Passports, identity cards and Dutch nationality certificates

Applying for a passport or identity card

You should apply for a Dutch passport or identity card to the municipal authority where you are registered. If you live abroad, you should apply at a Dutch embassy or consulate.

Applications for travel documents by Dutch residents abroad

If you are a Dutch national living or staying temporarily abroad, you can apply for a Dutch passport at a Dutch embassy or consulate. In some countries, you can also apply for a Dutch identity card at the embassy or consulate – as long as you reside in the territory served by the embassy or consulate and are not listed on a municipal population register in the Netherlands. You may have both a Dutch passport and identity card. An identity card is cheaper than a passport, but is not accepted as a valid travel document in every country in the world. You must appear in person at the embassy or consulate to apply for a Dutch travel document and to collect it. The embassy or consulate will inform you of how many days you will have to wait to collect you travel document, in general this will be around 2 weeks.

In an emergency, an embassy or consulate can issue a temporary travel document (an emergency passport or a laissez-passer), on which you can leave the country. If possible, such a document is issued on the same day and otherwise within a few days.

It is possible to apply for a new passport while you are temporarily staying in the Netherlands. You can apply for a new passport at the municipal authorities in The Hague, Enschede, Maastricht, Echt-Susteren, Oldambt, Bergen op Zoom, Montferland and Schiphol.
You have to book an appointment in advance. Please note that the first available appointment may be several weeks away.

Dutch nationality certificates

If you move abroad, intend to get married, or want to be eligible for certain jobs (some civil service posts, for instance), you may need to prove you are a Dutch national. If you live abroad, you can apply for a Dutch nationality certificate (bewijs van Nederlanderschap) at the Dutch embassy or a Dutch consulate in the country where you live. If you live in the Netherlands, you can apply at the Population Affairs Department (Afdeling Burgerzaken) of your municipality.

To be eligible for a Dutch nationality certificate, you must:

  • be a Dutch national;
  • (if you live in the Netherlands) be registered as a resident in the municipality where you file your application;
  • show a valid identity document.

Period of validity of Dutch nationality certificates

The period of validity of Dutch nationality certificates is not laid down in law. The organisation that asks to see the certificate can itself decide its period of validity.

Fingerprints in passports

When you apply for a Dutch passport or identity card, your fingerprints will be recorded – a requirement from which only children under 12 are exempt.

The travel document contains an image of the holder’s fingerprints in order to prevent identity theft (using false or stolen identity documents to impersonate someone else).

Children need their own passports

As of 26 June 2012, children need to have travel documents of their own. It will no longer be possible to add them to a parent’s or guardian’s passport. What is more, existing additions to passports will no longer be valid.

Period of validity of passports

Passports are currently valid for five years. The government intends to extend their validity to ten years. It is not yet known when this will be done, but the new period of validity will apply to all newly issued passports.

Aliens’ and refugee travel documents

Persons with a Dutch residence permit but (as yet) without Dutch nationality can sometimes obtain an alien’s travel document – provided they are unable to obtain a travel document from their country of origin. You can apply for an alien’s travel document to the municipal authority where you are registered.

If you have refugee status, you can apply for a refugee travel document to the municipal authority where you are registered. You must have a residence permit showing your admission as a refugee.

You can use your alien’s or refugee travel document to travel to all countries except your home country. Both can be used in the Netherlands as proof of identity.

Residence permits and leave to remain cards

Residence permits are issued to aliens permitted to live in the Netherlands under the Aliens Act or Community law. Leave to remain (W-document) cards are issued to aliens who have applied for asylum in the Netherlands but have not yet received a final decision on their application. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) issues residence permits and leave to remain cards.