How to get Dutch citizenship – find out how to get Dutch nationality so you can get a passport in the Netherlands, and the documents required for the application procedure…
There are a number of different ways to get Dutch nationality; through naturalisation, birth or via a simplified process called the option procedure, available to a specific group of people as defined by law.
A foreign national can apply for Dutch citizenship after five years of continuous legal residency in the Netherlands. There are plans to increase this to seven years, but the bill has not yet been passed by Parliament.
To apply for naturalisation, the applicant must fulfil the following conditions:
- Be over 18; parents of minors must submit the application on their behalf
- Have lived continuously in the Netherlands or Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, Saba or Saint Martin for at least five years and have a valid residence permit. This period is reduced to three years if married to or if an unmarried partner of a Dutch citizen. Other exceptions do apply and can be found here
- Be able to speak, read and write Dutch and have achieved a minimum level of A2. Proof of passing the Civic Integration exam will be required
- Have not committed any criminal offenses in the previous four years
Applications must be filed with the local municipality in the place of residence. Once it has been checked it is sent to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The following documents will be required for the procedure
- Passport or other valid travel document
- Birth certificate
- Valid residence permit (this must remain valid throughout the naturalisation procedure)
- Civic Integration diploma or a similar diploma proving ability to read, write and speak the Dutch language
Other documents may be requested depending on the applicant’s personal situation. Documents must be translated and legalised if they are not in Dutch, French, German or English.
There is a fee for the naturalisation procedure.
The whole process takes approximately one year. Once the application is accepted the person must attend a citizenship ceremony and pledge allegiance to the Netherlands. Dutch nationality is only granted after attending this ceremony.
If the application is refused, the applicant receives a letter outlining the reasons for refusal. The applicant can request that the IND review this decision.
There is a simplified procedure to get Dutch nationality called the option procedure which is available to some people. Qualifying people include, amongst others: people who are 18 or over, born in the Netherlands and who have lived in the Netherlands since they were born; and people over the age of 65 who have lived continuously in the Netherlands for at least 15 years.
There are other people who qualify for the option procedure as outlined on the IND website.
Dutch citizenship through Birth (by law)
A person automatically acquires Dutch nationality if their mother is a Dutch citizen, or if their father is a Dutch citizen and is married to the mother.
If the father is not married to the mother, he must acknowledge paternity before the child is born or up until the child is seven years old. After the child reaches the age of seven, the father can only acknowledge paternity by proving they are the biological father with a DNA test.
Children born in the Netherlands to foreign parents may be able to claim Dutch nationality if the parents are legal residents in the Netherlands and they were legally resident at the time of the birth.
- Find out more about Dutch citizenship by law
In principle, it is necessary to give up previous citizenship when granted Dutch nationality. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, for example, if you are married to a Dutch citizen. As not all countries permit dual nationality, it is advisable to check with the applicant’s home country consulate before starting the procedure for Dutch citizenship.