Compulsory identification

Police officers and other officials such as ticket inspectors and labour inspectors may ask to see proof of identity. As may care providers and employers.

Compulsory identification on the street

On the street, only certain officials may ask to see proof of identity. They are:

  • police officers;
  • ticket inspectors on public transport;
  • special enforcement officers (BOAs) like labour inspectors and forest wardens.

These officials may not ask to see proof of identity without giving a reason. Situations in which they may do so include:

  • traffic management (for instance, if a cyclist rides through a red light);
  • the maintenance of public order (when people’s safety is at stake);
  • the investigation of criminal offences.

If you are unable or unwilling to identify yourself in such situations, you will be liable to prosecution. You risk being taken to a police station, to establish your identity. You may also have to pay a fine.

Fines for failure to show proof of identity

For persons aged 16 or over who fail to comply with the requirement to identify themselves, the fine is €100. For persons aged 14 and 15, the fine is €50.

No objection possible

If you receive a fine from the police for failing to show proof of identity, you are not entitled to file an objection. The Central Fine Collection Agency (CJIB) will send you a giro collection slip which you can use to pay the fine. If you fail to pay, the public prosecutor will decide whether to prosecute you. You can be prosecuted within two years of the date of the offence.

Identification at a new job

When starting a new job, you are obliged to show your employer a valid, original identity document. Your employer must make a copy of the document.

Dutch or European driving licences are not considered as valid proof of identity for people starting a new job. This is because they do not specify nationality or include any information with regard to residency status.

In other situations, for example at the place of work (except in the situation described above), a driving licence is accepted as proof of identity.

Identity documents

The following are valid identity documents in the Netherlands:

  • a Dutch passport or a passport or identity card of a country belonging to the EU or the EEA. Passports of all other countries must contain a valid residence sticker;
  • a Dutch identity card;
  • a refugee travel document issued by the Dutch authorities;
  • an alien’s travel document issued by the Dutch authorities;
  • a residence permit or leave to remain card (W-document);
  • a driving licence (in some cases).