Dual citizenship: Regaining your original nationality
Have you been living in the Netherlands for the past five years? You might be eligible for naturalisation. What are your possibilities to obtain dual nationality? Everaert Advocaten, a respected leader in Dutch migration and nationality law, explains one specific route towards dual citizenship.
When you file an application for naturalisation, in principle, you must declare that you are willing to renounce your original nationality (or nationalities). This obligation does not apply if:
- You are exempted from the renunciation requirement (for example as the spouse / registered partner of a Dutch citizen)
- You cannot renounce your original nationality because the laws in your country of origin do not allow this
- You lose your original nationality automatically when you obtain Dutch nationality
However, if none of the regular exemptions to the renunciation requirement applies to you and it is possible to give up your original nationality, you have to comply with the renunciation requirement. If you are a national of Egypt, Georgia, Libya, Mauritania, Uganda, Austria, Sri Lanka or South Africa, you also have to sign a declaration confirming that you did not ask or will not ask the authorities in your country of origin for permission to keep your original nationality.
Renouncing your original nationality
After your application for naturalisation has been approved and you have participated in a (written or public) naturalisation ceremony, you are officially a Dutch citizen. Consequently, you will receive a letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (usually within three to six months) in which they ask you to submit proof that you have renounced or are in the process of renouncing your original nationality (or nationalities). You must submit the proof within a certain period, usually three months. Under certain conditions, it is possible to ask for an extension of this deadline.
After you have submitted the proof that you officially renounced your original nationality and the Immigration and Naturalisation Service approved the document(s), they will close your naturalisation file. From that moment onwards you are only a Dutch citizen.
Regaining your original nationality
If you would like to regain your original nationality after you renounced it as part of your naturalisation procedure in the Netherlands, you must first check if your country of origin allows you to regain your nationality while also retaining your Dutch nationality. However, before you regain your original nationality, you also need to verify if you are eligible to keep your Dutch nationality.
Keeping your Dutch nationality when you regain your original nationality
The main rule is that you will automatically lose your Dutch nationality if you voluntarily regain your original nationality. However, there are three exceptions to this rule:
You were born in the country of your original nationality and have your main residence in that country at the moment you regain that nationality
You can prove that you were born in the country of your original nationality with a birth certificate (if necessary: legalised and translated). To prove main residency, you could submit a combination of documents, for example proof of registration in that country, a deed / rental / employment contract, electricity bills, tax statements, etcetera.
You lived in the country of your original nationality for at least five uninterrupted years before you turned 18
You can prove this with, for example, a certificate of enrolment at an educational institution / school reports or the documents mentioned under the first exception above.
You are married to someone who holds your original nationality
You can prove this with a marriage certificate (if necessary: legalised and translated) and proof of the nationality of your spouse (for example, a passport). Note that a registered partnership concluded in the Netherlands or - under certain conditions - abroad is equivalent to marriage in this case.
It is important that you can show that one of the three exceptions is applicable to you. Otherwise, the Dutch authorities will conclude that you lost your Dutch nationality automatically on the day you regained your original nationality. If this happens, there may be possibilities to regain your Dutch nationality, depending on your personal circumstances.
Other routes to becoming a dual citizen
In many cases, there is also another route available to become a dual citizen after you have obtained Dutch nationality through naturalisation. This procedure is (usually) lengthier, more complex and is dependent on your residence history in the Netherlands.
If you have any questions relating to dual citizenship after naturalisation or the naturalisation procedure in general, please feel free to contact Mirjam den Besten, attorney-at-law at Everaert Advocaten, at [email protected]. If you would like to read more about dual citizenship through birth or option please read their earlier article on dual citizenship in the Netherlands.