Expat in Netherlands

TB Test for Indian Immigrants in Netherlands

If you are moving to The Netherlands from India or one of these countries, a TB test is mandatory for you and your family. If you have arranged everything by yourself, contact the GGD (Municipal Health Service) for the appointment. But if you have an immigration partner or agent, they will take care of it. You should check the Amsterdam GGD website for more information. While their website has all the standard information you need, I felt a few things were missing and confusing. At GGD, they encourage you to gather as much information on your own to improve the overall efficiency of the entire process. In this post, I will try to answer some of the basic questions that popped up in my mind for which I couldn’t find a clear answer on the website.

What and where is GGD?

The first thing you might want to know is – what is GGD. The technical definition of GGD in English is the Municipal Health Service. It’s different from the municipality or the city office. They take care of the health-related services for the people of their region. So, every city or rather municipality has their own GGD. Depending on which city you are staying in, you will have to contact the GGD of that city. But since you have just moved to The Netherlands, all formalities will be at the Amsterdam GGD, which is located at 100 Nieuwe Achtergracht, Amsterdam.

What is the process of the TB Test?

So you took a metro or tram and reached GGD. What’s next? After you enter the main door, you have to take a left, where they conduct the TB test. Then you should take a token with a sequence number and wait for your turn.

You’ll need to show the following documents

  • Residence permit (if you have received it)
  • Passport
  • The invitation letter that you should have received.

It’s okay to be there before the appointment time, don’t be late. Depending upon the rush, it could take between 15-30 minutes to complete the process on day 1.

When your number shows up on the screen, go to the billing desk, show all the documents when asked and pay €51- by card or cash.

Then you have to wait again for the chest X-ray. The process of getting the X-ray will take less than 5 minutes.

A follow-up skin test is mandatory for people migrating from India (and a few other countries). You will receive a letter from GGD by post at your registered address with the appointment date within 4 weeks. Of course, it is possible to reschedule the appointment at your convenience. You can find these details in the appointment letter.

Is a skin test mandatory, and what is it?

The skin test is not mandatory. However, if you opt-out, you need to repeat the chest X-ray process every six months for the next two years. So if it’s upto me, I’d suggest it is better to go for a skin test, plus it is also good to know whether you are infected or not, and the sooner you know better it will be.

In the letter you receive, a declaration form or questionnaire is present in which you have to answer a few questions. Go to GGD on your appointment with this form and your identity card (residence permit or passport). 

This test is free. Follow the same process as before at GGD.

When your turn comes, the medical staff will inject a 0.1ml of fluid (tuberculin purified protein derivative) into your forearm. They will ask you to come back in 48 hours to see the effect of the injected fluid. If done correctly, you should be able to see a pale elevation of 6-10mm.

For more details on skin tests, check this link: Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test

What happens next?

In the questionnaire, there is a question if you have received BCG vaccination. If the answer to this question is yes, i.e. if you have received the BCG vaccination as a newborn, it is highly possible that the result of your Mantoux Test will be positive, i.e. the diameter of the elevation will be greater than 10mm.

You don’t need to worry about it. If it happens, there will be a follow-up blood test. For this, you will have to pay around €54,- but if you have taken a (which is a must in The Netherlands), your health insurer will take care of it.

The result of the blood test will be back in about ten days. You will receive a letter from Gemeente at your registered address. As I mentioned earlier, if you don’t have any symptoms, you should not worry. Consider it to be a formality and go through it. That’s why I recommend going ahead with the skin test rather than opting for a chest x-ray for the next two years.

Featured Image Credit: https://www.pulmonologyadvisor.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2019/01/tuberculinskintests1705075_1306813-860×614.jpg