Exceptions to the 5-year term for naturalisation in the Netherlands

Last update: 15 June 2022

You want to apply for naturalisation. A requirement for naturalisation is that you have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 5 years. Find out when this requirement does not apply to you.

Naturalisation without staying in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Do you not live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands? You can apply for naturalisation if one of these situations apply to you:

  • At the time you apply, you are either married to a Dutch citizen or the registered partner of a Dutch citizen. You have lived together for at least 3 years as married or registered  partners. You will remain married and continue to live together during the whole naturalisation process. Did you live in the Kingdom together with your partner immediately before your marriage or registered partnership? You may also count this period. Your partner must have the Dutch nationality at the time that you apply for naturalisation. Your partner does not always, need to have been a Dutch national in the 3 years before.  
  • You had the Dutch nationality and lost it. Then sometimes you can also become a Dutch national through option.
  • You were adopted in the Kingdom of the Netherlands when you were already an adult. At least one of your adoptive parents had Dutch nationality during your adoption.
  • You are Moluccan and fall under the special Act on the position of Moluccans, the Wet betreffende positie van Molukkers of 9 September 1976.

Do one of these situations apply to you but you do live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands? Then you can also apply for naturalisation.

Naturalisation after 2 years in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Have you been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands continuously for 2 years? And did you have a valid residence permit or valid residency under EU law during the entire time? In that case you can apply for naturalisation if you also lived in the Kingdom before. At the time you apply, you must have lived in the Kingdom for a total of 10 years or more. During all that time you must have had a valid residence permit. Or you had valid residency under EU law.

Naturalisation after 3 years in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

What if you already lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands continuously for 3 years? And did you have a valid residence permit or valid residency under EU law the entire time? Then you can apply for naturalisation if one of these situations apply to you.

  • At the time you apply, you have already lived, married/as registered partner or unmarried, in the Kingdom together for 3 years with the same Dutch partner. You will continue living together as partners during the whole naturalisation process. Your partner must have Dutch nationality when you apply for naturalisation. Your partner does not always need to have been a Dutch national in the 3 years before.
  • You were recognised or legitimised by a Dutch national as an adult.
  • You were recognised or legitimised by a Dutch national as a minor child. You are now an adult. Sometimes the term of valid residency in the Kingdom may be less than 3 continuous years. You may deduct the period during which you were brought up and cared for by the Dutch national after he or she recognised or legitimised you from the 3 years. Then this must be an uninterrupted period that runs until the day on which you turn 18.  
  • You are an adult. Your application for co-naturalisation was rejected because you were 18 during your parents’ application for naturalisation. The term of 3 continuous years in the Kingdom must have started before you turned 18.
  • You are stateless. You are also registered as such in the Personal Records Database (BRP).

Valid residence permit required during process

Do you live in the Netherlands when you apply for naturalisation? In that case you must continue living in the Netherlands during the whole naturalisation process. And you must have a valid residence permit. This may be a permanent residence permit. Or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary residence purpose. Or you are allowed under EU law to reside in the Netherlands long term (non-temporarily).
 

Naturalisation abroad: no residence permit, but requirements to be met

Are you in a situation where you do not have to live in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in order to apply for naturalisation? In that case you do not need a Dutch residence permit. But you must meet the requirements that apply to a residence permit with a non-temporary residence purpose. When you apply for naturalisation, the IND checks whether you meet those requirements.


You cannot apply for naturalisation in the country of which you have the nationality. For example: you have the nationality of the United States of America (USA) and you live in the USA. You cannot apply for naturalisation in the USA.