More Civic Integration tests for migrants who want to stay in the Netherlands

More Civic Integration tests for migrants who want to stay in the Netherlands

Immigrants in the Netherlands may have to take two new exams before they can gain an indefinite residence permit. Previously, a Dutch as a Second Language State Exam was enough to integrate into society, but this is no longer the case.

Routes to integration in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands there are two ways to integrate into society. One calls for a Civic Integration Exam (Inburgeringsexamen), and the other a Dutch as a Second Language State Exam (Staatsexamens NT2). In preparation for both exam programmes, courses on Dutch language and culture can be followed.

Civic Integration Exam

Before 2015, this programme consisted of 5 tests. It now consists of 6 tests, as the exam "Orientation of the Dutch Labour market" has been added. To pass the Civic Integration Exam the candidate must have an A2 level knowledge of Dutch.

Dutch as a Second Language State Exam

These exams require a higher level of Dutch, and are often a prerequisite to higher education in the Netherlands. Many jobs in the Netherlands may also call for employees to have taken one of the State Exams. As with the other route, the State Exam option has changed in the past few years in terms of the tests that have to be taken in order for the State Exam to count towards civic integration.

Since 2015, two exams have been added to the State Exam. If you are required to integrate from 2015 onwards, you will need to take the “Knowledge of the Dutch Society, and Orientation of the Dutch Labour Market” exams.

Confusion about who the new rules apply to

There has been some confusion regarding who must take these new exams. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) states that those who have already passed the State Exams should contact the DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs) regarding their integration certificate, as they may also have to take the additional exams.

On the DUO website, they explain that those who were obliged to integrate, followed one of the two routes for integration, and passed the necessary tests before 2015, do not have to take any additional tests. However, those needing to integrate after 2015 must take the new tests.

Those who must integrate will receive a letter from the DUO with a date regarding their integration. You will be allowed three years’ time to pass the appropriate exams. Should you wish to extend a residence permit, you will be treated as a “new” case and will have to comply with the new rules, according to the IND spokesperson.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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