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How to acquire Dutch nationality?

There are three pathways to acquire Dutch nationality: through naturalization, an option procedure, or by birth to a Dutch parent.

Navigating the Dutch Citizenship Act can be intricate; the process and requirements for obtaining Dutch nationality vary for each individual case. Numerous rules and exceptions must be considered. Our team of nationality desk lawyers specializes in areas such as naturalization, dual nationality, and option procedures. They can provide guidance, assist with Dutch citizenship applications, and represent you in objection appeals or confirmation procedures.

Different rules apply to diplomats, consulate employees, or those working at international organizations (referred to as "privileged").

1. Naturalization

To be eligible for naturalization, you must meet several conditions:

  • Reside in the Netherlands as your main residence for at least five consecutive years with a valid residence permit.
  • Renounce other nationalities, unless it's not feasible.
  • Obtain a civic integration diploma.
  • Possess a valid passport and birth certificate.
  • Have no criminal convictions.
  • Be at least 18 years old.

The five-year naturalization term requires continuous residency in the Netherlands during this period and timely renewal of your residence permit without any gaps. Your residence permit must be for a non-temporary purpose throughout the entire naturalization procedure, which can extend beyond a year.

In certain cases, the naturalization term may be shortened, such as if you're the partner of a Dutch citizen, married or unmarried, or if you've lived in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit for ten years.

2. Dutch citizenship by option

You can also acquire Dutch nationality through the option procedure if you have a special connection to the Netherlands, such as being a former Dutch citizen or a latent Dutch citizen. This process is faster and less expensive than naturalization and typically doesn't require a civic integration exam or renunciation of your current nationality.

3. Dutch citizenship by birth

A child automatically gains Dutch nationality if one of its parents is Dutch, regardless of where the child is born. This also applies if the child is born to a single Dutch mother. If a child is born out of wedlock to a Dutch father and a non-Dutch mother, an assessment is necessary to determine Dutch citizenship eligibility or the process for obtaining a Dutch passport.

Latent Dutch citizens: If you have a Dutch mother but are not a Dutch national, you may qualify as a latent Dutch citizen. This typically applies if you were born before January 1, 1985, to a Dutch mother and a non-Dutch father. You can obtain Dutch citizenship alongside your current nationality through the option procedure.

Dutch government websites to monitor if you possess a residence permit.

As a holder of a Dutch residence permit, it's essential to regularly check specific Dutch governmental websites. In this guide, we'll outline which sites to monitor and why it's crucial to do so.


This website is directly linked to the BRP system (Basisregistratie persoonsgegevens), which registers population data in the Netherlands. Unlike systems in common law countries, the BRP system is integral here. It's crucial to review your details on regularly.

What to check:

  • Current and previous addresses: Log in with your DigiD and navigate to "identiteit" then "bekijk persoonsgegevens" to view your address history. Ensure your address is registered as a residential address ("woonadres") and not a postal address ("briefadres"). Pay attention to any indication of "Registratie Niet Ingezetenen (RNI)" which implies you may be de-registered, potentially affecting your residency status.
  • Parents' names: Navigate to "familie" to ensure your parents' names are correctly registered. This information is crucial for naturalization applications.
  • Residence history: Under "nationaliteit" and "verblijfstitel," review your residence permit history for accuracy. Discrepancies may need further investigation, especially if your permit status is listed as "geen verblijfstitel (meer)."


This site is vital for highly skilled migrants and European Blue Card holders to monitor their salary payments. It's crucial to ensure timely and accurate payment to avoid issues with immigration authorities.

What to check:

  • Monthly salary details: Navigate to "persoonlijke gegevens" then "loongegevens controleren" to download a PDF reflecting your monthly salary details. Ensure your SV loon (socially insurable salary) aligns with your gross salary. Any discrepancies, especially if the SV salary is unreasonably low or missing, warrant investigation and discussion with your employer.

Regularly monitoring these websites is essential for maintaining compliance with Dutch immigration and nationality laws. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to seek legal advice.

Non-EU family members of an EU citizen: how to get a permanent residence permit?

You are a family member of an EU/EER citizen, holding a Dutch residence card with the text: “residence card for a family member of an EU citizen” (old version) or “Fam. van een burger van de Unie conf. art. 10 Richtl. 2004/38/EG” (new version). Having lived in the Netherlands for five years, you may now seek a permanent residence permit. Here's how you can proceed and what to consider:

EU Directive 2004/38:

Under this directive, non-EU family members of EU citizens can obtain permanent residence after residing in an EU country for five years. This status, termed "permanent stay" in Dutch, differs from the EU long-term stay permit granted under Directive 2003/109. We'll explore whether permanent stay is preferable to EU long-term stay.

Practical Considerations:

While obtaining permanent stay seems straightforward in theory, practical challenges may arise. Since April 2015, the Immigration and Naturalization Department (IND) not only evaluates the five-year residency but also considers continuous fulfillment of other conditions like sustainable income and health insurance. This practice, upheld by the Council of State in November 2017, requires thorough documentation submission, which may vary from other EU countries.

Maintaining Permanent Stay:

Once granted, permanent residence can be lost through absence exceeding two consecutive years. Recent court rulings emphasize the qualitative aspect of absence, complicating matters for those who frequently travel. Merely visiting family in the Netherlands may not suffice to maintain permanent stay status.

Comparison with EU Long-Term Stay:

For EU citizens, permanent stay is the only option after five years. However, non-EU family members have a choice between permanent stay and EU long-term stay. Opting for EU long-term stay offers mobility rights within the EU, enabling independent relocation to other member states. This flexibility contrasts with permanent stay, where relocation often requires accompanying the EU family member.

Considerations for Optimal Choice:

Choosing between permanent stay and EU long-term stay depends on individual circumstances and future plans. While permanent stay grants residency rights, EU long-term stay offers greater mobility and access to favorable treatment in other EU countries.

Navigating these options requires careful evaluation and consideration of long-term goals. Consulting legal experts familiar with Dutch immigration laws can provide valuable guidance in making informed decisions.

An alternative way of acquiring Dutch citizenship

It is commonly known that foreign nationals can, after five years of residence in the Netherlands, apply for Dutch citizenship through naturalisation. The procedure for naturalisation is complex: not only do applicants need to fulfil conditions such as continuous residence, a principal habitual address in the Netherlands, the passing of the civil integration exam and so on, they may also have to wait up to a year before receiving a result.

There is, however, another way to obtain Dutch citizenship besides naturalisation; namely, the ‘option’ procedure (in Dutch: optie). Option could be regarded as an expedited naturalisation, whereby the application is processed by the municipality (the city where you live), rather than the Dutch Immigration Department (IND). Moreover, applicants will be informed of the result within three months of the initial application.

Whether you are eligible to apply for the option procedure, depends on whether you meet any of the

following requirements:

  1. You are an adult. You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and you have been living here since birth. You have a valid residence permit on the date of your option application.
  2. 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).
  3. You are a minor, and 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 citizen. In addition, you are not yet a Dutch citizen by law, through recognition or through a paternity case established by a court.
  4. You are an adult. From the moment you turned 4 years old, you have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Throughout this period, you have had a valid residence permit.
  5. You are an adult and a former Dutch citizen. In addition, you have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 1 year. During this year, you have had a permanent residence permit, or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay.
  6. You are married to a Dutch citizen, or you have been the registered partner of a Dutch citizen for at least 3 years. This marriage or registered partnership is uninterrupted and with the same Dutch citizen. In addition, you have lived uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 15 years, with a valid residence permit, immediately prior to the confirmation of Dutch citizenship.
  7. You are 65 years of age or older. And you have lived uninterruptedly in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 15 years, with a valid residence permit, immediately prior to the confirmation of Dutch citizenship.
  8. You were adopted by a Dutch woman before 1 January 1985. The adoption was declared valid by a court within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  9. You are a minor and under joint guardianship, as a result of a Court decision or by law, exercised by your non-Dutch mother or father together with 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. In addition, you do not live in the country where you have citizenship.
  10. You were married before 1 January 1985 to a non-Dutch husband and have therefore lost your Dutch nationality. You are making an option statement within 1 year after the dissolution of the marriage. In this case, the condition of lawful residence in the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not apply.
  11. You were born to a Dutch mother before 1 January 1985. At the time of your birth your father did not have Dutch nationality.

Dual Nationality

Although Dutch immigration law prohibits dual and multi-nationalities for Dutch citizens unless it is impossible for them to renounce these other nationalities, a few exceptions to this rule exist. Specifically if the applicant is recognised as a refugee in the Netherlands, or the applicant has a marital or registered relationship with a Dutch citizen, then it is possible for these individuals to have dual nationality. Nonetheless, there is another way to acquire dual nationality, namely through the option procedure, specifically under circumstances as set out in point 5 of the eligibility list. Under certain circumstances, this can be done by renunciation and re-acquisition of Dutch citizenship. However, this is an inordinately technical procedure.

Acquiring Dutch Nationality with Interrupted Residence?

If none of the abovementioned prerequisites of option apply to you, or your residence in the Netherlands was interrupted during the five-year stay, you may still be able to apply for Dutch citizenship. Pursuant to Article 8 of Dutch Nationality Law (Rijkswet op het Nederlandschap), individuals who have been resident in the Netherlands for ten years without residential interruption during the two years previous to the application, are also eligible for the acquisition of Dutch citizenship through naturalisation.

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