Becoming a Dutch national

There are several ways of acquiring Dutch nationality. You automatically become a Dutch national if one of your parents is Dutch when you are born. Or if paternity is acknowledged by a Dutch national. Or through either the option procedure or naturalisation. Foreign nationals can apply for Dutch nationality if they have lived in the Netherlands legally for at least five years.

How to become a Dutch national

There are three ways to become a Dutch national:

  • Automatically at birth (if one or both of your parents is Dutch when you are born), through adoption or through acknowledgement of parentage.
  • Through a short, easy procedure that takes three months. However, this option is available only to people who belong to a special group defined by law. This is called the option procedure.
  • If you are not eligible for the option procedure, you can apply for naturalisation. This procedure usually takes less than one year, and never more than 2 years.

For more information on how to become a Dutch national, contact the municipality where you live. That is also where you have to submit your application. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) provides more information about becoming a Dutch national through either the option procedure or naturalisation and about the costs of becoming a Dutch national.

Rights of Dutch nationals

In the Netherlands all basic rights are laid down in the Constitution. Being a Dutch national means you can enter the Netherlands freely. Other rights that only apply to Dutch nationals are the right to vote and stand for election in parliamentary elections and the right to join the armed forces. People with Dutch nationality can also apply for a Dutch passport and travel freely within the European Union. Go to ‘What will change if I acquire Dutch nationality?’ to find out more.

Giving up other nationalities

In principle, you will have to give up any other nationalities. There are some exceptions to this rule.

Acquiring or regaining Dutch nationality in another country

Former Dutch nationals and some non-Dutch nationals who live in other countries can apply to regain or acquire Dutch nationality. The IND brochure How can you regain your Dutch citizenship? (pdf, 261 kB) explains what former Dutch nationals have to do to acquire Dutch nationality again.