Becoming a Dutch national

There are several ways to become a Dutch national: automatically at birth, through paternity acknowledgement 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 (by operation of law) at birth or through paternity acknowledgement.
  • 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 takes up to one year.

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.

Possible increase of legal residence term to 7 years

The government wants to change the Netherlands Nationality Act so that foreign nationals cannot apply for Dutch nationality until they have lived in the Netherlands legally for seven years. The current term is five years. The Bill has not yet been approved by Parliament.

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.