DIGI-D for cross-border workers

DIGI-D for cross-border workers

ITEM has brought the DIGI-D-case before the Dutch Administrative Court.

A digital identity or 'DigiD' is a necessity when working or living in the Netherlands. With the DigiD, an individual can easily communicate  with a range of Dutch governmental institutions as well receive (digital) services. For instance, the DigiD allows one to make an online application for child benefits as well as appointments at a municipality. In addition, it provides access to many information resources, such as an overview of one's pension entitlements at the click of a button.

However, in order to apply for a DigiD one needs to fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • Reside in the Netherlands, or
  • Have the Dutch nationality

This means that people who work in the Netherlands but live outside the Netherlands, such as frontier workers, have no access to this service, making information requests more difficult and applications for certain public services more extensive. This seems an unnecessary obstacle for such cross-border workers and such exclusion amounts to discrimination on grounds of nationality.

After all, should a Dutch national live in Belgium but work in the Netherlands, he or she would have the possibility to request a DigiD. A Belgian national in exactly the same situation is not so fortunate.

ITEM asked the Dutch Ministry of Internal Affairs whether it would be possible for non-resident Union citizens who have significant ties to the Netherlands to get a DigiD. The Ministry has, however, refused this on the grounds that it would be difficult to verify the current and actual address of the applicant: after application, the DigiD registration codes are sent by post. If the person requesting the code lives outside the Netherlands and the address is uncertain, there is a risk for (identity) fraud if the code were to fall in the wrong hands.

ITEM is, however, of the view that this issue could be easily resolved by sending DigiD registration codes to municipalities located in border regions, which could then be collected by the person having requested the code on production of a valid passport or identity card. That such a construction is possible is proven by the fact that Dutch nationals can collect their codes at a Dutch embassy or Dutch border muncipalities while residing abroad. 

Since repeated contacts between ITEM and the Ministry (letters, meetings, Eurolab) have yielded no positive result, ITEM has now brought the case before the Dutch Administrative Court.