Dual citizenship in the Netherlands
Everaert Advocaten is a respected leader in Dutch migration law. Based in Amsterdam, its multilingual team advises expats on residency and migration-related legal issues.
There are three ways to obtain Dutch nationality and subsequently a Dutch passport: through naturalisation, the option procedure and being born to Dutch parents. Naturalisation is the most widely used way for expats to obtain a Dutch passport.
Naturalisation and dual citizenship
The following requirements apply to naturalisation:
- You must have had main residency in the Netherlands for a minimum of five consecutive years, based on a valid residence permit. You must hold a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose at the moment you file the application for naturalisation and during the time your application is pending.
- You must be over 18 years old, identify yourself using a birth certificate and prove your nationality with a valid passport.
- You must have passed four Dutch language exams - reading, writing, speaking and listening at A2 level - as well as the Knowledge of Dutch Society and Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market tests, resulting in a civic integration diploma. Please note that you can be exempted from the Dutch Labour Market test under certain conditions.
- You must not have any criminal convictions to your name in the five years immediately preceding your naturalisation request.
- You must do your utmost to renounce your other nationality / nationalities.
- You must agree to make a declaration of solidarity during a naturalisation ceremony.
Important to note is that partners of Dutch citizens can apply for naturalisation after three years. Spouses and registered partners of Dutch citizens can apply for naturalisation from abroad if they live in a country other than the country of their original nationality.
Dual citizenship and multiple passports
The Dutch government aims to limit dual citizenship as much as possible. For this reason, it is mandatory to renounce other nationalities when becoming a Dutch citizen. However, there are quite some exceptions to this general rule. Some are explicit; some are more covert and depend on one’s particular circumstances.
The main, explicit ones are:
- You are married or have a registered partnership with a Dutch national.
- You were born in the Netherlands and live in the Netherlands at the time of your application for naturalisation.
- You are younger than 18 and participating in the naturalisation or option procedure of your parents.
- You have a residence permit for asylum.
- The country of your current nationality does not allow you to renounce your nationality. Please note that there are 23 nationalities worldwide that cannot be renounced at the moment.
- Renunciation is not possible due to special and objectively verifiable reasons.
One way towards dual citizenship is a bit more “hidden” in the Dutch Citizenship Act. I often refer to it as the “loophole procedure”. Once you have obtained Dutch citizenship and you have renounced your other nationality, you can reclaim your lost nationality whilst keeping Dutch citizenship if you are:
- Married to someone who holds your lost nationality; or
- If you were born in the country of your lost nationality and you reside there again at the moment you reclaim your lost nationality; or
- If you lived in the country of your lost nationality for more than 5 years before you turned 18.
In these situations, you will become a dual national.
Option procedure and dual citizenship
The option procedure to obtain a Dutch passport is meant for those who have a strong connection to the Netherlands and are therefore deemed to be sufficiently integrated. For example:
- Former Dutch citizens, living in the Netherlands for at least one year with a valid residence permit for a non-temporary goal.
- Adults legally living in the Netherlands from the age of 4 or who were born in the Netherlands.
- Spouses of Dutch citizens married for more than three years and legally living in the Netherlands for more than 15 years.
- Anyone who has lived in the Netherlands legally for 15 years and is over 65.
- Children born before 1985 to a Dutch mother and a foreign father, so-called “latent Dutch citizens”.
The option procedure is faster and less expensive than the naturalisation procedure. A civic integration exam is not required. In most option procedures, except the one mentioned under the second bullet point, there is no renunciation requirement. This means that most option procedures result in dual citizenship.
Dutch citizenship by birth
Since 1985, children obtain Dutch nationality by birth if one of their parents is Dutch. This birthright, or ius sanguinis, also applies when a child is born to a single Dutch mother. Before 1985, you were only born Dutch if your legal father was Dutch. In 2010, the option procedure for latent Dutch citizens was introduced to repair this unequal treatment between men and women in Dutch citizenship.
Continue to have multiple passports
Under the current Dutch Citizenship Act, you can keep dual nationality and multiple passports for as long as you live, provided you always carry a valid Dutch passport or identity card and do not voluntarily obtain another nationality.
If you have any questions relating to dual citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact Hermie de Voer from Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers. Hermie will gladly answer all of your questions.