By obtaining the Dutch nationality you are entitled to some benefits and you will receive certain responsibilities. Some examples are:
- You can obtain a Dutch passport (for a certain fee);
- You are able to live and work in every country within the European Union;
- You are able to vote in the general Dutch elections;
- You are no longer a foreigner.
Becoming a Dutch national
It is important to demonstrate your knowledge of the Dutch society, language, and culture by successfully passing the Dutch Immigration and Citizenship Test (Inburgeringstoets).
In the Netherlands there are two procedures for obtaining the Dutch nationality: the option procedure (optieprocedure) and naturalisation (naturalisatie). If you are not sure which procedure to follow you can find more information on the website of the IND (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst).
The option procedure is a simplified version of the naturalisation. In order to go through with it, you must meet certain requirements stated by the IND. You must apply for it at your local municipal office where it will be examined.
The documents must be in Dutch, English, French or German. If they are in another language they must be translated and legalised. The following are required:
- A valid travel document (such as a passport)
- A valid residence permit
- Birth certificate
Depending on the municipality, you may be required to present more documents. Before going through with the process, make sure to call beforehand and ask.
The cost of the procedure varies depending on the purpose of stay or whether you are including children in your application or not. You can see the costs here. The fee must be paid upon submitting the application. For rejected applications note that the fee will not be refunded.
If your application is successful, you will receive a letter from the mayor confirming your citizenship and subsequently receive an invitation from your municipality to attend a citizenship ceremony. This is not optional, as you must attend and take an oath of allegiance, declaring that you will abide by the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Once you have formally received the decision, you are free to apply for a Dutch passport.
Rejected applications will receive a letter explaining the reasons; there is a possibility of lodging an objection.
It is important to remember that you may be required to renounce to your current nationality by Dutch law or by the laws of your country of origin. Before processing your naturalisation, make sure you check if this is something you will need to do.
The option procedure takes about 3 months to be completed.
In the event that you are not eligible for the option procedure mentioned above, you must apply for naturalisation if you want to obtain the Dutch nationality. There are also certain requirements you must meet in order to go through with this procedure, and you can find them here.
In order to apply for naturalisation, you must have lived in the Netherlands for 5 years, uninterrupted. A few exceptions exist (such as being married to a Dutch national, being stateless, are the child of a Dutch national, amongst others).
Along with your application, you must present the following documents in English, Dutch, German or French (by a sworn translator and legalised):
- A valid travel document, such as a passport
- A valid residence permit
- Birth certificate
- A Civic Integration Certificate or similar diploma
You may be required to present further documents. Make sure you contact your local municipality before going through with the procedure to make sure you have everything you need.
The naturalisation request is quite expensive, at €829 per single application. Please note that rejected applications do not receive a refund of the cost, which must be paid upfront when submitting the application. Make sure that you have covered all the requirements beforehand.
Just like with the option procedure, you will be notified by letter of the approval of your application. You must then attend the naturalisation ceremony and pledge allegiance to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
For the naturalisation process you must renounce to your current nationality. In order to do so, you must arrange to meet with the proper authorities in your country to declare that you are renouncing your nationality. There are a few exceptions, which you can read here. If any of these exceptions apply to you, you must notify your municipality when you submit your application. They will then decide whether it is applicable or not. This needs to be done beforehand; once you have received your Dutch nationality, you may not claim any of the exceptions.
The naturalisation process takes approximately 1 year.
Change of name
Take into account that you may be required to change your name, or at least part of it. This needs to be arranged before becoming a Dutch citizen. If you are not required to change it, you may request to do so if it something you want.
This may only be necessary when:
- Yo do not have a first or last name;
- Your last name is the same as your first name;
- Your name is difficult to write in Dutch or difficult for Dutch people to pronounce.
For further information contact your local municipality or look through the IND website which has all the information and contact details you may require for any procedure.