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Requirements, eligibility, and ways to become a citizen of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is filled with beautiful and diverse countryside, medieval yet modern cities that are full of life, an overflowing amount of tulips, and welcoming people. If the Netherlands has convinced you to move to the beauty and comfort that it offers, you might need to acquire Dutch citizenship to enjoy its quirks fully.

How Can I Get Dutch Citizenship?

You can obtain Dutch citizenship through one of the following pathways:

  • Naturalization.
  • Birth.
  • Option procedure.
  • Marriage.

Acquiring Dutch citizenship allows you to enter any other European country with the opportunity to study and work there as well.

Benefits of Dutch Citizenship

Besides the beauty that the Netherlands has to offer, becoming a Dutch citizen has many benefits. The pros of obtaining Dutch citizenship include:

  • You will be named a legal national in the Netherlands and you will no longer be considered a foreigner. 
  • The opportunity to obtain a Dutch passport as you will be registered in the BRP-Municipal Personal Records Database.
  • You will officially become an EU citizen which allows you to move freely in any EU country.
  • You will be eligible to vote in Dutch elections.
  • You will be entitled to the Dutch healthcare system.
  • You will be eligible to become a police officer a soldier, obtain a judiciary position and even apply for mayorship.
  • You will be entitled to pass on Dutch citizenship to your children.

Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization

You are eligible for obtaining Dutch citizenship by naturalization if: 

  • You have been living in the Netherlands with a permanent residence permit for at least five years.
  • You have been living in the Netherlands and you are an EU/EEA national.
  • You have been living in the Dutch Caribbean with a residence permit. The Dutch Caribbean includes Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, and Saba.

Dutch Citizenship by Birth

You are eligible to obtain Dutch citizenship by birth if one of your parents was a Dutch citizen at the time of your birth.

The exact conditions depend on the year you were born.

If you were born before January 1st, 1985

If you were born before January 1st, 1985, you can gain Dutch citizenship if your father was a Dutch citizen at the time you were born (whether you were born in or outside of the Netherlands).

You do not qualify for obtaining Dutch citizenship by birth if you were born to a Dutch mother and foreign father. You can apply for Dutch citizenship by the option procedure instead.

If you were born after December 31st, 1984

If you were born after December 31st, 1984, you can get Dutch citizenship if:

  • Your mother held Dutch citizenship when you were born, or
  • You were born in wedlock to a Dutch father and non-Dutch mother, or
  • You were born out of wedlock to a Dutch father and non-Dutch mother, but your father acknowledged you before your birth, or
  • Your father held Dutch citizenship and acknowledged your birth after March 1st, 2009 but before you turned seven. 

Dutch Citizenship by Option Procedure

You can obtain Dutch citizenship by the option procedure if you have Dutch origins, such as: 

  • You were born before January 1st, 1985 to a Dutch mother and a foreign father, or
  • You have a parent who also obtained Dutch citizenship with the option procedure., or
  • You are a minor, born to a Dutch citizen parent under one of the following circumstances:
    • Your parents were married when you were born.
    • You were acknowledged before you were born.
    • Your Dutch mother was not married when you were born.
    • One of your parents died before they could apply for Dutch citizenship via the option procedure.
  • You want to regain your Dutch citizenship as a means to restore your EU rights.

To be eligible for Dutch citizenship by the option procedure, you will be asked to submit additional documents that prove your relationship with the Dutch parent as well as proof that your parent held Dutch citizenship by the time you were born. Once your application gets accepted, the Dutch diplomatic mission will hold a ceremony that confirms your citizenship.

Note: Minors cannot apply for Dutch citizenship on their own. A parent or guardian must submit the option statement on their behalf.

Dutch Citizenship by Marriage

If you have been married to a Dutch citizen and have lived together with them in the Netherlands for more than three years, you can obtain Dutch citizenship by marriage. You will be asked to submit additional documents such as a marriage certificate as well as a statement of your place of residence.

How to Apply for Dutch Citizenship?

Applying for Dutch citizenship in the Netherlands: To apply for Dutch citizenship, you must start your application with the nearest municipality. The municipality will then forward your application to Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service). If you are from the Dutch Caribbean you must apply to the Cabinet of the Governor.

Applying for Dutch citizenship abroad: If you live abroad, you can apply for Dutch citizenship at a Dutch embassy or consulate-general. If you are applying for naturalization, you also have to pass the civic integration examination beforehand, which you can also take at a Dutch embassy or consulate-general.

Documents Required for Dutch Citizenship

For your Dutch citizenship application, you must collect documents such as

  • Your valid passport. You may also need to submit copies of your passport pages, if applicable.
  • Birth certificate. Your birth certificate from your country of origin; this document must be legalized or apostilled.
  • Application form. To get the application form online, you must have a DigiD which is an online platform used for identification purposes.
  • If applying for naturalization as a Dutch citizen:
    • Proof of your five-year residency in the Netherlands
    • Passed integration exam.  If you are exempted from the civic integration test, you must submit proof of your exemption.
  • If applying for Dutch citizenship by marriage: 
    • Marriage certificate. 
    • Proof you have lived with your spouse in the Netherlands for at least three years.
  • If applying for Dutch citizenship by birth: 
    • Any documents proving you have a Dutch ancestor (parent/grandparent).
  • If applying for Dutch citizenship by the option procedure:
    • Any documents proving you are entitled to Dutch citizenship due to an ancestor (e.g. marriage certificates, birth certificates, naturalization certificate, etc).

Note: You may need to submit additional documents depending on the circumstances of your application. The municipality in which you submit your application will notify you of the full list of required documents. However, it is a good idea to start collecting any relevant birth or marriage certificates in a timely manner.

Civic Integration Exam for Dutch Citizenship

To obtain Dutch citizenship, you have to pass a civic integration exam and obtain the integration diploma. The exam tests your Dutch language reading, listening, writing and fluency skills, as well as your knowledge of Dutch society.

The civic integration exam is not required to obtain citizenship via the option procedure.

If you fail any of the test sections, you are allowed to retake that section. The test sections that you pass will be saved until you pass the other sections as well. You will be asked to pay for every section you retake. Each section costs around €50.

Does The Netherlands Allow Dual Citizenship?

The benefit of dual citizenship in the Netherlands is complicated and depends on a few factors. If you acquire citizenship through naturalization, you might be asked to renounce your initial citizenship and can therefore not hold dual citizenship. On the other hand, you are entitled to dual citizenship if you acquire Dutch citizenship by birth or descent.

Dual citizenship also depends on your home country’s requirements. Some countries require you to undergo military service before acquiring second citizenship. 

How Much Does Dutch Citizenship Cost?

The cost for all the Dutch citizenship requirements are:

TypePrice
Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization for one person€945
Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization for couples€1,206
Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization for a child together with his parents€139
Permanent Asylum Permit Holders€703
Partners with Permanent Asylum Permit€965
Dutch Citizenship Integration Test€350

You will obtain a document that states the application payment and you will be asked to present the document for your application process.

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