Passports, identity cards and Dutch nationality certificates

You can travel and identify yourself with a passport and an identity card. A Dutch nationality certificate can be used to prove your Dutch nationality.

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.

Applying for a Dutch passport or identity card

If you have Dutch nationality, you should apply for a Dutch passport or identity card to the municipal authority where you are registered. You will need to bring a colour photo that meets the requirements  and your old documents with you. All children (even babies) need their own passport or identity card to travel. You have to pay a fee  for your passport or identity card.

Fingerprints in passports

When you apply for a Dutch passport, your fingerprints will be recorded – a requirement from which only children under 12 are exempt. Your fingerprints will not be recorded if you apply for an identity card. After issue, the fingerprints will only be stored in your passport.

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

Period of validity of passports and identity cards

Passports and identity cards are valid for 10 years in the case of adults and 5 years in the case of children under 18.

Aliens’ and refugee travel passports

Non-Dutch nationals who have a Dutch residence permit and who are unable to obtain a passport from their country of origin sometimes qualify for an alien’s passport. You can apply for an alien’s passport to the municipal authority where you are registered.

If you have refugee status, you can apply for a refugee passport to the municipal authority where you are registered. You must have a residence permit showing that you have been admitted as a refugee.

You can use your alien’s or refugee passport 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.