Option

You would like to become a Dutch citizen through an option statement. The option procedure is a quick and easy way to acquire Dutch citizenship. What are the conditions? And how does the procedure work?

​Conditions

You are eligible for option if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are an adult (18 years or older). You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. And you have been living here since your birth with a valid residence permit.
  • You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You have lived here uninterruptedly for at least 3 years with a valid residence permit. And you have had no nationality from birth (you are stateless).
  • You are a minor (younger than 18 years of age). You have been acknowledged by a Dutch citizen. For at least 3 years immediately prior to the option statement, you have been continuously cared for and brought up by this Dutch person. And you are not yet a Dutch citizen by law, through recognition or through a paternity establishment by court.
  • You are an adult. And, from the age of 4, you have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a valid residence permit.
  • You are an adult. You are a former Dutch citizen. And you have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a valid residence permit for at least 1 year. This is a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay.
  • You are married to a Dutch citizen or you are the registered partner of a  Dutch citizen for at least 3 years. And you have lived immediately prior to the confirmation of Dutch citizenship uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 15 years with a valid residence permit.
  • You are 65 years of age or older. And you have lived immediately prior to the confirmation of Dutch citizenship uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 15 years with a valid residence permit.
  • You are a minor. You are under joint guardianship, as a result of a Court decision or by law, exercised by your non-Dutch mother or father and a Dutch citizen.  You have been cared for and brought up by this Dutch person for a period of at least 3 years since the imposition of that guardianship. And you do not live in the country of your citizenship.
  • You were married before 1 January 1985 to a non-Dutch husband and have therefore lost your Dutch nationality. Within 1 year after the dissolution of the marriage, you make an option statement. In this case, the condition of lawful residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not apply.
  • You were born to a Dutch mother or adopted by a Dutch mother before 1 January 1985. And you have a non-Dutch father or adoptive father.

In addition, you meet the following conditions:

  • In the previous 4 years you have not received a prison sentence, training or community service order or paid a large fine for a crime. Nor may there be any 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.
  • Are you 18 years 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.
  • You must make the declaration of solidarity. See below 'The naturalisation ceremony' at 'Steps in the application proces'.

Under special circumstances, children who, in the past, have been acknowledged by law or by establishment of paternity or adopted by a Dutch parent also qualify for the option procedure.

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 legalised and translated birth certificate  from your country of origin.

Other documents may also be necessary. For more information about the documents, please contact your municipality.

 

Steps in the application process

1. Make an option statement and payment

You can fill in the option statement in the municipality where you live. You also fill out a form stating that you will make a declaration of solidarity. You will make this declaration during the naturalisation ceremony.

Payment

The option procedure costs money. You pay when you make the option statement. You must also pay for children who are included with your option statement. Is the option statement not confirmed or do you withdraw your option statement? You will not get any money back.

Establish 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.

Minor children

Your minor child can only apply for Dutch citizenship together with you. You then include your child on the form. Your child must be living in Netherlands at the time of the application and have a valid residence permit. Children of 16 and 17 years of age must be present for the application. They must also indicate that they agree with the application.

2. Decision

The municipality assesses whether you meet all the conditions. The municipality 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, the Mayor will confirm your option statement. You will get an invitation to attend the naturalisation ceremony.


3. The naturalisation ceremony

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

You are obligated to go to the ceremony. Was your child 16 years or older at at the time of the option statement? 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 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.

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.

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 the Dutch nationality.

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