There are three ways to become a Dutch citizen:
- By birth, if at least one of the parents is Dutch. If the parents are not married, the child can get the Dutch nationality if the mother is Dutch. If the parents are not married and only the father has the Dutch nationality, he has to recognize the child before it is born.
- Through the 'optieprocedure', children of immigrants can obtain the Dutch nationality if they were born in or spent most of their lives in the Netherlands.
- Through the naturalization procedure anyone can apply for a Dutch citizenship. The rest of this page will be dedicated to the naturalization procedure.
To obtain the Dutch nationality through naturalization, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- You are 18 years of age or older.
- You have lived (legally) in the Netherlands, the Dutch Antilles or Aruba for a period of at least five years. If you are the spouse or registered partner of a Dutch national, you can already apply for naturalization after three years of marriage or partnership, regardless of your place of residence. The only requirement is that you have lived together for three years.
- You have a Dutch residence permit for a non-temporary purpose (e.g. family reunification or work). A residence permit for a temporary purpose (e.g. studies or medical treatment) is not sufficient.
- You have sufficiently integrated into Dutch society and you can speak, read, write, and understand Dutch. This will be tested in a naturalization exam.
- In the past four years, you have not received a prison sentence or financial fine of an amount exceeding € 2,453.78.
- You are prepared to give up your current citizenship. In some cases, dual citizenship is allowed.
Applying for Dutch citizenship
To apply for naturalization, you have to visit the city hall in the municipality where you live. There, your identity will be verified and your police record checked. Then, your file is sent to the IND together with an advice on whether to grant you the Dutch citizenship or not. If the IND decides that you may become a Dutch citizen, the document will receive the queen's signature and you are officially a Dutch citizen.
The whole procedure can take up to one year and costs something between € 200 and € 450, depending on your income.
You can read more about the naturalization procedure in the IND publication Hoe kunt u Nederlander worden?