Do I need to start civic integration before I arrive in the Netherlands?

There are 2 instances where you must begin the civic integration process before you arrive in the Netherlands. The first is if you are coming to live with your partner in the Netherlands. The second is if you are a cleric (such as a priest or imam). In addition you must also fall in the category of people who require an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV). The MVV is a special type of visa needed to enter the Netherlands. If these conditions apply to you, you will need to pass a special exam known as the ‘civic integration examination abroad’ before you come to the Netherlands.

Starting civic integration abroad

If you fall into one of the following groups, you must start civic integration before you come to the Netherlands:

  • you want to join your partner who is a Dutch national and you need an MVV to come to the Netherlands
  • you want to join your partner who is living in the Netherlands but is not Dutch and you need an MVV to come to the Netherlands
  • you are moving to the Netherlands with your partner and you need an MVV to come to the Netherlands
  • you are a cleric (such as a priest or imam) who needs an MVV.

Authorisation for temporary stay (MVV) requirement

You may need an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV) in addition to a residence permit. You apply for the MVV at the same time as you apply for your residence permit.

It is also possible that you qualify for an MVV exemption.

Civic integration exam abroad

If you must start civic integration before you arrive in the Netherlands, you must sit the civic integration examination abroad in the country where you are living. The exam tests Dutch language proficiency and knowledge of Dutch society.

You must sit the exam at the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence. If there is no Dutch embassy or consulate in your country of residence, you must sit the exam at the nearest Dutch embassy or consulate.

You must contact the embassy or consulate yourself to arrange an appointment to sit the exam.

‘Naar Nederland’ study material

The Dutch government has developed a learning pack for self-study called Naar Nederland. You can use this to prepare for the exam.

Exemption from civic integration exam abroad

There may be circumstances, such as illness, where it is impossible for you to take the civic integration exam abroad. In such circumstances, you can apply for an exemption from the civic integration exam abroad.