Becoming a Dutch national

You can become a Dutch national if one of your parents is Dutch (by operation of law), through the option procedure or through naturalisation.

A Dutch national by operation of law

You are a Dutch national by operation of law if one of your parents is Dutch. There are a few rules for Dutch nationality by operation of law, but exceptions to the rules are always possible.

  • If your father was Dutch when you were born and he was married to your mother, you are a Dutch national.
  • If you were born in or after 1985 and your mother is Dutch, you are a Dutch national, whether you were born in the Netherlands or abroad and whether or not you were adopted. If you have a Dutch mother and you were born before 1985, you can acquire Dutch nationality through the option procedure.
  • Is your father Dutch and your mother not Dutch, and were they not married when you were born? In that case your father must acknowledge paternity: officially confirm that you are his child.
  • If your father or mother lived in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten when you were born, and your father or mother was born in the Netherlands while his or her father or mother lived in the Netherlands, you are legally a Dutch national, whatever your parents’ nationality was. There is a special rule for children whose paternity was acknowledged by a Dutch national after 1 April 2003 and before 1 March 2009: these children can acquire Dutch nationality through the option procedure.

Option procedure

Sometimes you can become a Dutch national through the option procedure. The option procedure is the fastest and easiest way of acquiring Dutch nationality. To use it, however, you must belong to a special group defined by statute: for example, you have a Dutch mother and were born before 1985. The procedure takes about three months.

Once you have obtained Dutch nationality, you must attend a naturalisation ceremony, at which you make the citizenship pledge.

Naturalisation

If you are not eligible for the option procedure, you can apply for naturalisation. This process takes up to one year. If you fulfil all the conditions, you may submit an application for naturalisation at the town hall. You will need to show official documents, such as your passport, your residence permit, your child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate and a civic integration certificate.

You may apply to acquire Dutch nationality through naturalisation if you have a valid residence permit, have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years (or at least three years if you are married to a Dutch national), and have passed the civic integration examination. The municipality will check the information you submit and forward your application to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) with a favourable or unfavourable recommendation by the mayor. The IND will determine whether you are eligible for Dutch nationality.

You are not a Dutch national until you have attended a naturalisation ceremony, at which you make the citizenship pledge and are given a document proving that you have become a Dutch national. The application procedure takes up to one year, and entails costs.

In most cases you will have to give up any other nationalities. However, you will not have to give up your other nationality if:

  • the country that you come from does not allow you to;
  • you were born and currently live in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten;
  • you are married to a Dutch national;
  • you are a refugee and live in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten.

Naturalisation of children

Foreign nationals who live in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao or St Maarten and are applying for Dutch nationality can apply at the same time for their children to be given Dutch nationality too.

Costs of the option procedure and naturalisation

The costs of naturalisation are €821 in 2014 if you are applying only for yourself. The option procedure costs €175 if you are applying only for yourself. The costs may be higher if you are applying for additional persons. The fees are adjusted each year.