Main Dutch Immigration Law > Naturalisation in The Netherlands

Naturalization in the Netherlands (Holland) and option to become a Dutchman

Foreigners, legally staying in the Netherlands (Holland) for a certain time, in general 5 years, may apply to the IND for a Dutch (Netherlands) citizenship. Becoming a Dutch (Netherlands) national opens certain new opportunities such as possibility to live and work in any country of the European Union, to vote at Dutch (Netherlands) elections and to receive a Dutch (Netherlands) passport.

General requirements for application:

  • Valid long term Dutch (Netherlands) residence permit;
  • Valid passport;
  • Birth certificate;
  • Positive result of civic integration exam (for not exempted groups).

Depending on the purpose of stay, there can be additional requirements. Decision, issued by the IND, may be appealed.
There are 4 possibilities existing in the Netherlands to become a Dutchman:

  1. By law;
  2. By option procedure (optieprocedure);
  3. By naturalization process (naturalisatie);
  4. Special cases.

Becoming a citizen by law:

  • If a father of the child is a Dutchman, but not married with a foreign mother, then the child has to be acknowledged by the father. After a successful acknowledgment procedure (conformation that it is father’s child) a child may apply for citizenship;
  • A child, born in the family where father or mother with Dutch (Netherlands) nationality are married can be automatically considered as Dutch (Netherlands) citizen, even if he was born outside the Netherlands (Holland);
  • A child of a Dutch (Netherlands) mother will be automatically considered as Dutch (Netherlands) citizen;
  • A child may be adopted under certain conditions;
  • A child whose mother or father was living in the Netherlands (Holland), Aruba, Curaçao or Sint-Maarten. The father or mother must be also born in the Netherlands (Holland), Aruba, Curaçao or Sint-Maarten;
  • By means of DNA acknowledgement: a child in the age between 7 and 18, which will be acknowledged by an unmarried Dutch father is automatically considered as Dutch, provided that within one year after acknowledgement, DNA evidence will be approved;
  • By means of acknowledgment after the birth but before a child is 7;
  • A child of a foreign mother, acknowledged by his unmarried father before the birth;
  • A child not acknowledged by the parents outside the Netherlands (Holland), whose parents are going to marry. He will get a Dutch (Netherlands) nationality from the data of marriage.

Becoming a citizen by means of option procedure:

An option procedure is a special procedure aimed at granting nationality to foreigners who have (had) a long–term connection with the Netherlands (Holland). For this group of people it is possible to become a Dutchman by means of submitting a request to the IND to become a Dutch (Netherlands) citizen. One of the most important conditions for this is that the Netherlands (Holland) must be a principal place of residence of the applicant. Moreover it is a condition that the applicant stayed in the Netherlands (Holland) lawfully with a valid residence permit.

The following groups can submit a statement:

  1. person whose mother is Dutch and who was born before 1985;
  2. person, born before 1985, whose father is Dutch and father is married with Dutch mother;
  3. minor children, who were acknowledged after the 1st April 2003 by a Dutch (Netherlands) national;
  4. an adult, born in the Netherlands (Holland) and always lived there;
  5. adult former Dutch (Netherlands) citizen who lived for minimum 1 year in the Netherlands (Holland) with a permanent residence permit without interruption;
  6. person of 65 or older, who lived legally in the Netherlands (Holland) for at least 15 years without interruption;
  7. person, born in the Netherlands (Holland), lived in the Netherlands (Holland) for a minimum of 3 years without interruption and had no nationality at the moment of birth;
  8. person, married with Dutch citizen for at least 3 years and legally lived in the Netherlands (Holland) for minimum 15 years without interruption;
  9. adult, lived legally in the Netherlands (Holland) from the age of 4 until present.

The option procedure lasts approximately 3 months. An applicant can be requested to refuse from his previous nationality.
If the application for option will be accepted, then a foreigner will be granted with a Dutch (Netherlands) nationality and invited for a solemn ceremony.

Becoming a Dutch national by means of naturalization:

The candidates have to satisfy the following requirements:

  • an applicant has to be 18 or older;
  • a possession of Dutch (Netherlands) residence permit for permanent purpose (work or family re-unification/ formation);
  • a successfully passed civic integration exam;
  • an absence of criminal record within the past 4 years;
  • an absence of financial fine exceeding 2,453. Euro;
  • an applicant lived lawfully in the Netherlands (Holland), Netherlands Antilles or Aruba for a minimum period of 5 years; a spouse or registered partner of the Dutch citizen may already submit an application for naturalization after 3 years of marriage or partnership.

The naturalization procedure takes between 6 and 12 months. The Dutch (Netherlands) nationality in this case will be granted with the condition that the applicant must refuse his current nationality (with certain exemptions).

The following categories are exempted from mandatory refusing from of their previous nationalities:

  • foreigners, married with the Dutch (Netherlands) citizen;
  • foreigners, who lived as refugees in the Netherlands (Holland), Aruba, Curaçao or Sint-Maarten;
  • foreigners, who came from the land where abandoning of citizenship is impossible;
  • persons, born in the Netherlands (Holland), Aruba, Curaçao or Sint-Maarten and living there at present.

Special cases:

By special cases is meant a procedure of receiving a Dutch (Netherlands) citizenship on the grounds of international cultural or other relationships. This kind of procedure is used for privileged candidates, that reached particular success in a certain area or bring benefits for the Dutch (Netherlands) society.

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