How to become a Dutch National

Foreigners legally resident in the Netherlands for a certain period of time can file an application to become a Dutch citizen, if they have sufficient command of the Dutch language and a valid birth certificate. Generally, this means renouncing previous nationality(ies).

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
  • You have to renounce previous nationality(ies)

Becoming a Dutch national

Further, 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 naturalization ( naturalisatie). If you are not sure which procedure to follow you can find more information on the website of the IND ( Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst):

Option procedure

You will have to take an option declaration ( optieverklaring) at your local municipal office (branch: Burgerzaken) en they will examine your application. If your application is accepted you will be granted the Dutch nationality and you will be invited for a naturalization ceremony. During this obligatory ceremony you will receive a written confirmation of your Dutch nationality. In total, the option procedure will take about 3 months.


For obtaining the Dutch nationality through naturalization you should – together with a civil servant at the municipal office (branch: Burgerzaken) – fill in an application form. If you are not in the Netherlands you have to do this at the Dutch embassy or consulate. Your application will be looked into by the municipality, embassy or consulate who will submit an advice to the IND.

The IND will make a decision and will – when this is a positive one – symbolically recommend you to the Queen. She will sign a document verifying your proposal to become Dutch. You will be invited for the obligatory naturalization ceremony where you will receive a written confirmation of your Dutch nationality. Often this means that you will have to renounce previous nationality(ies). However, this is not always the case. Be sure what counts for you before starting the procedures.

If the IND rejects your application you can appeal against this decision. In total, the naturalization procedure can take between 6 to 12 months.

Requirements for application

To be eligible for the Dutch nationality you are required to bring the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid long term residency permit
  • An official birth certificate
  • An official marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • The result of the Dutch Immigration and Citizenship Test which will exempt you from further testing (if applicable)

It is possible that the motivation of your stay obliges you to fulfill additional requirements. You should check this thoroughly on the website of the IND: .

Further reading

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