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. There are a number of exceptions to the 5-year rule.

  • 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.
  • When applying for naturalisation,  there can be no ongoing criminal proceedings against you in the Netherlands or abroad.
  • In the 5 years prior to  naturalisation application  up to the moment that the decision has been made, you have not been convicted or sentenced to a conditional discharge in the Netherlands or abroad for a crime. This includes:
    • Every custodial sentence (incl. prison sentence), regardless of the duration of the sentence.
    • An alternative sanction (incl. training or community service), regardless of the duration of the sentence.
    • Any financial penalty (incl. fines, transactions or confiscation orders) of €810 or more.
    • A series of multiple financial penalties (incl. fines, transactions or confiscation orders) of €405 or more, with a total amount of €1,215 or more.

    The 5 year-term starts counting from the moment that you:

    • Have concluded any custodial sentence,
    • Have paid any financial penalty completely,
    • Have not committed further offences within the term set by court in the context of a conditional discharge. The rehabilitation period starts (in retrospect) at the moment when the decision or punishment has become irrevocable.
  • You must renounce your current nationality. There are exemptions to this rule.
  • You must take the declaration of solidarity. See The naturalisation ceremony at Steps in the application process.

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 (BRP).
  • 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.

I do not have a passport and/or birth certificate. What should I do?

You should apply for a passport and/or birth certificate at the government of your country. You cannot do this? Or you cannot get a passport and/or birth certificate? Then you may possibly appeal to lack of documentary evidence. On the page Lack of documentary evidence you read more information on the lack of documentary evidence and how to get a passport and birth certificate.

Minor children

A child under 18 cannot apply for Dutch citizenship. An application can only be done by the parents or legal guardians.

But you child under 18 can apply for Dutch citizenship together with you. You request the naturalisation of your child in your own application for naturalisation. You will receive a notification stating if your child will also receive Dutch nationality.

Children under 16

A child under 16 years of age must live in the Netherlands. And immediately before the application has a valid 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.

Children of 16 or 17 years old

A child of 16 or 17 years old, immediately before to the application, has lived uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least 3 years. And has a valid 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.

Na-naturalisatie of your child

Your child under 18 can keep their current nationality

Children up to 18 years old can keep their current nationality if one or both parent(s) become Dutch citizen. This does not apply when the laws of the country of the current nationality do not allow this.

You just turned 18 and you want to become a Dutch national

Did your parents file an application for naturalisation for you when you were still a minor? But was this application rejected? Now you are 18 or older, you can submit a new application yourself.

You have lived for an uninterrupted period of at least 3 years in the Netherlands. You have a valid permanent residence permit. Or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. And you meet the other conditions for naturalisation.

 

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.

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

    Do you meet all the conditions and has the decision been made? Then you will receive a letter from the IND with more information. 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. By doing so, 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 do this, you cannot become a Dutch citizen.

For more information on the declaration of solidarity, check the brochure Verklaring van verbondenheid on the website of the Dutch government. The information in this brochure is offered in several languages, including English.

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.