Who can apply for option?
You are eligible to apply for Dutch nationality with a request for option. One of these situations apply to you:
- You live in the Netherlands with a residence permit.
- You live in the Netherlands as an EU national. An EU national is someone who has the nationality of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland.
- You live outside the Netherlands or in the Netherlands Caribbean with a residence permit. The Netherlands Caribbean consists of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten and three special municipalities: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The application procedure for becoming a Dutch national if you live outside the Netherlands is different to the application procedure if you live in the Netherlands. Read more about becoming a Dutch national if you live outside the Netherlands or in the Netherlands Caribbean.
Advantages and disadvantages becoming a Dutch national
Becoming a Dutch national is not something you should do lightly. It is a very important decision. Think carefully about what it means for you to become a Dutch national, as becoming a Dutch national has certain advantages and disadvantages.
When is option possible?
Not everyone can become a Dutch national through option. You can only apply for option in one of these situations.
You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlandsopen minus
You are a minoropen minus
You are an adultopen minus
You were born, adopted or married before 1 January 1985open minus
You are a former Dutch citizen and you automatically lost your Dutch nationality and EU citizenshipopen minus
For this application you must meet these requirements:
- Your personal situation is listed under: Who can apply for option?
- You can prove your identity and nationality with valid documents.
- You are not a danger to the public order or national security of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
- You must be willing to make the declaration of solidarity during the naturalisation ceremony. By making the declaration of solidarity, you agree that the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also apply to you.
- Are you making an option application on the grounds of having lived in the Netherlands from the age of 4? If so, you must renounce your current nationality. Find out if you are required to renounce your nationality and what that means for you before you make your option application.
Option and children
You and your children can apply for Dutch citizenship together if the children are minors. You must state this when you complete your option application. Your children must be living in the Netherlands at the time of the application and have a valid residence permit. Children of 16 and 17 years of age must be present when you make your application. They must indicate that they agree with the application.
Application for naturalisation of a newly born child
Is your child born during the application process? By ‘application process’ we mean the period between making the application and the decision on obtaining Dutch nationality. You can still submit an application for naturalisation (in Dutch: na-naturalisatie) for your child. Your child must live in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay. If you apply for your child within 1 year of obtaining Dutch nationality, the application for your child’s naturalisation is free.
Documents that you need
You will need to produce certain documents to show that you meet the conditions for option. Official foreign documents must be legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German. If you have already used foreign documents in the Netherlands and they have been registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP), you do not need to obtain and legalise these documents again.
Documents you will always need to provide
- A valid passport or other travel document.
- A birth certificate from your country of origin.
- A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence.
No passport or birth certificate
You can obtain a passport or birth certificate by applying to the government of your country of birth. However, if you cannot do this or if you are unable to obtain a passport or birth certificate, you may be granted an exemption due to lack of documentary evidence. Find out more about lack of documentary evidence.
It depends on your situation if you need to show extra documents. Please contact your municipality for more information.
Apply for option at your municipality
You must submit your application for option to the municipality where you live. An employee of the municipality will discuss all the conditions with you and check whether you have all the required documents. If something is missing or you need to look into a particular matter, the municipality will make another appointment for you.
Completing the application form
You complete the application form together with the municipal employee. You must also complete the following forms:
- Statement that you will make the declaration of solidarity. By making the declaration of solidarity, you agree that the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also apply to you.
- If you are required to renounce your current nationality: a statement that you will renounce your nationality when you have become a Dutch national.
- If you request an exemption from renouncing your current nationality: a statement to the effect that you do not wish to renounce your nationality and the reasons why.
Option for childeren
Do you have children under the age of 18? And you wish to include them in your application for option? Please mention this at the time of the appointment. Your children will then be included in the application. Children aged 12 and above must accompany you on your visit to the municipality to make the application. Your children will then tell the official what they think about the naturalisation. If your children are aged 16 or 17, they must also indicate that they agree to becoming Dutch nationals.
Establishing or changing your name
Your name may need to be formally established. This means that an agreement is reached on what your surname and first name will be. Establishing your name is required if you do not have a last name or a first name, for example if you have just one name or multiple names without a distinction between the last name and first names.
You can also ask the municipality to change your last name. 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 acquired your husband’s surname through marriage and you wish to change that name to your maiden name.
Decision on your application
The municipality assesses your option application. The municipality has 13 weeks to decide on your option application. This period is referred to as the decision period and is specified in law.
Positive or negative decision
Once the municipality has assessed your application you will receive a decision by letter. The decision will be either positive or negative.
- Positive decision: the municipality has given its approval to you becoming a Dutch national. However, this letter does not make you a Dutch national immediately. Find out what you still need to do to become a Dutch national.
- Negative decision: you will not obtain Dutch nationality. The decision will state the reasons for the negative decision.
Apply for review of the decision
You can apply for review of the decision. The decision letter explains how to do this.
The municipality decides late
Has the decision period passed and you have still not received a decision on your application or review? Then the municipality is late in deciding. Find out what you can do if the municipality is late with its decision (only available in Dutch).
- Becoming a Dutch national through naturalisation
- Becoming a Dutch national abroad
- Recouning your nationality
- Brochure How to become a Dutch citizen (only avalailabe in Dutch)
- Brochure You become a Dutch national. What you may and must do (only available in Dutch)
- Brochure Declaration of solidarity (only available n Dutch: Verklaring van verbondenheid) (Dutch government)
- Frequently asked questions Dutch citizenship
Rules and regulations
- Chapter 3 Netherlands Nationality Act (in Dutch: Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap) (only available in Dutch)
- Article 28 Netherlands Nationality Act (in Dutch: Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap) (only available in Dutch)
Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst