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About IWCN

IWCN Services

The International Welcome Center North (IWCN) is a one-stop shop for international people living in, and companies located 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).

We also provide information to companies and organizations about formalities and practical matters concerning their international employees.

All of this happens at one location, and we are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs.

Government formalities

Certain employees (including Highly-skilled migrants, Scientific Researchers, Intra-Corporate Transferees, Orientation year, Start-up, EU Blue card, EU employees and their family members) from all three Northern provinces may use the International Welcome Center North to swiftly arrange government formalities , provided that they fulfill the requirments.

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 (see list of permit holders in the previous paragraph) and their families no longer need to register separately with the Municipality and the Immigration Service (IND), but can obtain their residence permits and register for their citizen service numbers (BSN) in one meeting at the International Welcome Center North in Groningen if they fulfill the requirements for this service.

For IND services at the IWCN, the employer must be registered as a “recognized sponsor” with the IND.  A list of recognized sponsors can be found here.

If they live or work in Groningen, they will obtain a BSN during their appointment at the IWCN. If they live or work in one of the associated municipalities other than Groningen, they will receive their BSN within three business days by post at their registration address.

This accelerated procedure is a significant time savings compared to the ususal time of 2-4 weeks. Please be aware that we do assess a fee for this service.

Appointments must be made in advance and are held at the following times:

Tuesdays:
10:00-12:00, IND only
13:00 – 16:00, IND + Municipality

Wednesdays (only during busy periods):
13:00 – 16:00, Municipality only

Thursdays:
13:00 – 16:00, IND (only during busy periods)
13:00 – 16:00, 
Municipality 

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 live in – or work for a company located in – one of the associated municipalities (currently Groningen, Assen, Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, Smallingerland (Drachten), Ten Boer, Midden-Groningen (formerly Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Slochteren and Menterwolde), Eemsmond, Emmen, Veendam, Delfzijl, and Noordenveld), then they can also use the accelerated procedure to register. If they live or work in Groningen, they will obtain a BSN during their appointment at the IWCN. If they live or work in one of the associated municipalities other than Groningen, they will receive their BSN within three postal business by post at their registration address.

This accelerated procedure is a significant time savings compared to the ususal time of 2-4 weeks. Please be aware that we do assess a fee for this service.

Appointments must be made in advance and are held at the following times:

Tuesdays, some Wednesdays, Thursdays:
13:00 – 16:00, Municipality

Information and social needs for internationals

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?

Information for companies on formalities and practical matters

We provide general information to the employer of internationals concerning HR and employment issues, 30% tax rulings, residence/work permits, housing, labor regulations, etc, and give referrals to our reliable serivce partners for in-depth assistance. Companies and organizations can contact the IWCN by telephone, email or in person during our regular business hours.

We also organize HR Expert Breakfast Sessions, featuring different topics given by the expert Service Provider, and give general presentations on the various topics.

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, Midden-Groningen (formerly Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Slochteren and Menterwolde), Eemsmond, Emmen, Veendam, Delfzijl, and Noordenveld.