Depending on your nationality you must undergo a test or treatment for tuberculosis if you wish to obtain a residence permit. When you apply for the residence permit, you have to sign a declaration in which you state that you will undergo this test within 3 months after arrival in the Netherlands. The Dutch Municipal Health Service (GGD) will then give a declaration so the permit can be issued. This is only done when you are applying for a residence permit for the first time.
This obligation to undergo a tuberculosis test does not apply to individuals who are nationals from countries mentioned on this list.
You will also be exempt from the requirement to submit a tuberculosis declaration if you hold an EU residence permit for long-term residents issued by another EU Member State or if you are a family member of someone who holds this document and you have already been admitted to another EU Member State as the family member of the long-term resident.
Periodical Tuberculosis Examination
Tuberculosis is a very serious and widespread disease. This is why you have to be examined for TB when you arrive in the Netherlands. This first examination is compulsory. TB is a disease that develops slowly. So after the first examination you may be asked back for more examinations. It is very important to go to these follow-up examinations. Tuberculosis infection is an infectious disease that is caused by bacteria which can only be seen under a microscope. The examination involves an X-ray of the lungs, which is the part of the body usually affected by bacteria.
Will I have to leave the Netherlands if I have TB?
No. If you have TB, you will be treated with medication here in the Netherlands. There are very good cures for TB.
People with open (= infectious) TB can infect other people, for instance by coughing or sneezing. Coughing brings the bacteria from the lungs to outside the body. By breathing in the bacteria, people can get infected.
Can I get TB by shaking hands?
No, you cannot get TB by touch and neither can you get it from using the same fork, or plate or cup.
The importance of a TB examination
Sometimes people show symptoms of TB such as ongoing cough, a fever, tiredness, and night sweats. But this does not always occur, so it might be possible for you to have TB and not show any of the symptoms. That is why the TB examination is so important. It is the only way to see if you have TB. Sometimes the very first examination reveals TB. But because TB develops slowly there have to be several examinations. So, be sure to go for your examination when you are sent an appointment card. It is important for everyone around that you have an examination. You can infect other people without realising it.
Can I get TB in between examinations?
Yes. Therefore, it is important to go to your doctor if you show any symptoms, like coughing for longer than three weeks, even if you have recently had a TB examination.
The amount of radiation from a lung X-ray is very small. The equipment used in the Netherlands is very modern and a lung-X-ray is not dangerous.
Can pregnant women also have a lung X-ray?
Yes; even if a woman is pregnant, it is sensible to have an examination for TB. However, the woman should always tell the person taking the X-ray about her pregnancy.
Make an appointment
If you require a screening, simply make an appointment at the Municipal Health Department (GGD) in your place of residency (for the Twente region, this is in Enschede. For contact details; see below ). You should bring the “Tuberculosis Examination Referral Form,” which is attached to your residence permit application form. The Municipal Health Service will forward this declaration, completed in full and signed to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service to complete the process.
The first examination is free of charge and will take about 20 minutes.
You can contact the GGD offices for multiple topics on health care. For instance: vaccinations when travelling to another country and childrens health care. The addresses of the GGD in the Twente Region are:
Visiting address Enschede:
7511 JM Enschede
Phone: +31 (0)53 – 487 6980 (available on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday during office hours)
Visiting address Almelo:
Twentheplein 9 A-2
7607 GZ Almelo
Phone: +31 (0)53 487 6980
Website: www.ggdtwente.nl (only available in Dutch)