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Naturalisation

You wish to become a Dutch citizen through naturalisation.  An application must be submitted to the  municipality where you are registered. What are the conditions? And how does the procedure work?

​Conditions

You must meet the following conditions:

  • You are 18 years or older.
  • And have lived uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 5 years with a valid residence permit. You have always extended your residence permit on time. Your residence permit must be valid during the procedure. Do you have the nationality of an EU/EEAcountry or Switzerland? You do not need a residence permit. There are a number of exceptions to the 5-year rule. See Exceptions 5-year term.

  • Immediately prior to the naturalisation application, you have a valid residence permit. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. The residence permit is still valid at the time of the naturalisation ceremony.
    Do you have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland? You do not need a residence permit.
  • You are sufficiently integrated. This means that you can read, write, speak and understand Dutch. You show this with the civic integration diploma.
  • In the previous 4 years you have not received a prison sentence, training 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 or more. In the last 4 years you may not have received multiple fines of €405 or more, with a total amount of €1,215 or more either.
  • You must renounce your current nationality. There are some exceptions to this rule.
  • You must take the declaration of solidarity. See The naturalisation ceremony at Steps in the application process.

Exceptions to the 5-year term

In the following situations the 5-year term does not apply.

  • You are married to or are the registered partner of a Dutch citizen. After 3 years of marriage or registered partnership and having uninterruptedly lived together during that period, you can submit an application. These 3 years may also have been spent abroad. You must be living together during the whole procedure.

Did you live together unmarried in the Kingdom of the Netherlands during these 3 years? You can count this period for the period of 3 years.
Living together unmarried outside the Kingdom does not count for the 3 year period.

  • You already live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for 3 uninterrupted years with a Dutch citizen (not married) and with a valid residence permit. You must be living together during the whole procedure.
  • You are a former Dutch citizen. You have had the Dutch nationality and you lost it. In some cases, you can make use of the option procedure.
  • You are stateless. You can submit an application for naturalisation after at least 3 years.
  • You were acknowledged as a minor or legitimised by a Dutch citizen. Also, you were cared for and brought up by this Dutch citizen for 3 years. You are now 18 years or older. You can submit an application after 3 years.
  • You have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a total of 10 years with a valid residence permit. The last 2 years of which you have lived uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You can submit an application after 2 years.
  • You were, after coming of age, adopted in the Kingdom of the Netherlands by at least 1 Dutch citizen.

Checklist documents

What documents do you need?

  • A valid passport or another travel document.
  • A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence.
    Do you have the nationality of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland? You do not need a residence permit. The municipality checks how long you live in the Netherlands in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BPR).
  • A birth certificate from your country of origin.
  • Civic integration diploma or other proof of civic integration.

Other documents may also be needed, such as:

  • A marriage certificate or a certificate of registered partnership.
  • Proof that you have continuously lived together with a Dutch citizen for 3 or more years.

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

Lack of documentary evidence

You do not have a 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 must submit the application for naturalisation in the municipality where you live. You also fill out a form stating that you will make the statement of allegiance. You will make this statement during the naturalisation ceremony. If you must renounce your current nationality, you then sign a declaration for this.

Payment

The naturalisation procedure costs money. You pay this when you submit the application for naturalisation. You must also pay for children who are included with your application. Is your application rejected or are you withdrawing your application? You will not get any money back.

Establish or change your name

It may be 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.

In addition, you yourself can ask to have your last name changed. 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

Your child can only apply for Dutch citizenship together with you. You then request the naturalisation of your child in your own application for naturalisation. You will receive a notification stating that your child will also receive Dutch nationality.

A child under 16 years of age must live in the Netherlands He must also have a valid residence permit immediately before the application. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. The residence permit is still valid at the time of the naturalisation ceremony.

A child of 16 or 17 years old must, immediately before to the application, have been living uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least 3 years with a valid residence permit. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. The residence permit is still valid at the time of the naturalisation ceremony. The child must be present for the application. He must also indicate that he agrees with the application.

Is your child a minor at the time of the application, but an adult  at the time of the decision? In that case, he cannot become naturalised together with you. Your child must then submit a new application for naturalisation. He may submit a new application if he has lived for an uninterrupted period of at least 3 years in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay.

Was your child, for some reason, not naturalised together with you? Then he can still submit an application for naturalisation. Your child must, immediately before to the application, have been living uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least 3 years with a valid residence permit.  This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay.

Children up to 18 years old can keep their current nationality if one or both parent(s) become Dutch citizen at the same time, unless the laws of the country of the current nationality do not allow this.

2. Decision

​The municipality looks at whether you meet all the conditions for naturalisation and gives a recommendation to the IND. The municipality sends 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.

  • 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. In this formal decision, the IND 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, you get a letter from the IND. The letter states that a proposal to grant Dutch citizenship has been presented to the King. Following that, you get an invitation from the municipality to attend the naturalisation ceremony.

3. The naturalisation ceremony

​Municipalities organise naturalisation ceremonies. During these gatherings the meaning of becoming a Dutch citizen is highlighted.

You are obligated to go to the ceremony. Was your child, when submitting the application for naturalisation, 16 years or older? Then he is also obligated to go to 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 go to 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 naturalisation decision will also be presented, stating that you have become a Dutch citizen.

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.

After the application

Rights and obligations

What can and should you do as a Dutch citizen?

  • You are registered as a Dutch citizen in the Municipal Personal Records Database of the Netherlands (BRP).
  • You may apply for a Dutch passport or a Dutch identity card at the municipality in your place of residence.
  • You may vote in provincial and national elections.
  • You are no longer a foreign national.
  • You will have the same rights as Dutch citizens.
  • You may, after a long stay abroad, come back to the Netherlands.
  • You are an EU citizen.
  • You must, if applicable, turn in any foreign or refugee passports.
  • You no longer have to meet the conditions for a residence permit.
  • You must hand in your residence permit and, as such, you have no more costs for the residence permit.
  • You can be appointed to certain public functions, which are only open to Dutch citizens. These include, for example, Mayor, police officer, soldier or a function in the judiciary.

Revoking and loss of nationality 

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 the Dutch nationality.

If you voluntarily adopt the nationality of another country, you automatically lose 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.

Formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.