Civic integration for more secure residence permit and naturalisation

Last update: 31 October 2022

Do you want to apply for a permanent residence permit (regular or asylum), a residence permit long-term resident EU or for a residence permit humanitarian non-temporary? Or become a Dutch national through naturalisation? Then you usually have to fulfil the integration requirement, which means that you must integrate before the application. You can prove this with a civic integration diploma. Read more about the integration requirement and the exemptions and dispensations. 

Civic integration diploma: secure residence permit requirement

Do you want to apply for a permanent residence permit (regular or asylum), a residence permit long-term resident EU or a residence permit humanitarian non-temporary? Then you usually have to fulfil the integration requirement. That means you first have to pass the civic integration examination. After passing, you receive a civic integration diploma. With the diploma, you can apply for a residence permit.

The IND assesses the integration requirement. The integration requirement is not the same as the obligation to participate in a civic integration obligation (in Dutch: inburgeringsplicht).

Exemption or dispensation from the civic integration requirement

Sometimes you can get an exemption or dispensation from the integration requirement. In this case, an integration diploma is not required for a more secure right of residence. You may qualify for an exemption or dispensation if any of the following applies to you: 

  • You already obtained the civic integration diploma. 
  • You have the civic integration certificate of the Civic Integration Act 2021 (Wi 2021).
  • You have Belgian or Luxembourg nationality.
  • You are under 18 years of age or you are of statutory pensionable age or older
  • You have Turkish nationality or are a family member of a person with Turkish nationality. The non-registered (unmarried) partner is not considered a family member.
  • You lived in the Netherlands for eight years or more during your school-age.
  • You have a document exemption from the civic integration requirement. The relevant documents are mentioned in the
  • You are unable to be at the civic integration examination on medical grounds. You can prove this with a document. The relevant documents are mentioned in the

  • You can prove that you are sufficiently integrated. You can prove this with a document. The relevant documents are mentioned in the 
  • Despite efforts made, you cannot pass the civic integration examination. You can prove this with a recommendation from the Education Implementation Service (DUO). This requirement only applies if you fall under the Wi 2013.
  • Due to particular individual circumstances, you cannot pass the civic integration examination. And you can prove this, find out more in the 

Ask for exemption or dispensation

You can ask for an exemption or dispensation from the integration requirement as follows:

  1. See if you meet any of the requirements to get an exemption or dispensation.
  2. Collect the evidence. Such as a diploma, certificate, medical opinion, or another document.
  3. Fill in the
  4. Send the Appendix and (certified) copies of the evidence with the application. A certified copy has a date, signature, and stamp. With a certified copy, an authority declares that the contents of the copy correspond with the original. Never send the original. Do you apply at an IND desk? In that case, show the original documents. 
  5. The IND will examine your documents and personal situation and assess whether we will grant you an exemption or dispensation.

Civic integration diploma: naturalisation requirement

Do you want to become a Dutch national through naturalisation? In this case you must first pass the civic integration examination, also known as the naturalisation test. After passing, you will receive a civic integration diploma. With the diploma, you can apply for naturalisation.

Exemption or dispensation from the civic integration requirement 

Sometimes you do not have to pass the civic integration examination as a requirement for naturalisation. You have exemption or dispensation from the integration requirement. You can also get a partial exemption. Then you do not have to do all the parts of the civic integration examination. In the brochure Civic integration examination: requirement for naturalisation (only available in Dutch) you can read when you can get a (partial) exemption.

Ask for exemption or dispensation

You can ask for an exemption or dispensation from the integration requirement as follows:
1.    See in the brochure Civic integration examination: requirement for naturalisation (only available in Dutch) if you meet any of the requirements to get an exemption or dispensation. 


2.    Collect the original evidence, such as a diploma, certificate, medical opinion, or another document. 
3.    Discuss the original evidence with the municipality where you are applying for naturalisation. The municipality does not assess copies. 
4.    The municipality assesses the evidence and advises whether or not you have to pass the civic integration examination.

Naturalisation from abroad 

Do you want to become a Dutch national through naturalisation from abroad? You first have to pass the civic integration examination, also known as the naturalisation test. You will take the naturalisation test either in the Netherlands or at the Dutch representation (embassy or consulate) abroad.

Do you want more information on the integration requirement for naturalisation from abroad? Then please read the brochure Civic integration examination: requirement for naturalisation from abroad (only available in Dutch)

Language level remains A2 in 2022

The Dutch government plans to increase the language requirement to apply for more secure residence permits and naturalisation from level A2 to level B1. Expectations are, however, that the increase to level B1 will not take place in 2022. Therefore, until further notice, the language requirement will remain level A2 in 2022.

Civic integration obligation (inburgeringsplicht) in the Netherlands

You sometimes have to integrate in the Netherlands immediately after your first residence permit. You are then obliged to participate in a civic integration programme, which means you have to participate in Dutch language and society courses. You have three years to integrate. The Dutch Implementation of Education Service (in Dutch: Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs or DUO) deals with the civic integration obligation. You can read all about the civic integration obligation at inburgeren.nl/en.

Civic Integration Act 2021 (Wi 2021)

Are you obliged to participate in a civic integration programme on or after 1 January 2022? Then the Wi 2021 applies to you. According to the Wi 2021, municipalities play an essential part in your civic integration obligation. The municipality, among other things, helps you to find a integration programme that fits you.