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Lack of documentary evidence

To become a Dutch citizen through naturalisation or option you need to have a passport and a birth certificate. On this page you read when you do not need a passport and/or birth certificate. You read how to get a passport and birth certificate. And what you should do when you cannot get these documents.

What is lack of documentary evidence?

When you want to become a Dutch citizen, you need to have a legalised birth certificate and a valid foreign passport. Do you not have these documents? Then, the IND expects you to make an effort to obtain these documents. Is it really not possible for you to get these documents? And can you proof with documents why this is not possible? Then, the IND may decide that you no longer need to submit these documents. This is what we call lack of documentary evidence.

When do I not need a passport and a birth certificate?

Some persons do not have to show a passport and/or birth certificate. This applies to the following groups:

You have a permanent asylum residence permit

You do not need to show a passport. You only need to show a birth certificate when you are born in another country than the country from which you have fled.

You are a child under 18

Does your child have a permanent asylum residence permit? A birth certificate or passport is then not needed to become a Dutch citizen. Your child only needs to show a birth certificate when your child is born in another country than the country from which the child has fled.

Does your child have a Dutch birth certificate? It is then not necessary to show a passport. This also applies to children with birth certificates from countries that belong to the Apostille Convention.

You are a stateless person

You are stated as a stateless person in the Municipal Personal Records Database of your municipality? No passport is then required for naturalisation. You do however, in most cases need a legalised and translated birth certificate.

You have obtained a RANOV permit as a minor

You have obtained a RANOV permit as a minor together with your parent (s) or independently, and you are now 18 years or older.

You have official documents/certificates from countries which have not been recognised by the Netherlands

The IND does not process official documents/certificates from countries which have not been recognised by the Netherlands (such as, for example, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Northern Cyprus or Taiwan). Therefore, persons from a country which has not been recognised by the Netherlands, may apply for naturalisation without providing official documents.

However, a valid national passport must be submitted with the application for naturalisation.

How do I get a valid foreign passport?​​​​​​​

For every country, there are different rules. At the embassy or consulate of your country, you can ask how this works.

How do I get my foreign birth certificate or proof of birth?

First, find out how births are registered in the country of your birth. Check this with your government. Is birth registration done in your home country with birth certificates? Your birth certificate is then often in a registry. At the registry in your country, you ask for your birth certificate. Sometimes, your embassy can help you with this. You can also ask other people if they will request a birth certificate for you in your country of birth. These could include family, friends, a notary or a lawyer. You then do not need to travel to your country of birth yourself.

At Government of the Netherlands ​you can find information about legalisation of a birth certificate. You select the country of origin and then click on documents. Is information about your country of birth not listed? You can contact the authorities or representation of your country.​

Sometimes it is difficult to obtain the documents. In the FAQ about getting foreign documents, you can read what you can do. 

Apply for a passport and birth certificate in Iran, Russia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda

In Iran, Russia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, applying for a passport and/or birth certificate works as follows:


Birth /identity booklet

The birth certificate in Iran is called a shenasnameh. A shenasnameh is a birth and identity booklet. A shenasnameh is applied for at the Edareh-ye sabt-o-asnad-e Iran (documents registry office / civil registry). A (copy of) shenasnameh is requested at the Sazman Sabt-e-Ahval-e Keshvar (Personal Status Registration Department). A shenasnameh can also be requested by a an authorised third party.

Since 2003, there is a new shenasnameh. This is an identity card (kart-e shenasa'i-ye melli or kart-e melli). From the age of 15, you can apply for the kart-e melli at the registry office. A (copy of) kart-e melli can be requested at the Sazman-e Sabt-e Ahval-e Keshvar (Personal Status Registration Department). This requires a passport photo and a shenasnameh. For a copy of a kart-e melli, you also fill in a special form: proof of loss. The kart-e melli can also be requested by a lawyer or someone else with an authorisation. 


A (copy of your) passport can be applied for at the Passport Office of the General Police Department. There are Police +10 Offices across Iran..

Married women can apply for a passport themselves. Sometimes, they must show permission from the husband, father, another male family member or guardian. Minor children (and unmarried) women can get a passport if permission is given by the father. For adult, unmarried women permission is required from the father grandfather or guardian . 
You must submit the application for a passport yourself. For this, you must have:

  • a shenasnameh
  • the identity card (kart-e melli)
  • a passport photo
  • a payment receipt

Men also hand in a certificate of military service. 


Do you have a Dutch alien's passport? You can make an appointment at the Russian Consulate to apply for a birth certificate. This can be done via the website of the consulate. Take an extract of registration in the Municipal Personal Records Database and documentary evidence with you to the appointment. For example, documents from your parents or a copy of your birth certificate.

Sierra Leone

Birth certificate

In Sierra Leone, a birth certificate is requested from one of the 13 registration offices. At these registration offices, births are registered. Applying for a birth certificate may also be done by someone else. It is not possible to apply for a birth certificate through the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Brussels or the Consulate General in the Hague.


A passport is only issued by the Passport Department of the immigration Office in Freetown in Sierra Leone. It is not possible to apply for a passport through the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Brussels or the Consulate General in the Hague.

At the Sierra Leonean Embassy in Brussels you may, however, ask for the application form for a passport. With this application form, you can apply for your passport yourself at the Passport Department in Freetown. Your family or friends can also do this for you. You can also ask for the application form at the Passport Department in Freetown. At the Passport Department in Freetown, you hand in the application form, a national identity card and a birth certificate. You also pay for the passport there.

Do you not have a valid passport for Sierra Leone and do you want to travel to that country? Ask for a laissez passer at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Brussels.



To get or renew a passport you need to go to the Rwandan embassy. A passport is only issued when you show a Rwandan identity card. People from Rwanda who have lived abroad for a long time may not have an identity card, but can apply for one with a birth certificate.

Birth certificate

A birth certificate is not issued by the embassy, but by the local government of the sector (sector's office) in Rwanda. Please read on the website of the Rwandan embassy how to apply for a Rwandan passport.  

Countries with other supporting documents

For these countries, other documents may also be used:


  • Afghan passport

  • Birth certificate or Taskera

Instead of a legalised birth certificate, a legalised Taskera may also be used. A Taskera is an official Afghan identity card for Afghan citizens and can be obtained in Afghanistan.

Information about legalisation Afghanistan 


  • Chinese passport

  • Birth certificate or hukou or medical birth certificate

In China, each family has a household registration booklet (hukou). In this booklet, births, relocations, marriages or deaths are registered. The hukou is also called the birth registration system. Since March 1996, China also has a 'Medical Birth Certificate' that is issued by hospitals. With this birth certificate, a person can register in the registry of the 'Public Security Bureau' (PSB). The Public Security Bureau is the agency that is responsible for the population registration in China.

Were you born after 1 March 1996?

Then there is the 'Medical Birth Certificate'. You need this:

  • Original 'Medical Birth Certificate';

  • A legalised 'certified true copy' of the 'Medical Birth Certificate'.

Were you born before 1 March 1996?

You need this:

  • A legalised, notarial declaration with:

    • family name;

    • first names;

    • date of birth;

    • place of birth;

    • name of father and mother.

  • A legalised 'certified true copy' of the document for which the notary has made his declaration. The documents that are accepted for this are one of the following:

    • Hukou of the parents which includes your birth.

    • a hospital certificate stating that the certificate can be used for recording the birth in the hukou register

    • A declaration from the Public Security Bureau with full details of your birth.

Other source documents are not accepted. Such as a statement from a midwife. Do you only have an ID card? This will then also not be accepted.

The documents must always be translated to English (also the legalisation stamps must be translated).

Information on legalisation China


  • Eritrean passport or Eritrean identity card
  • Birth certificate

In place of a passport, an Eritrean identity card may also be used in certain situations. This is assessed per situation.

Information about legalisation in Eritrea


Iraqi passport

A passport can be requested from the Iraqi Embassy in the Hague. The Iraqi embassy has an application form for this. The application is handled at the Ministry of the Interior in Iraq. If the application is approved, the Iraqi passport is made in Iraq. The passport is sent by post to the embassy in the Hague. This may take 2 to 6 months.

Birth certificate or extract from the Iraqi population register

Do you not have a birth certificate? You can also an show an extract from the Iraqi population register of 1957. Someone who is born in a hospital in Iraq needs a birth certificate or an extract from the birth register. Were you not born in a hospital? Then you need an extract from the population register of 1957.

The documents Shehadat welada, Haje el-welada and Suret qid weladaare are Iraqi birth certificates from the birth register. A Surit qid (copy of entry 1957) is an extract from the population register.

Information on legalisation Iraq 


Birth certificate and passport exemption

As of 1 April 2014, there is a categorical exemption for people with the Syrian nationality:

  • Syrian people born in Syria: birth certificate and passport are not required

  • Syrian people born outside of Syria: a passport is not required.

The exemption runs until further notice. 


In Somalia there is no organised civil register. The country has, therefore, no certificates of civil status. In addition, the Netherlands does not recognise Somali passports. You do not need to show a birth certificate and passport if you want to become a Dutch citizen.


Birth certificate and passport exemption. This exemption only applies to Ethnic Armenians born in Azerbaijan.

Lack of documentary evidence for naturalisation/ becoming a Dutch citizen

Does lack of documentary evidence apply to you? Then you need to show that it really is not possible for you to get a passport and/or birth certificate. ​You must prove with documents why this is not possible. The IND then determines, for your situation, if you are unable to meet the standard of proof.

You must have a good explanation for why you are not able to obtain to a birth certificate and/or passport. Can you not get a passport? Please explain with evidence why your government will not or cannot give you a passport. For a birth certificate and/or passport you may need to travel. Sometimes you need to travel to your country of origin. This takes you a lot of effort. You must show what you have done and why it did not succeed.

Documents to proof lack of documentary evidence

You do not easily get an exemption from the obligation to provide a birth certificate or travel document. Only on the basis of your personal situation can you be given an exemption. You could, for example, show one of the following pieces of evidence:

  • A declaration from your authorities stating that you are not able to show a passport and/or birth certificate. The declaration also states why this is not possible. You can contact your embassy for this. You can also contact the authorities in the country of origin.
  • Documentary evidence from which it is evident that you have made an effort to obtain a passport and/or birth certificate. For example, travel documents (tickets) of trips that you and/or your family members have made. Letters or emails containing information you have requested or requests that you have submitted. Documents from schools, churches, lawyers or other organisations that you have requested to help.

Examples of lack of documentary evidence

Below are 2 examples of lack of documentary evidence.

Example 1
Bao Tran is Vietnamese. She wants to become a Dutch citizen, but she does not have a Vietnamese passport or birth certificate. She applies to the Vietnamese embassy for a passport and birth certificate. She receives 2 statements that these documents cannot be given. In the statements the following reason is given: "after you left the locality without declaration, therefore we did not have any record". This means that the authorities have no registration anymore of Bao Tran.

The IND knows that Vietnamese persons who have been living abroad for over 2 years, are no longer in the HuKau. Vietnamese nationals who are no longer in the HuKau can only obtain documents if they are registered again. This can only be done if they themselves go to Vietnam.

The IND grants Bao Tran lack of documentary evidence, because: 

  • she has statements from the Vietnamese Government;
  • the IND knows that Vietnamese persons who live abroad for a long time will be removed from the HuKau;
  • and there is no doubt about the identity of Bao Tran.

Example 2
Joseph was born in Angola. He has an Angolan passport and a non-certified birth certificate. He has asked the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs several times to legalise his birth certificate. He has asked someone in Angola to help him. He also travelled to Angola himself for the legalisation. His requests have been rejected without any real refusal or reason.

With his application to become a Dutch citizen, Joseph encloses a letter stating everything he has done to legalise the birth certificate. He also has various documents that prove everything he has done. His passport and identity card are valid and correct.

The IND grants Joseph lack of documentary evidence, because:

  • he has shown that he has done as much as possible to have the birth certificate legalised;
  • the Angolan Government has given Joseph a valid and correct passport.

In these examples, there is no lack of documentary evidence.

Example 3
Asiye is Lebanese and born in Lebanon. She has a Lebanese passport but no birth certificate. Asiye sends letters to the Embassy of Lebanon in the Netherlands. She also asks the Embassy in Germany for a declaration. The declaration states that she was born in Lebanon. The embassies do not issue a statement. Asiye calls the embassies several times. Asiye has tried to obtain a birth certificate, but this is not enough. She can still try to obtain the birth certificate herself in Lebanon. Because she has not done anything else and also because she cannot show any evidence, she is not granted lack of documentary evidence.

Example 4
Joseph was born in Angola. He has no Angolan passport and no birth certificate. To get these documents, he went to the embassy of Angola in Brussels. The embassy could do nothing for him. Joseph cannot prove that he was at the embassy. For example with a train ticket or a waiting ticket that shows that he was at the embassy. Furthermore, Joseph says that, due to illness, he cannot travel to his native country. He has a medical statement for this.

The IND investigates the lack of documentary evidence. The Medical Assessment Section of the IND assesses that Joseph is able to travel. It also says that Joseph can get treatment for his illness in Angola. Joseph would thus be able to travel to Angola himself to get a birth certificate and a passport.

Joseph is therefore not granted lack of documentary evidence. He can also ask family or friends in Angola for help. The Consulate of Angola namely issues proxies so that Joseph's family can do this. Joseph would not need not to travel himself.

Example 5
Mei Ling comes from China and has the Chinese nationality. Mei Ling and her two minor children want to become Dutch citizens. Mei Ling has a Medical Birth Certificate and a Chinese passport. Her children do not have passports and birth certificates. Mei Ling never registered her children in the civil register of China. Mei Ling has contacted the Embassy. The embassy cannot help her. Mei Ling does not want to travel to China, this is expensive and the children must go to school in the Netherlands.

Mei Ling is not granted lack of documentary evidence. She can travel to China herself. She can also ask for help from family or someone else in China.

Example 6
Deniz was born in Turkey, he has the Turkish nationality. Deniz has no birth certificate and will have to request this in Turkey. If Deniz goes to Turkey to request his birth certificate, he will be drafted into military service. He does not want this. Deniz has also no money to buy off the compulsory military service. This is not a valid reason for lack of documentary evidence.
But if Deniz is summoned from Turkey for military service, a passport is not necessary. The summons shows that Deniz has the Turkish nationality. He then does not have to show a valid Turkish passport. The summons for compulsory military service must not be older than 1 year.