSN can take some time, depending on the time of year and the city where you live. Between August and December, it can take between four and six weeks to register with the municipality.

Online banks

An online bank can serve as an alternative, as they do not always require a BSN to open an account.

Please note that if you are under 18 it can be difficult to open a bank account without parental permission. Check with the bank what their requirements are in this situation.