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About IWCN

IWCN Services

The International Welcome Center North (IWCN) is a one-stop shop for international people living in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. We offer services in three areas:  government formalities (residence permits and municipal registration); information (practical information and referrals to reliable service providers); and social activities (a chance to start building a social and/or business network during activities and events). All of this happens at one location, and we are open five days per week from 10:00 to 17:00.

Government formalities

All highly skilled migrants from all three Northern provinces may use the International Welcome Center North to swiftly arrange government formalities, provided that they live in – or work for a company located in – one of the associated municipalities (currently Groningen, Assen, Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, Smallingerland (Drachten), Ten Boer, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Eemsmond, Emmen, Veendam, and Noordenveld) and that their employer is registered as a “recognized sponsor” with the IND.  A list of recognized sponsors can be found here.

The employees can then finish payroll registration at their companies, open a bank account, sign up for health insurance, register for mobile phone subscriptions etc., much sooner than previously possible, saving time and reducing frustration.

Formalities for Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Non-EU/EEA highly skilled employees and their families no longer need to register separately with the Municipality and the Immigration Service (IND), but can obtain their residence permits and citizen service numbers (BSN) in one meeting at the International Welcome Center North in Groningen. This is a significant improvement on the 1-6 week time frame it usually takes to register.

Appointments must be made in advance and are held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from 13:00 – 16:00 hrs.

Formalities for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland do not need a residence permit to stay in the Netherlands if their stay is based on the EC Treaty, but they are still required to register with their local Municipality. If EU/EEA or Swiss citizens work for a recognized sponsor and live in one of the associated Municipalities, then they can also use the accelerated procedure to register and obtain a BSN at the International Welcome Center North.

Appointments must be made in advance and are held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, from 13:00 – 16:00 hrs.

Information and social needs

All international residents of the three Northern provinces, whether EU/EEA or non-EU/EEA, are welcome to use the information services and join in on the social activities and events of the International Welcome Center North.

Do you have a question on how to import your car or pet, for example, or other practical matters? Or do you want to know where you can obtain various professional services in English or other languages? Just ask the knowledgeable and friendly IWCN staff.

Are you ready to start building your social network in the Northern Netherlands? Then come and join an event or activity to make the first connections.

Do you want to learn about Dutch culture and customs, or find out about the Dutch labor market? Why not attend the IWCN workshops?

Summary

With streamlined formality procedures combined with an information and service location, the International Welcome Center North aims to better serve the working and living needs of the international community in the Northern Netherlands.

The International Welcome Center North is a cooperation between the Gemeente Groningen, Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), University of Groningen, and Stichting Connect International.

Our supporters are the Provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, Philips, Gasunie, Gasterra, UMCG, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Noorderlink, International School Groningen, Groningseschool Vereniging, and the municipalities Groningen, Assen, Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, Smallingerland (Drachten), Ten Boer, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Eemsmond, Emmen, Veendam, and Noordenveld.