Thinking about becoming a Dutch citizen? How do you become a true Dutchie, a Dutchie with the papers to prove it?
So, you’re looking to become Dutch and wanna know how to get Dutch citizenship? Good choice! But how do you become Dutch, do you ask? I’m sorry to say, biking, eating a load of cheese and growing to over 6ft isn’t going to make you legally Dutch. You’re halfway there though, don’t sweat it 😉 With this DutchReview guide, you will learn everything you need to know to become as Dutch as you can be (by law anyway).
How to get Dutch citizenship
If you are a foreign national and have been living in the Netherlands for five years, then you will be able to apply for a Dutch passport/obtain Dutch citizenship. But what is the process of getting Dutch citizenship? And can I even apply anyway? WELL:
- You can apply via option procedure — lived in the Netherlands continuously since childhood
- If you have lived in the Netherlands for five years straight — naturalisation
- If one or both of your parents are Dutch (this includes adoption).
What is naturalisation?
Naturalisation is just what it says on the tin — you’re slowly naturalising to Dutch life. There are many different conditions you need to meet before you can apply in this way:
- You need to be an adult — over 18 years of age (you know the score).
- You need to have a valid residence permit.
- You need to have lived in the Netherlands (or Dutch Caribbean) for five years continuously.
- You are willing to revoke your current nationality.
- You can write, speak and read Dutch, demonstrated by passing the Dutch Civic Integration Exam at A2 level.
Here are 7 words of Dutch to help you on your way to Dutch citizenship:
- You have not been to prison, participated in community service or received hefty fines (upwards of €810, ouch) within four years.
- You are willing to declare an allegiance to the Netherlands at a compulsory citizenship ceremony.
HOWEVER, there are exceptions to the five-year requirement, so keep reading folks…
What if I haven’t been in the Netherlands for five years?
It hasn’t been five years!? Don’t worry, we have this section covered. You can thank us later if you want.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, however, if you do not meet any of these exceptions then, unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait till the five-year mark! You’re an exception IF:
- You are stateless (e.g. officially a refugee) and have lived in the Netherlands legally for at least three years.
- You’ve held Dutch nationality in the past.
- You are married to a Dutch citizen and have lived together (in NL or abroad) for three years or more.
- Parental requirements deem it possible.
- You have lived in the Netherlands for at least 10 years legally (the final two years need to be continuously living in the country).
Can I be a dual national in the Netherlands?
This is a controversial one because, for most people, you can’t. This means that you need to give up your nationality in order to become Dutch (big and sometimes risky move). Once you renounce your nationality, you need to submit an application and declaration — signifying leaving your country and entering another. There are exceptions to this rule and you must declare and prove them during your application. You can be a dual national IF:
- You are not allowed to give up your nationality in your home country.
- You are officially registered as a refugee.
- You are married/registered partner of a Dutch citizen.
- It’s impossible to contact the authorities in your home country.
- You cannot revoke your nationality for a special reason — needs to be accepted.
- If your nationality is not recognised in the Netherlands.
- If you will lose important rights in your country if you were to give up your nationality.
- If you were born in the Netherlands or Dutch Caribbean and you’re still currently residing there.
- If you have to complete military service to give up your nationality.
- If you have to pay a considerable amount of money to give up your nationality.
So what do I get out of becoming Dutch?
Probably best to read this bit several times over and see if it’s worth it 😉 — can’t promise once you’ve transitioned you’ll be any more knowledgeable on cheese and bikes.
Anyway, once you are a Dutch citizen, you gain these rights:
- A Dutch passport;
- Ability to vote in all Dutch elections and stand for election too;
- Your children can become Dutch citizens;
- EU citizenship — freedom to travel and live in the EU (good for you Brits);
- You can vote for the European Parliament;
- Enter and travel throughout the Netherlands freely.
Worth it? Well, you’re already halfway through the article so you may as well carry on…
What is the application process for getting Dutch citizenship?
Note: the whole process can take up to a year
You need to visit your gemeente (municipality) if you want to apply for Dutch citizenship. There is a fee for submitting this application: a family is €1.091 and €855 for a single individual. It ain’t cheap! I’m in shock. It will then be reviewed and if all is well, it will be given to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). You will need the usual valid documents, such as passport, residence permit, birth certificate and Civic Integration Exam certificate to apply.
If all goes to plan, they will send you a confirmation in the post and an invite to your citizenship ceremony (compulsory). After this, you can officially apply for the passport. If things don’t go to plan (sorry to hear that), you will also receive a letter saying why. You can reject the decision if you have a strong case.
Nah thanks, can I just have permanent residency in the Netherlands instead?
Course you can. Not everyone wants to give up their nationality. Maybe you’ve given up on getting Dutch citizenship. WELL, you can apply for permanent residency. You can stay in the Netherlands indefinitely, however, you cannot vote in Dutch elections (apart from municipal elections), this can be revoked if you spend too long outside of the Netherlands and you need to renew it every five years. Those are the conditions!
So you’re well on your way to becoming Dutch…congrats! Once you’ve completed all of this and you’re very Dutch, then don’t forget to let us know if we’ve helped you in getting your Dutch citizenship. You can say thanks by joining our DutchReview Facebook group, you know you want to.
Feature image: Image: 9148 de imagini/Pixabay
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 18 March 2018 and was fully updated for your reading pleasure in January 2021.