Everything You Need to Know About How to Become a Dutch Citizen

Becoming a Dutch citizen brings with it numerous benefits, including being able to live and work anywhere in the European Union without restriction, among other perks. To learn everything you need to know about how to get Dutch citizenship, check out this helpful guide.

Everything You Need to Know About How to Become a Dutch Citizen

The Netherlands is quite unique in that it offers Dutch citizenship to people born outside of the country, to people who live abroad and have certain ties to the Netherlands, and to people who are married to Dutch citizens. Becoming a Dutch citizen is not something to be taken lightly, as it’s not an easy or quick process. The Netherlands has strict citizenship requirements, so you need to be aware of all the steps involved in order to ensure your application succeeds.

There are many benefits to obtaining Dutch citizenship, and although the process can be long and somewhat tedious, it’s worth the effort if you spend enough time in the Netherlands or have other reasons to stay in the country on a permanent basis. Here’s what you need to know about how to become a Dutch citizen.

What is Dutch Citizenship?

Dutch citizenship is a legal status that entails citizens with specific rights, duties, protections, and benefits in the Netherlands. Dutch citizenship means you’ll be able to live in Germany indefinitely. citizenship is conferred primarily by birth to a Dutch parent, irrespective of place of birth. Children born in the Netherlands to two foreign parents do not acquire Dutch citizenship at birth unless special criteria are met.

In order to gain citizenship in the Netherlands, you will have to fulfill a number of requirements. It is not always as simple as moving there and filling out paperwork; many candidates are rejected simply because they don’t meet all of the Netherlands’ citizenship requirements. Though gaining Dutch citizenship can be a lengthy process, it will ultimately benefit your entire family as well. If you want to become a citizen of the Netherlands, read on for everything you need to know about how to become a Dutch citizen. 

Note that becoming a Dutch citizen may take several years, so plan accordingly. Even after meeting all of these requirements, if you’re denied citizenship, you may appeal the decision within six months. If your application is rejected again, you can then appeal it in court. If you are granted citizenship and then become an official resident of The Netherlands for five consecutive years, you will be eligible for full citizenship.

Types of Dutch Citizenship

There are three types of Dutch citizenship:

  • Naturalization: You have lived in the Netherlands (or the Dutch Caribbean) for an uninterrupted five-year period and you meet other conditions that are mentioned below.
  • The option procedure: If you have continuously lived in the Netherlands since birth or early childhood, or if you meet other requirements that qualify you as eligible for the option procedure.
  • By law (by birth or family relations): If you are born to a Dutch father or mother, if your Dutch father acknowledges paternity, or if you are adopted by Dutch parents then you can apply for Dutch citizenship by law.

However, the two main paths to getting Dutch citizenship are option procedure and nationalization.

Dutch Citizenship by Option Procedure

The option procedure is a simpler and quicker way of acquiring Dutch citizenship compared to naturalization. Thus, it is worth seeing if you qualify for the process. Moreover, there are certain advantages to applying for Dutch citizenship through this process over the naturalization procedure. They include:

  • there are fewer requirements to apply;
  • the process is usually quicker, taking up to three months instead of one year;
  • fees are also cheaper than the naturalization application.

However, find out whether you can get Dutch citizenship by option. You are eligible to apply for Dutch nationality with a request for an option. One of these situations applies to you:

  • You live in the Netherlands with a residence permit.
  • You live in the Netherlands or a Dutch territory as an EU national. An EU national is someone who has the nationality of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland. The application procedure for becoming a Dutch national if you live outside the Netherlands is different from the application procedure if you live in the Netherlands.
  • Moreover, you have been married to or lived with a Dutch citizen for at least three years and have lived in the Netherlands for at least 25 years.

Dutch Citizenship by Naturalization

If you live in The Netherlands and have been legally resident for five years, you can become a Dutch citizen through naturalization. You’ll need to prove that you have adequate finances and health insurance, among other things. Naturalization is a process, which makes it possible for a foreigner to become a Dutch citizen.


However, to become a Dutch citizen, you can become naturalized if you have lived legally in the Netherlands for 5 years. Applications for naturalization are made to your municipality. They will send the application to the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

Requirements for Dutch Naturalization

Furthermore, you must have a valid residence permit, but must also meet the following conditions.

  • You are more than 18 years old.
  • You have lived legally in the Netherlands or the Dutch Caribbean (Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, Saba, Aruba, Curaçao, or Saint Martin) for an uninterrupted five-year period (some exceptions apply, see below).
  • You hold a valid Dutch residence permit or a residence permit for a non-temporary purpose.
  • You can speak, read, write and understand Dutch. To prove this you must have passed the Dutch Civic Integration Exam at the A-2 level. Exceptions to this requirement are possible if you have already received an equivalent diploma such as the NT2 State Exam.
  • You have not received a prison sentence, community training, or fine of 810 euros or more in the last four years.
  • You are willing to give up your current nationality (some exceptions apply, see the section on dual nationality below). If you do not do this your new Dutch citizenship may be revoked.
  • You must attend a citizenship ceremony at which you must declare your allegiance to the Netherlands.

How to Become a Dutch Citizen Through Naturalization

Applications for Dutch citizenship are made through your local municipality, where you will have to pay the fees upfront. The municipality will check your details and send your request with a recommendation from the mayor to the IND. The IND then decides whether you can become a Dutch citizen. The decision-making process takes a maximum of 12 months.

However, if you live abroad, you can apply for Dutch citizenship at a Dutch embassy or consulate general. If you are applying for naturalization, you also have to pass the civic integration examination beforehand, which you can also take at a Dutch embassy or consulate-general.

Moreover, the following documents will be required:

  • Passport
  • Residence permit
  • Birth certificate and those of your children (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Civic integration certificate or another diploma.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Dutch Citizen?

The Netherlands has relatively low naturalization fees. Here is the cost of becoming a Dutch citizen:

Naturalization request 1 person € 945.00
Naturalization request together with partner € 1206.00
​Co-naturalize children younger than 18 €139.00
Request by a stateless person or asylum permit holder €703.00
Request by a stateless person or permit holder asylum together with partner  € 965.00
Option request 1 person € 200.00
Option request together with partner €342.00
Co-opting child younger than 18 € 22.00

However, you can always check the latest fees, as application fees for Dutch citizenship are typically reviewed at the beginning of the year and/or mid-year.

Additional Notes

Furthermore, if your application is successful, then you will need to attend a naturalization ceremony. You can only become a Dutch national once you have attended the ceremony. This includes a solidarity declaration, that states the freedoms and rights of Dutch citizenship and also the obligations and duties, and you need to declare (in Dutch) your allegiance to uphold Dutch law.

Moreover, the naturalization ceremony is an annual event, it is compulsory to attend the ceremony. You will have to apply for citizenship all over again if you fail to do so. Meanwhile, at the naturalization ceremony, you will receive a declaration of your Dutch citizenship, after which you will use to apply for your Dutch passport.

Final Thoughts

There’s plenty of information online about how to apply for and become a citizen of another country, but we’ve found that most articles focus on either certain European countries or general U.S. immigration. To find out everything you need to know about becoming a citizen of the Netherlands, you’ll need to contact an immigration attorney in your state or country and get advice from them directly. Proceed with the link below to learn more.