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Former Dutch citizen

You are a former Dutch citizen and you wish to regain the Dutch nationality. What are the conditions? And how does the procedure work?

Am I a former Dutch citizen?

You are a former Dutch citizen when you have had the Dutch nationality at one point. You have lost your Dutch nationality. 

Do you want to regain your Dutch nationality?

As a former Dutch citizen, you can regain Dutch nationality in 2 ways:

  • By making use of the option procedure, in which you make a statement saying that you want to become a Dutch citizen again.
  • By submitting an application for naturalisation as a Dutch citizen.

Where to submit an application?

If you want to become a Dutch citizen again, you can contact the following authorities (depending on your place of residence):

  • In the Netherlands: at the department of Civil Affairs of the municipality where you live.
  • Abroad: at the Dutch embassy or consulate of in the country where you live.
  • In Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba: at the Caribbean Netherlands IND unit.
  • In Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten: at the Cabinet of the Governor.

Conditions

Naturalisation

In order to qualify for naturalisation, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You do not live in the country of which you hold the nationality.
  • You are 18 years of age or older.
  • You live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and you hold a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose, such as family reunification or re-entry. If you do not live in the Kingdom, you must meet the conditions for a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose.
  • You are sufficiently integrated. This means that you can read, write, speak and understand Dutch. You show this with the civic integration diploma. If you have certain diplomas or certificates, you do not need to take the civic integration examination.
  • In the past 4 years you have not received a prison sentence, a learning or community service order or paid or had to pay a large fine either in the Netherlands or abroad. There must also be no ongoing criminal proceedings against you. With respect to a large fine, this is an amount of €810 ($560, Afl. 1000 or Naf. 1000 ) or higher. Moreover, you may not have received several fines of €405 ($280, Afl. 500 or Naf. 500) or higher, with a total amount of €1,215 ($840, Afl. 1500 or Naf. 1500) or higher in the past 4 years.
  • You must renounce your current nationality. There are some exceptions to this rule.
  • You must make the declaration of solidarity. See below 'The naturalisation ceremony' at 'Steps in the naturalisation process'.
  • You may not be married to more than one man or woman at the same time.

Option

In order to qualify for the option procedure, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You are a former Dutch citizen and you have been legally resident in the Kingdom for at least 1 year, holding a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose such as family reunification or re-entry.
  • In the past 4 years you have not received a prison sentence, a learning or community service order or paid or had to pay a large fine either in the Netherlands or abroad. There must also be no ongoing criminal proceedings against you. With respect to a large fine, this is an amount of € 810 ($560, Afl. 1000 or Naf. 1000) or higher. Moreover, you may not have received several fines of €405 ($280, Afl. 500 or Naf. 500) or higher, with a total amount of €1,215 ($840, Afl. 1500 or Naf. 1500) or higher in the past 4 years.
  • Are you 18 years of age or older? And you have lived in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit from the age of 4? You are then required to renounce your nationality.
  • You may not be married to more than one man or woman at the same time.

The following categories also qualify for  option:

  • Divorced women/widows
    As a woman, you lost your Dutch citizenship because you married a non-Dutch citizen before 1 January 1985 and your husband died recently or you got a divorce recently. You must opt within one year after the dissolution of your marriage. It could also be that in connection with your marriage, you voluntarily adopted your spouse's nationality or that you and your spouse adopted another nationality together.
  • Former Dutch citizens from Suriname
    You had Dutch nationality and opted for Surinamese nationality yourself. You did so within 5 years after your spouse acquired Surinamese nationality. You did so under the nationality convention of 1975. You must opt within 3 years after your marriage, if any, was dissolved. You do not have to live in the Kingdom for this. The option procedure is free of charge and you need not attend the naturalisation ceremony.

Checklist documents

What documents do you need?

  • A valid passport or other travel document.
  • Proof that you were a Dutch citizen, such as an old Dutch passport.
  • A birth certificate from your country of origin.
  • Civic integration diploma or other proof of civic integration.
  • A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence.

Other documents may also be needed, such as a marriage certificate or a certificate of registered partnership.

Foreign documents must often be legalised and translated before they can be used in the Netherlands.

Lack of documentary evidence

Do you have no passport and/or birth certificate and are you not exempt from this?  Then you may possibly appeal to ‘lack of documentary evidence’.

 

Steps in the application process

1. Submit application and payment

​You submit the application for naturalisation or complete the option statement in the municipality where you live. You also fill out a form stating that you will make the declaration of solidarity. You will make this statement during the naturalisation ceremony.

If you must renounce your current  nationality/nationalities, you sign a statement for this.

Payment

A fee is charged for the naturalisation and option procedure. You pay the fee when submitting the application for naturalisation or making the option statement.  You must also pay for children who are included in your application or option. Is your application or the option statement rejected or do you withdraw your application or statement? In that case, you will not get any money back.

Establish or change your name

It is possible that your name needs to be established. Establishing your name is required if you do not have a last name or or a first name. For example, if you have one name or multiple names without a distinction between the last name and first names. Moreover, you can ask for your last name to be changed when submitting an application for naturalisation. This is only possible if it is important for the civic integration process. For example:
  • Your name is difficult to pronounce for Dutch people.
  • You have, because of your marriage, been given your husband's last name.  And you want to change this name to your maiden name.

Minor children

Children from the age of 16 can decide for themselves whether or not they want to become a Dutch citizen. Children between the age of 12 and 16 will be asked to give their opinion on becoming a Dutch citizen. The parent not applying for the option or the naturalisation will also be asked to give his or her opinion (regardless of the child's age). If, in this case, the parent not applying for the naturalisation and the child are both of the opinion that the child need not become a Dutch citizen, the child will not be naturalised. If only the child or one of the parents are of this opinion, the government will decide if the child should become a Dutch citizen or not.

Minors are allowed to keep their current nationality if one or both parents become a Dutch citizen, unless the legislation of the country of their current nationality/nationalities provides otherwise.

2. Decision

​During the naturalisation procedure, the municipality, the Dutch embassy or consulate, the Caribbean Netherlands unit of the IND or the Cabinet of the Governor will check if you meet all the conditions for naturalisation and will give advice to the IND. They will send your file to the IND. The IND checks whether you meet all the conditions required and makes a decision. The IND has to make a decision within a period of 12 months.

During the option procedure, the municipality, the Dutch embassy or consulate, the Caribbean Netherlands unit of the IND or the Cabinet of the Governor will check if you meet all the conditions. They must make a decision within a period of 13 weeks.

  • Negative decision
    If you do not meet the conditions, you will not be able to become a Dutch citizen. This decision is given in a letter. This letter explains why you cannot become a Dutch citizen. You can apply for a review of this decision.
  • Positive decision
    If you meet all the conditions, a proposal to grant Dutch citizenship will be submitted to the King. After that, the municipality, the Dutch embassy or consulate, the Lieutenant Governor or the Cabinet of the Governor will send you an invitation to attend the naturalisation ceremony.

3. The naturalisation ceremony

​The municipality, the Dutch representation, the Lieutenant Governor or the Cabinet of the Governor will organise the naturalisation ceremony. During this ceremony the meaning of becoming a Dutch citizen is highlighted.

You are obligated to attend the ceremony. Was your child, when submitting the application for naturalisation, 16 years of age or older? Then he is also obligated to attend the ceremony. If your child is under the age of 16, he is not obligated to attend the naturalisation ceremony, but he is certainly allowed to be there.

You will not become a Dutch citizen until you attend the ceremony and make the declaration of solidarity. You agree that the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also apply to you. The declaration of solidarity must be done in person. If you do not make the declaration of solidarity, you cannot become a Dutch citizen.

At the ceremony, the decision, stating that you have become a Dutch citizen, will also be issued to you.

If you cannot attend the first ceremony, you will get an invitation for a next ceremony. You must attend the ceremony within 1 year following the decision. If you fail to do so, you will not receive Dutch nationality. After 1 year, you will need to submit a new application to become a Dutch citizen.

Please note!

Have you been convicted of a serious crime? Or have you committed fraud in obtaining a residence permit or Dutch nationality? This has serious consequences. Your Dutch citizenship can be revoked. This is even possible up to 12 years after you have obtained Dutch nationality.

Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of The Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. And 3 special municipalities: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.