The conditions for obtaining Dutch citizenship are to be found in Articles 8 and 9 of the Act on Dutch Citizenship. When a holder of an asylum residence permit wants to obtain Dutch citizenship he or she must have a permanent residence permit. There are no different criteria for recognised refugees and those granted subsidiary protection.
To fulfil the conditions for Dutch citizenship, a beneficiary must:
- Be 18 years old or older.
- Have lived uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least 5 years with a valid residence permit. The person must always extend his or her residence permit on time.
There are a number of exceptions to the 5-years rule. If, however, the beneficiary is officially recognised as a stateless person he or she can apply for naturalisation after at least 3 years living in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit.
- Have a valid residence permit immediately prior to the application for citizenship. This must be a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. At the time of the decision on the application, the permanent residence permit must still be valid. There is an exception for recognised stateless persons: they can apply for naturalisation after at least 3 years even if they still have an asylum residence permit that is not yet permanent.
- Be sufficiently integrated. This means that he or she can read, write speak and understand Dutch. In order to show that sufficient integration, the beneficiary has to take the civic integration examination at A2 level. The civic integration examination has been changed a few times. As of 1 January 2015, its examination consists of the following parts: reading skills in Dutch, listening skills in Dutch, writing skills in Dutch, speaking skills in Dutch, knowledge of Dutch society and orientation on the Dutch labour market. Since 1 October 2017 a new part has been added: the Declaration of Participation. This is a part of the civic integration examination. One must sign the participation statement after attending a workshop on Dutch core values.
If the beneficiary has certain diplomas or certificates e.g. education in the Dutch language certified by a diploma based on a Dutch Act such as the Higher Education and Research Act, Higher Professional Education Act, Secondary Act Education Professions Act or Apprentice Act, he or she can be exempt for the obligation to pass for the civic integration examination.
When someone suffers from severe permanent physical problems or serious mental health limitations, they may get an exemption on the civic integration examination. One has to prove that due to a psychological or physical impairment or a mental disability, one is permanently unable to pass the civic integration examination. One needs an advice about that from an independent doctor. At this moment one has to undergo a medical examination done by a medical adviser from Argonaut, which is the Medical Advisor assigned by the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.
It is possible to get an exemption on non-medical grounds for example in case of illiteracy. Therefore, the person needs to prove that he or she has made sufficient efforts to pass for the civic integration examination. As of 1 July 2018, the following elements are considered:
- Showing participation for at least 600 hours in a civic integration course at a language institution with a quality mark of an organisation called Blik op Werk and that the person has not passed parts of the civic integration examination at least 4 times. Maximum two of those parts can be parts of the State Exam Dutch as a second language (NT-2), level I or II;
- Showing participation for at least 600 hours in an (adult) literacy course at an institution with a quality mark of Blik op Werk and having demonstrated through a learning ability test taken by the Education Executive Agency (DUO) that he or she does not have the learning ability to pass the civic integration examination.
- Showing participation for at least 600 hours in an (adult) literacy course and a following civic integration course, both at a language institution with a quality mark of Blik op Werk; at least 300 hours must have been attended in a (adult) literacy course and it has been demonstrated – with a learning ability test taken by DUO, that the person does not have the learning ability to pass the civic integration examination.
- Not have received a prison sentence, training or community service order or paid or had to pay a large fine either in the Netherlands or abroad in the previous 5 years before the application for naturalisation (up until 1 May 2018 this period was 4 years). A large fine is a fine with an amount of €810 or more. Someone must also not have received multiple fines of €405 or more, with a total amount of €1,215 or more. At the time of the application there must also be no ongoing criminal proceedings against the person. There also must not be a suspicion on violation of human rights or the suspicion that someone is a danger to society.
- Renounce his or her current nationality. There are some exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions is the following. When a person has a (permanent) asylum residence permit he or she does not have to renounce his or her nationality.
- Make the declaration of solidarity. One is obligated to go to the naturalisation ceremony and to make the statement of allegiance. They agree that the laws of the Netherlands also apply to them. The statement of allegiance must be done in person.
A child can only apply for naturalisation together with the parent. The child under the age of 16 years must live in the Netherlands and must have a residence permit. This must be a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. Children of holders of a permanent asylum residence permit must have the same permit or an asylum residence permit dependent on the permanent asylum residence permit of the parents.
Children of the age of 16 or 17 years old must have been living uninterruptedly in the Netherlands for at least 3 years with a valid residence permit. This must be a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. Children of holders of a permanent asylum residence permit must have the same permit or an asylum residence permit dependent on the permanent asylum residence permit of the parents. The child must be present for the application and he must indicate that he agrees with the application. Children of 16 and 17 years old must also meet the condition mentioned here above under 5 and 7.
A person has to submit the application for naturalisation in the municipality where he lives. The municipality has to check whether the application is complete. When someone submits the application in regular cases one has to show a legalised birth certificate and a valid foreign passport. Holders of a permanent asylum residence permit are exempt from this (only in very specific situations the IND can ask for document). The municipality also looks at whether the person meets all the conditions for naturalisation and gives a recommendation to the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). The municipality sends the application to the IND.
The IND is the service that makes the decision. The IND checks whether a person meets all the conditions required and must decide within 12 months.
The beneficiary has to pay a fee for the application for naturalisation. Holders of an asylum residence permit pay less than holders of a regular residence permit.
|Fees for citizenship applications|
|Category of applicant||2019||2020|
|A single stateless person or a holder of an asylum residence permit||€655||€670|
|Plural application stateless persons or holders of an asylum residence permit (e.g. married couples)||€899||€920|
|A request for a child younger than 18 years-old obtaining the Dutch citizenship together with his/her parents||€130||€133|
There is no data available on the number of people who obtained Dutch citizenship in 2020. In its 2020 Annual Report, the IND has mentioned that there had been 44,000 applications for naturalisation. The IND took 27,090 decisions on applications for naturalisation into consideration. 97% of those decisions were positive, but it is unknown how many of the applications were issued by beneficiaries of international protection.
Article 11 Act on Dutch Citizenship.